Sophomore wins fashion design challenge

Nicole Nisson

Sophomore wins $1,500 scholarship for his top design.

Kent State fashion design students competed in the second annual Coats & Clark Design Challenge from Friday until yesterday.

Thirty students spent 18 hours creating garments out of 5 yards of quilted fabric and 4 yards of trim selected by a random draw.

“They can only work in the building and are not able to take the work home with them,” said Sherry Schofield-Tomschin, associate professor in fashion design and merchandising. “By 4 p.m. on Sunday, they have to be finished for the judging.”

Sean Rice, sophomore fashion design major and previous Beaux Arts Ball contestant, received a $1,500 scholarship for winning the Best of Show award.

“I never thought in a million years I would win this challenge,” Rice said. “My dress turned out so sophisticated, different from what I usually design — clothes that look like they were made for aliens from the future.”

Some of the designers faced technical complications. Rice didn’t like the printed fabric given to him at the start of the competition.

“I really see things in black and white when it comes to design because I hate prints,” Rice said. “My fabric looked like rainbow zigzags, such an extremely heinous pattern to work with.”

Elaine Thomas, a former fashion instructor at Kent State and judge, said she was impressed with how Rice used his fabric.

“I didn’t even recognize the fabric Sean used until I took a closer look,” Thomas said. “He mutated the fabric into something else, and his thought process was great.”

Natalie Pankewicz and Jessica Paulson were other judges selected for the fashion design challenge.

Even though the competition was challenging, Rice said he took something away from the event.

“This experience really gave me insight about using colors and prints,” Rice said. “I know not to restrain from limiting myself to just plain fabric without color.”

Contact fashion reporter Nicole Nisson at [email protected]