Fashion design students help create President Warren’s sling


President Warren’s Sling

Christina Godfrey

After President Beverly Warren recently tore her rotator cuff and was prescribed a medically-issued sling for four weeks to aid in the healing process, she instantly wanted to add her own touch to the device.

“This thing (was) ugly, ugly, ugly,” Warren said of her first sling. “ So when I saw what I was going to have to wear, I called J.R. Campbell in the fashion school and said ‘Could you do something?’”

With less than a week to complete the project, a team was assembled and assigned their roles, each with an area of expertise.

J.R. Campbell, director of the fashion school, handled the fabric selection.

“J.R. wanted high quality fabric, like a suiting fabric,” said associate director Kim Hahn.

Hahn said choosing the right fabric meant keeping the president’s personal style in mind, making sure the sling fabric didn’t conflict with her usual appearance. Hahn and graduate student Prerna Suri worked to develop a pattern and subsequent prototype of the sling, which allowed them to make changes and simplify their pattern.

“We make patterns for clothes, so (this was) nothing compared to that,” Hahn said.

Finally, Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, an associate professor in the fashion school, embroidered the designs onto the fabric, like the Kent State black squirrel, which Suri said gave a richer look to the designs compared to other printing methods.

After many hours of work, the team presented the final product to Warren.

“She seemed happy, which mattered the most,” Ohrn-McDaniel said.

As it turns out, Ohrn-McDaniel was right.

“I didn’t want to wear (the initial) ugly (sling), and then as soon as they gave me something beautiful, it was easier to kind of manage,” Warren said.

“It was a great team project. We all had our little parts in it — that’s why we were able to get it done so quickly,” Hahn said. “If one person was doing everything, I don’t think we could have made the deadline.”

As her injury appeared to have healed, Warren already plans on creating a different type of art with her sling covers.

“I think I’m going to do a shadow box and remember these forever,” Warren said.