Kent State Fashion School Shines with Awards at International Textile Conference

Hahn Design - Irradiated Traditions: Navajo People Wearing the Yellow Dust of Uranium Toxicity
REBIRTH II (Chen Design)

Kent State University Fashion School faculty and students won a total of nine awards at this year’s International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) Conference held Nov. 14 – 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla.


Winning one of the most prestigious awards was Dr. Tameka Ellington, The Fashion School’s Faculty Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives, who won the ITAA Rising Star Award. The Rising Star Award is intended to recognize faculty members who exemplify incredible work in the textiles and apparels industry through teaching, research and service. Additionally, associate professor Dr. Catherine Leslie was presented with the ITAA Teaching Excellence Award and assistant professor, Dr. Gargi Bhaduri, received the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal (CTRJ) Outstanding Reviewer Award.


Among the faculty members who had design work accepted, assistant professor Chanjuan Chen, won the Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Practices (ESRAP) Award for Sustainable Design. Her winning piece “Rebirth II”, was created entirely from secondhand men’s tailored jackets, refashioned to create formal evening wear inspired from Chinese cultural elements. Chen also collaborated with assistant professor Kendra Lapolla to win 1st Place in the Rutherford Teaching Challenge. The Rutherford Teaching Challenge rewards those who develop innovative teaching strategies addressing emerging issues in the textile and apparel fields.


Dr. Kim Hahn, Associate Director and Associate Professor, received the ITAA Award for Innovative Design Scholarship, for her garment “Irradiated Traditions: Navajo People Wearing the Yellow Dust of Uranium Toxicity,” a design originally crafted for the Arizona exhibition Hope and Trauma in a Poisoned Land, which invited artists to explore the impact of uranium mining on Navajo lands and the people.


Faculty director, Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, won the ATEXINC Award for Excellence in Marketable Textile Design for her “Changing Perspectives,” a ready-to-wear knit design that was created using a Stoll ADF 7.2 gauge industrial knitting machine; one of three Stoll digital knitting machines placed in Kent State’s Fashion School.


The undergraduate student team of Julien Remi Nguyen, Gerald Hopper, Kaley McClure and Jon Rankin, mentored by associate professor, Margarita Benitez, won the Avalon Creative Design Award. “d//EVOLUTION”, their piece celebrating the Cassowary, a creature with close relations to dinosaurs, exemplified the qualities of both modern birds and reptiles. Another undergraduate student team comprised of students Mary Jensen, Hunter Lawson and Waverly Kann, mentored by Bhaduri, received the ESRAP 2018 Undergraduate Student Merchandising Poster Competition 1st Runner Up Award.


The ITAA is the global organization of textile and apparel scholars. For more information, visit


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 Ohio Department of Higher Education (formerly known as the Ohio Board of Regents) and is a member institution of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI). It also is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)






Brittani Peterson,, 330-672-2714










POSTED: Thursday, January 18, 2018 11:25 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 05:55 AM