Cotton Grants Fund Fashionable Student Research at Kent State | Kent State University

Cotton Grants Fund Fashionable Student Research at Kent State

New funding will support student research and curriculum expansion efforts in Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

Two grants from Cotton Incorporated will fund collaborative studies between merchandising and design students at Kent State’s Fashion School under the leadership of Assistant Professor Gargi Bhaduri, Ph.D., and course studies on social media use in fashion merchandising under Assistant Professor Mourad Krifa, Ph.D.

Gargi Bhaduri, Ph.D., assistant professor in Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, received a grant from Cotton Incorporated for collaborative studies that will teach merchandising students and design students how to see the industry from the other’s perspective.

Dr. Bhaduri’s award will fund collaborative studies that will teach merchandising students and design students how to see the industry from the other’s perspective. 

“It’s between me and (Assistant Professor) Ja Young Hwang,” she says. “It’ll be a collaborative project between a fashion branding course and the senior fashion design studio.” 

Dr. Bhaduri says the project will assemble groups of four to five merchandising students and two or three design students each. Merchandising students will come up with an idea for a brand and conduct market research and feasibility studies, then the design students will create a capsule collection for the brand. 

“Hopefully, we’ll see some good things coming out of it,” Dr. Bhaduri says. “Maybe some group can take it as an entrepreneurial opportunity because they’ll have a business plan as well as prototypes that they can show.” 

Mourad Krifa, Ph.D., assistant professor in Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, received a grant from Cotton Incorporated to support a pilot study teaching fashion marketing students how to become better users of informational social media.
Naturally, the brands will focus on cotton apparel. Dr. Krifa’s grant supports a pilot study he began this semester with Assistant Professor Jewon Lyu, Ph.D., teaching fashion marketing students how to become better users of informational social media. He says they need to be able to use social media platforms to gain a sense of consumers’ perceptions about products. 

“It’s about information literacy and giving them the tools to analyze and become proficient in extracting essential information from social media because that’s where a lot of our consumers are now,” Dr. Krifa says.

The study will focus on cotton products as well. For example, Dr. Krifa says students might test consumer perceptions about whether or not cotton garments are competitive as athletic wear.

He says the funding carries the study into the fall semester, and he plans to determine if social media focus could be viable as a component in online classes.

For more information about Kent State’s Fashion School, visit www.kent.edu/fashion.