Fashion Students Win First Place at Undergraduate Research Symposium
Several fashion design and merchandising students took first place in the Art/Fashion category of the 2018 KSU Undergraduate Research Symposium earlier this month. This year’s Symposium had the highest participation ever in the history of this annual event, resulting in nearly 400 students participating – a 60% increase compared to last year.
Undergraduate students of any major are eligible to participate and must submit a brief abstract of their work that indicates their intent to participate. In order to be eligible, their research, scholarly work, or activity must be completed in collaboration with a faculty or graduate student mentor of their choice.
Undergraduate Research Winning Projects
One of the Fashion School teams to take first place were senior fashion merchandising majors, Rebecca Brown and Alexis Jackson, mentored by Dr. Jewon Lyu. Their research project, “Fashion and Cotton Industries: The Impact of Water Usage” described how dependent the fashion industry is on water in order to make synthetic fibers and showed that customers do care about the water usage and the environmental impact is has on the fashion industry.
Fashion design and merchandising seniors Morgan Wano and Lauren Henderson (also mentored by Dr. Lyu) came in first for their research titled “Cost Effective Cotton Recyclable Methods”. The purpose of their research was to find the most sustainable and cost effective method a large retailer could use to recycle used cotton garments when creating new products. They studied new advancements in technology that could potentially lessen the cost and simplifying the process to make recycled cotton fabrics the industry norm. They hope that with their research companies will be informed about alternative cost-effective recycling and production methods that are beneficial to the environment.
The team of design students, Morgan Manuel, Phoebe Takeda, and Katie Schmidt came in first for their technology advanced snowboarding garments, “Diamond Frost – Digital Technology”. Created as a class project for Dr. Ja Young’s senior level BA Fashion Design Studio III course, they consulted with an avid snowboarder to create snowboarding gear that had the potential to elevate the wearer’s performance. Their full snowboarding look included five garments: a Polartec jacket and pant with wearable technology, a fleece layer, a poly-spandex t-shirt, and leggings. The wearable tech aspect included Bluetooth speakers and a phone charger built directly into the fabric. The team’s goal was to create a full fashion forward snowboarding look that featured technological advancements while also remaining practical sportswear.
Fashion design seniors Kendall De Perrier-Lewis, Kimberly Morelli and Martin Kim, placed first for their research project, “Color Blindness: A creative Exploration Designing for Sight Challenged Individuals” which was mentored with the help of associate professor, Vince Quevedo. The goal of their project was to highlight the advantages of those who are affected by color blindness and who are visually impaired by developing a print pattern on constructed garments. Their garments consisted of a print that was designed to accommodate colorblind individuals and incorporate braille labels.
Michelle Park, senior fashion design major, was actually a member of four different undergraduate research groups in both the Art/Fashion and Business categories, but ultimately placed first for her research “Labeling Is Out of Fashion: Technology Towards Sustainability in the Apparel Industry”. Park, who was mentored by associate professor, Noël Palomo-Lovinski, explored the approach of addressing sustainability in the apparel industry on a global scale, by eliminating traditional hangtags and labels that are currently placed on clothing.
Mentored by Dr. Tameka Ellington and professor Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, senior fashion design major, Tracy Vollbrecht, also came in first for her project “Adaptive Aesthetics”. In her research, she found that approximately one-fifth of the U.S. population has some form of disability, but noticed that this significant percentage of the consumer fashion market lacked functionable, yet fashionable, clothing to meet their needs and express personal style. At the conclusion of her research, Vollbrecht constructed a collection of eight looks, incorporating design solutions that address the issues and needs of the wearer.
Associate Director of the Fashion School, Dr. Kim Hahn, was thrilled with the number of fashion participants this year. “Congratulations to our Fashion students who participated in this year’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Not only were the number of students who participated impressive but the majority of them received top awards,” said Dr. Hahn. “Thank you to all the faculty mentors who helped the students along the way. Everyone who was involved should take great pride in their accomplishments as disseminating research activities to others shows your time and commitment in taking what you have learned in the classroom to the next level.”
About the Fashion School
Established in 1983 as the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, the school was named an Ohio Center of Excellence by the state Board of Regents and is a member institution of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) and National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
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