Senior BA Design Students Prepare for Fashion Careers with Design Studio Course
“Inspiring creative and resourceful fashion leaders” is the Kent State University Fashion School motto, and one of the many courses helping to make this motto a reality is the senior level BA Fashion Design Studio III course.
The Fall 2017 semester course, taught by assistant professor, Dr. Ja Young Hwang, aimed to prepare students for futures in fashion design. “The purpose of this course is to help get the students ready to work in the industry. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses; one could be great with technology, while another could be great at sewing. I wanted them to work together to help solve a problem in the community. When you get out into the fashion workforce, you rarely work alone; most of the time, you have to work as a team to create. That’s something I really wanted to incorporate into this course,” said Hwang.
The students assembled into groups of three or four and were asked to find an outside client and create a video showcasing a design that could help solve a problem for their chosen client. The students conducted two stages of interviews with their clients to define a problem. Then to solve that problem, they were required to choose one of the three categories: wearable technology, disability or transformation, that they would use to address the problem.
Groups who chose the wearable technology category were asked to incorporate a type of wearable-tech into a functioning piece of clothing. Seniors Morgan Manuel, Phoebe Takeda and Kate Schmidt, created a technologically advanced snowboarding outfit called “Diamond Frost”, that featured Bluetooth speakers and a phone charger built directly into the fabric.
The groups that chose the disability category were tasked with creating a piece that could help someone with a mental or physical disability. The student group of: Madeline Jordan, Emmy Staffileno and Bo Kim, created sensory-friendly children’s clothing geared for use in their client’s occupational therapy classroom. Their creation titled “ADL Kids” featured a three-piece look that allowed the child to increase or decrease compression levels throughout the day, providing comfort and support. It also featured removable sleeves allowing the child to adjust their temperature while in the classroom.
The final category, transformation, required students to create a product that transforms into another. Students Meleah Honeycutt, Kailey Virgin and Mikayla Brown created “The Hacket”; a jacket that converts into a portable hammock, for their nature enthusiast client to use while camping or hiking.
Dr. Hwang and fashion school assistant professor, Dr. Gargi Bhaduri, used this course as the basis for their research in helping secure a Cotton Incorporated grant award of $47,000 for collaborative studies between fashion merchandising and design students how to view the industry from the other's perspective. More information about the grant can be found here on the Fashion School’s news and events page.
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).