Fashion students race against the clock

Sarah Blei

Project Runway hits Kent State

WATCH a video of the weekend event.

Colorful patterns and a race against time engrossed Rockwell Hall this weekend where fashion design majors challenged themselves and one another for the ultimate prize.

In a Project Runway-style competition, sophomore through senior fashion students created a garment in less than 20 hours using only two summer-weighted prints.

“I’m in awe of what they’ve done,” said Nancy Jewell, a manager from Coats & Clark.

The School of Fashion Design and Merchandising organized the challenge in conjunction with Coats & Clark, the oldest textile manufacturer in the world.

Twenty-six students worked vigorously for a first place prize of a $1,500 scholarship from Coats & Clark. Runners-up received prizes from Baby Lock, Singer Sewing Co. and BurdaStyle, among others.

Coats & Clark provided designers with threads, zippers, yarn, fabric and other sewing necessities to complete the challenge. The judges chose the top 11 designs based on craftsmanship of the garments and how well students incorporated both prints and yarn.

“The students start the weekend with nothing and end with something creative,” said Sherry Schofield-Tomschin, associate professor in the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

Faculty from the school, Betsy Carr, Jeanne James and Schofield-Tomschin, judged the designs along with Jewell from Coats & Clark and Schofield-Tomschin’s daughter, Jessica Paulson.

First place scholarship winner Kristy Howard, junior fashion design major, created a dress with woven fabric pieces on the sides that was eye-catching to the judges. Howard explained how she used a method of “pin weaving” to create the look she was trying to attain.

“The challenge was the fabrics,” she said. “I just got it in my head that I needed to make this work with what I had so I decided I wanted a more muted color palette and used different textures any way I could.”

Howard said her inspiration for the design was the texture of quilting.

The second place winner of a Baby Lock sewing machine was Carolyn Peters, senior fashion design major. Peters was the only senior who participated in the design challenge and was proud to represent her class.

“We don’t often get to work with people in other grade levels, and so it was nice to work with different years,” Peters said. “It was an opportunity we haven’t had yet this school year.”

Peters designed a garment that she referred to as “girly with an edge.”

“I really wanted to use my fabric as an inspiration,” she said. “It was real girly and I wanted to do something less girly with it.”

Peters used top stitching on the pants and crocheted yarn as a wallet chain to create an urban appeal.

The third place winner was Theresa Rietschlin, sophomore fashion design major, who talked about how ecstatic she was about her prize.

Rietschlin won the opportunity to create a pattern and have it produced by BurdaStyle, a popular European pattern-making magazine, as a notoriety.

“It’s great that I get to work with actual people in the business and get my ideas out there,” Rietschlin said.

Junior fashion design major Tracy Shapoff explained why she decided to participate in the challenge.

“It seemed exciting and different,” she said. “It was a good way to express creativity.”

Contact School of Fashion Design and Merchandising reporter Sarah Blei at [email protected].