Winning designs were displayed at Malouf’s fine clothing store.
The advanced flat pattern course in the Department of Design at Texas Tech University, with help from local retailer Malouf's, allowed sophomores to experience a world outside the classroom. Students taking the course competed for a chance to have original work-themed women's sportswear displayed throughout Malouf's clothing store in Lubbock following the spring semester. Within the course and competition Lyndsie Frost, a Texas Tech alumna and head buyer of ready to wear and jewelry at Malouf's, mentored the students.
Selected apparel design and manufacturing students Kennedy Cox, Breana Martinez, Raegan McGuire, Beatriz Machado, Angela Williams, Bonnie Weiler and Jessica Ozoude worked with Malouf's brands Tory Burch, Lafayette 148, Kate Spade, Rag & Bone, AMS Pure and One State, respectively. The best of show was awarded to Martinez, who also received a certificate from Malouf's.
“The competition pushes them to create excellent work in the areas of design, flat pattern making, sketching, and construction,” Rachel Anderson, assistant professor of apparel design and manufacturing in the College of Human Sciences, said. “It allows them to use these basic skills to create original designs for a specific purpose, as well as provides exposure to the inner workings of the fashion industry.”
After college, most students will either go into business for themselves or for a company like the ones for which they designed. Exposing students to the industry lets them learn how to present design to a group of buyers to sell their line of clothing and process of job interviews, Anderson said.
Frost and Mercedes Kennedy, director of visual merchandising for Malouf's, judged each presentation each student's research of the brand, its target customers, appropriateness of design, trend forecasting and construction.
Frost said she additionally looked for whether the design would fit the line they are representing and her store. Being there from beginning to the end allowed Frost to see how much each presentation evolved. She also reviewed each presentation individually and helped students to enhance their techniques. The competition was comparable to “Project Runway,” the design TV show on Lifetime.
“Hosting the competition at Malouf's allowed students to experience something they don't see every day,” Frost said. This was something that has been added to the class since Frost was a fashion major.
Martinez, who is pursuing Haute Couture, designs used for red carpet or museums, said she and the other students learned what it is like for a buyer to stock a store with styles, brands and items geared toward their target customers using their recurring customers as a tool in choosing.
“This whole process really has inspired me to pursue design after school,” Martinez said.
Students had to keep in mind how the brands cut and shape their clothes. Stitching, overall fit, fabric content and color story were a few of many factors students to which students adjusted when creating their clothing line. Even before starting students were required to research their chosen brand. Students also created a trend report which included the history of the brand, design aesthetic, desired trends, customer demographic, and which season, fall or spring line, they would create for.
They also had to forecast what trends and color schemes would become popular. Since most of what Malouf's carries is high-end fashion, students were asked to pick a favorite apparel of their fashion week.
Frost said a few of her customers wanted to purchase the students' clothing, which she said is exciting to watch high-end customers desiring designs from the students. She hopes to continue helping with competition and help it to grow to not just yearly, but semesterly.