B.F.A. Muslin Critique 2023

October 30-31, 2023 in Rockwell Hall

The School of Fashion's senior Bachelor of Fine Arts design students will participate in the annual Muslin Critique October 30-31, which acts as the mid-point review for all of the collections of the seniors finishing up their B.F.A. coursework.

Every year, the School of Fashion invites esteemed industry to work with senior B.F.A. seniors throughout their design process. We are excited to announce the 2023-2024 Designers in Residence, Marla Cotten and Geoffrey Henning.

Meet Our Designers in Residence:

Marla Cotten

Marla Cotten attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she double majored in Fashion Design and French.  During her junior year, she studied abroad in Paris, where she had the opportunity to intern for the couturier Guy Laroche.

Marla began her career on Seventh Avenue, working for the designer Cynthia Steffe. She then held a series of knitwear design positions for U.S. brands, including The Gap, Banana Republic, and Victoria’s Secret. 

In 2007, she formed a design consultancy business, specializing in knitwear, jersey, and lingerie design. Her projects included a 4-year long in-house design consultant role with Alice + Olivia, as well as a series of smaller design projects with Calvin Klein Collection, Ralph Lauren, Pologeorgis, and Nautica, to name a few. 

She would manage all aspects of the creative process, beginning with the establishment of the initial creative concept for the knitwear. She would then follow the full life cycle of the product development process, connecting the materials suppliers and manufacturers with the brands themselves, ensuring that all design, development, fit, and aesthetic aspects of the designs were runway-ready.

Following her time as a design consultant, Marla was invited to become part of the in-house design team at Ralph Lauren Collection, where she held the post of Senior Design Director for 8 years, leading the sweater and jersey design for their women’s runway collection,  and is now currently the knitwear design director for Carolina Herrera New York.

Geoffrey Henning

Geoffrey Henning “The Designing Mind” is a descriptive of Geoffrey Henning, whom brings over 25 years of design experience to the retail industry from designer brands, specialty retailers and department stores. JCPenney is where Geoffrey today leads and inspires the design team and fashion for menswear and womenswear private label. His passion for design, coaching and teaching has given him opportunities to contribute to design nonprofit organizations and being recognized with DIFFA Lifetime achievement award, Style Council, Texas Legend and being appointed to the Parsons School of Design Board of Directors. His reach of design has also allowed him to be a contributor to numerous TV morning shows as a fashion and style contributor. Leading multiple design organizations for many years allows him to create relationships with foreign buying offices, factories which inspire collaborative partnerships.

His passion for art also extends outwards from design with being recognized as an accomplished Fashion Illustrator, being published in numerous fashion publications as British Elle, French Vogue, Tatler, Clindoel, Flare, Modern Luxury and Cotton inc. Design drives his passion for how he lives and inspires the mindset of the industry.


The process of the B.F.A. collection review starts the first week of the fall semester when the students come prepared with a collection proposal in an illustration form. The first review is conducted by faculty teaching the design seniors. During the review of the initial selection of looks, some students may have to revise their idea or go back to the drawing board for further exploration.

The second step includes the Muslin Critique, which consists of industry mentors coming in to review the collections of the muslin-constructed garments. At this stage of the process, the goal is for the students to have figured out the construction of their fabric ideas and patterns. The students then present their collections to the mentors, and the mentors then provide constructive feedback to the students.

After the critique, the students then participate in the annual NYC fabric shopping trip, which is where they purchase all of their fabric needed to complete their final collection based on the feedback received from the mentors.

Next semester, the students will take part in another critique with different industry critics and will present their final collections. The spring critique is where the selections are made regarding which students’ collections will be presented in the Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show.

Kent State Fashion Week will take place April 22 - 27, 2024

POSTED: Thursday, October 26, 2023 10:05 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 26, 2023 12:43 PM