Kent State to host Garment Games

Jake Green

This August, the 2014 Gay Games 9, or GG9, will take place in Cleveland and Akron, bringing an international sporting event based on the idea of inclusion to northeast Ohio.

Before the summer begins, Kent State will strengthen its tenent of inclusion on campus by hosting its own GG9 event, “Garment Games — Inclusion by Design,” in the M.A.C. Center on Wednesday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m.

“This is a broad collaboration to show the importance, significance and value of our belief of inclusion at the university,” said Kelvin Berry, director of economic development and corporate sponsorship and Garment Games co-chair.

The Garment Games is a fashion sportswear design competition in which teams of two senior fashion design majors will compete to design outfits for the GG9 co-chairs to wear at the opening ceremony this August.

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Skylar Grey will perform at the event as well because this event is about the importance of recognizing a group within our community, Berry said.

“We reached out to Skylar Grey very intentionally,” he said. “She really taps into the human condition and the emotions of everyday life that we all carry.”

Stephen Sokany, senior associate vice president of Institutional Advancement at Kent State and GG9 board co-chair, said he is excited for the collaboration between Kent State and the Gay Games.

“At Kent State, there’s a tone for diversity, equity and inclusion,” Sokany said. “To be an integral part of the Gay Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

At the May 7 event, each team’s outfits will be worn by Sokany and Hollie Ksiezyk, the other GG9 board co-chair, as they walk the runway. Sokany and Ksiezyk will wear the winning outfits at the Gay Games opening ceremony Aug. 9, and the winning design team will win $7,500, said Sylvia Johnson, Institutional Advancement talent acquisition manager and Garment Games co-chair.

The Division of Business and Finance, Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Fashion School are sponsoring the Garment Games, Johnson said.

“We wanted to use the fashion school — an internationally ranked center of excellence — as a way of creating excitement,” Berry said.

The Garment Games will not be Kent State’s only involvement with the Gay Games. Faculty from the College of Podiatric Medicine will be donating their medical services to assorted events throughout the week, Sokany said.

According to GG9’s website, “the Gay Games are an international sporting and cultural event held every four years, founded on the principle that anyone can participate, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic or artistic ability, age, physical challenge or health status.”

Contact Jake Green at [email protected].