Fashion School excels at international conference

Robert Carroll

The Kent State Fashion School received seven awards at the 2013 International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) conference.

Three students and three faculty members went to the conference in New Orleans, La. to receive the awards between October 15 and 18, according to a press release.

ITAA is an organization of scholars, educators and students in textile, apparel and merchandising fields, according to information from Sherry Schofield, ITAA president and associate director of the Fashion School. The organization hosts events and meetings in order to exchange knowledge, ideas and service. The purpose of the organization is to promote leadership and service to society.

“The fact that Kent State received seven awards is pretty darn good,” Schofield said. “The students were very surprised.”

The seven awards included:

• Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Business (ESRAB) Award 

• Eden Travel International Award

• Blanche Payne Award

• ATEXINC Award for Excellence in Marketable Textile Design

• Cotton Incorporated Innovations in Cotton Design Award

The ESRAB award was one of the more notable awards, Schofield said. Kent State won all three categories within that award: undergraduate level, graduate level and professional level.

“The undergraduate student hadn’t expected to win anything at all,” Schofield said.

Jasmine Kornel won the undergraduate certificate for her design, “Peace”; Lisa Arenstein won the graduate certificate for her design, “Green Lantern”; and Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, associate professor of fashion design, won the professional certificate for her design, “Business or Craft,” according to the information from Schofield.

Jihyun Kim and Kim Hahn, associate professors of fashion design and merchandising, both also won awards in textile design and cotton design. Their textile piece, called, “Celestial Symphony,” received the ATEXINC Award for Excellence in Marketable Textile Design, and their cotton piece, called, “Amber Refraction,” received the Cotton Incorporated Innovations in Cotton Design Award.

“This is my first semester in the Fashion School at Kent,” Kim said. “I wasn’t completely surprised (at the awards), but excited.”

Kim, a native of Seoul, South Korea, said it was great experience for all people involved to show the excellence of Kent State.

Madison Palen-Michel, senior fashion design major, earned a $5,000 cash award for her design “Rue St. Jacque,” and a two-week internship to London to study under designer Zandra Rhodes.

“The dress is all hand-sewn and fitted specifically for my body,” Palen-Michel said in a press release. She said she emphasized her technique over design.

Kent State has always been heavily represented at the conference, Schofield said. From an undergraduate perspective, the students have not done very well in the past.

“ITAA is more art-focused,” Schofield said. She said they teach the students to leave Kent State more industry-focused.

Additionally, ITAA accepted designs from four other undergraduate students for consideration. All designs can be viewed in the 2013 exhibition catalog.

J.R. Campbell, director of the Fashion School, was unavailable for comment at press time.