Fashion students work on Abercrombie project

Lauren Carll

Fashion professor Betsy Carr critiques a group of sophomore fashion design majors on their Abercrombie & Fitch projects yesterday morning. Groups had to work together to put together a cohesive collection of outfits. Elizabeth Myers | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

The sound of squeaky wheels filled the room as groups of sophomore fashion design students rolled in mannequins that displayed a variety of clothing, from tiny khaki shorts and white baby doll tops to plaid skirts and hunter green jackets.

They quickly brushed their hands along fabric to flatten wrinkles, tugged on sleeves and hems to improve garment presentation and then turned to a panel of five fashion design instructors to listen to critiques of their Abercrombie & Fitch project.

Fashion design instructor Betsy Carr said the faculty decided to have students do this project for many reasons.

“Abercrombie & Fitch is an Ohio corporation, so we like to work with them and other corporations in the area,” Carr said. “We worked with them last year, so we wanted to continue working with them this year.”

Carr said the students were randomly put into groups of three or four, and were supplied with a variety of fabrics to make their garments.

Sara Greaves, a fashion drawing instructor, said the project helped students work together as a team, and also gave them a taste of designing fashion for their age group.

“I think Abercrombie is a style and a company that they understand,” Greaves said. “We discussed maybe doing something more like Anthropologie (a trendy woman’s clothing store), but we felt that this project was more on their skill level because the details and quality of the garment were within their capabilities.”

Carr said there were many different criteria in order to earn an “A.”

“Construction skills, fit, clean lines and presentation are very important,” she said. “In this project, each student had to make a top and a bottom, so we are looking to see if the line is cohesive. We are looking to see if it looks like a mini collection.”

Kaitlin Calderwood, sophomore fashion design major, said the Abercrombie & Fitch project helped her understand how to design for a mass market.

“We had about six weeks to research and design our collection, and then we had about another five weeks to make the patterns and sew the garments,” Calderwood said. “My group came up with the theme, ‘A Romantic Tomboy,’ which had a lot of boy-ish details, but a lot of girl-ish details to counteract it.”

Calderwood said she enjoyed working with a group because they were able to brainstorm and share each other’s ideas about the project.

“I think that we got lucky because we all get along really well, and we all have our own opinions,” she said. “We all liked our theme and we were all really excited about making our little collection.”

Madison Geroski, sophomore fashion design major, said she also enjoyed working in a group, but her group faced a few challenges.

“It was hard doing the initial designs because it was our first real chance to actually brainstorm and design something that could be in the real market,” Geroski said. “We had so many ideas, so it was hard to narrow it down, and also tone it down, to be the Abercrombie & Fitch 18- to 22-year old customer.”

Geroski said she has enjoyed the process of working on the project, but her favorite part was the beginning stage.

“I liked being able to do the initial designs,” she said. “Actually sitting down and drawing was very time-consuming, but seeing those designs come together in the end was really cool.”

Carr said she is happy with the final garments, and she has seen the students improve since the beginning of the year.

“Sewing and pattern-making have come a long way,” she said. “They had to design, and they had to either combination drape or flat pattern to make it come to life, and I think it’s great.”

Contact fashion reporter Lauren Carll at [email protected].