Morgan Manuel: athlete, designer, student

Senior fashion design major Morgan Manuel and teammates Jaimie Adams, Samantha Hyme and Olivia Davis getting ready to begin a one mile rep at practice Tuesday May 1, 2018.

Abigail Miller

Being a college student is hard work. However, being a college student and a dual sport collegiate athlete, is a full-time job.

It’s a full-time job that senior fashion design major Morgan Manuel understands first-hand. For the past four years, Manuel has participated in both Kent State’s women’s track and field team and women’s cross country team.

Manuel’s deep passion for both fashion design and sports is something she was passed down from her parents.

Manuel said that running has been a part of her life since she ran her first 5K race with her father at the age of seven.

“He ended up having to run backward and watch me,” she said. “I would, like, start to walk and he’d be like, ‘Come on, you gotta do it!’ And now, I would smoke him.”

Manuel’s interest in fashion followed soon after and dates back to her mother’s own career in the fashion industry.

“I started to show interest in fashion design when I was in fourth grade. I started sketching and stuff like that,” she said. “I started sewing in seventh grade, with some family friends. And my mom was a fashion merchandising major in college.”

While attending the 2016 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, Manuel quickly realized that she could combine her love of both fashion and running into a career designing athletic wear.

“While I was there, Nike had a giant booth set up where you could go look at the olympic uniforms and shoes and everything that they’d be wearing,” she said. “That’s really what sparked my passion toward athletic wear.”

Manuel said she believes she has the upper hand in designing athletic apparel because of her ability to test out the products.

“Due to the fact that my main focus is running apparel, yes I do believe I kind of have an upper-hand, because I am able to physically test my apparel when I make it,” she said. “Or have my teammates test out the apparel when I make it to see if it’s actually functional.”

Although Manuel is a little over a week away from graduation, it hasn’t stopped her from designing.

Currently, Manuel is working on a collaboration with Patagonia, an American clothing company that sells outdoor clothing. In the project, she will combine her athletic apparel designs with activism.

“That (project) is a collaboration with them to figure out how to apply activism into the clothing that I am creating.”

As well as working on a collaboration with Patagonia, Manuel is also focusing on getting a job at an athletic apparel brand after graduation.

After graduation, Manuel said she hopes to get a job at a brand that will allow her to learn more and strengthen her skills in the athletic apparel world.

“I actually just had an interview with a company called Oiselle. They are my all-time favorite company, and I’m very excited for the possibility to work with them,” she said. “I also had an interview with a company called Smartwool in Colorado. They’re a trail running and snowboarding brand. I would love an opportunity to work with them, as well. Just to be able to learn more, expand my skills and put myself out there.”

Abigail Miller is the Fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected].