KSU fashion students to design for A & F

Kristen Kotz

While some Kent State University students are wearing clothes from Abercrombie and Fitch, others will be designing for them.

Fashion design majors will be designing clothes to show the company as a project for their major classes. The students started the project Monday and will continue it for the rest of year.

It is unusual for sophomores to have such an assignment because most of the industry projects go to the junior or seniors in the program, said Christine LaPerna, NTT Instructor at the School of Fashion. Because the juniors and seniors already had industry projects, so it was decided the sophomores would receive this one.

The company showed interest in working with the School of Fashion after hearing it had started a new technical design major this year. The company wants to work with Kent State to get people employed with the Columbus-based company. It wanted to do a technical design project with the university because it does mostly technical design.

“The part of the project that Abercrombie is really interested in getting involved with is after the garments are made,” LaPerna said. “The students will put a spec pack, which has flat sketches and construction information as far as what kind of seams they used and finishing of the seams and that kind of stuff.”

Technical design is known for details and measurements. Along with flat sketches, it also includes pages of measurements and information about the types of cuffs and stitching being used.

“A lot of times it’s a lot faster and easier to draw this way, versus on a fashion figure to get things done quickly,” LaPerna said. “Usually when you’re sitting in a design meeting, you’re drawing like this. You’re not sitting there with markers making hair and arms and all that kind of stuff. It’s really more so about what’s happening with the garment, what’s making it new and interesting.”

Students will be designing a small line of woven tops and bottoms for the company’s spring 2008 line. They will also be using neutral fabrics the company has approved.

Hanna Hall, assistant professor at the School of Fashion, said it will be important for students to get to know the type of customers they are designing for.

“They need to do detailed research about the store, go to the store and try clothes on,” Hall said. “It’s not only looking at the clothes but looking at the whole lifestyle and atmosphere.”

Getting the “worn in” look for which Abercrombie and Fitch’s fabric is noted for being difficult for the students to achieve because of space limitations. LaPerna said she is going to bring in power tools for students to use on the fabrics for the project.

Students are working in groups of three to four people for the project, which LaPerna said will be a valuable learning experience for them.

“I’m hoping they realize indeed in life it’s not going to be them just doing whatever they want design-wise and then having to rely on other people,” she said. “So getting the whole group and teamwork aspect of fashion is really important.”

Jenny Smas, sophomore fashion design major, said she is excited about the opportunity to work with such a large company even though it’s not her typical style.

“I thought it was really cool to get a company that large to work with us,” she said.

The clothes will probably be shown in the portfolio show in April, Hall said.

Since this is the first time Abercrombie and Fitch is working with Kent State, it is uncertain what will happen if they like one of the student’s pieces.

Contact fashion reporter Kristen Kotz at [email protected].