Students Re-Think Denim for Cotton Inc. Design Challenge

February 18th, 2014 by Amanda Pierce
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Fashion Design senior Seth Stephens

Twenty outstanding Fashion Design juniors and seniors are re-thinking denim as part of the Denim Directions Design Challenge funded by a $15,000 grant from Cotton Inc., a leading producer and importer of cotton products in the United States.

“We want to push the idea of what denim can be used for,” said Suzanne Cotton, Fashion Design chair. “[This project] is a little bit different from what we normally do.”

The semester-long challenge will introduce students to denim finishing processes used in the fashion industry through hands-on workshops taught by Ryan Richmond and Irina Grebennik-Babcock, online classes offered by Cotton Inc., and a trip to a local garment manufacturer in Columbus.

“We want to help [students] achieve a more thorough understanding of denim,” said Richmond, Fashion Design alumnus (CCAD 2011) and adjunct instructor.

Though Richmond said most people define denim according to its most common uses—jeans and jackets—he hopes students will learn to see denim in new ways and create innovative finishing techniques.

“It’s been really awesome seeing everyone approach [the project] differently,” he said. “I love seeing all of their sketches and swatches.”

Armed with knowledge of industry-standard techniques, students will then present final designs and technique swatches to a panel of professionals in March, including designers from local brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Lane Bryant. The jury will select 10 finalists to travel to Cotton Inc. headquarters in Cary, NC, where they will observe manufacturing techniques and then return to Columbus to construct their final garments.

Fashion Design students in the dye lab

Fashion Design students in the dye lab

A select group of industry professionals and representatives from Cotton Inc. will choose two winners who will receive scholarship money, and whose work will be featured in SHOW! the 135th Annual Student Exhibition and a Fashion Design program presentation.

Participating students include Fashion Design seniors Emma Andrews from Columbus, OH (Columbus Alternative School), Maya Eigel from Galloway, OH (Wellington School), Yilei Fu from Hunan, China (Hunan Changsha Xiangya Experimental High School), Sa’Nasha Gent from Columbus, OH (Reynoldsburg High School), Jamell Harris from Whitehall, OH (Whitehall-Yearling High School), Ryun Harrison from Alpharetta, GA (Alpharetta High School), Ashleigh Jones from Westerville, OH (Central High School), Katsiaryna Khadzko from Shawnee, OH (Miller High School), Seth Stephens from Pickerington, OH (Pickerington High School North), Sarah Tanner from West Jefferson, OH (West Jefferson High School), Bryston Walters from Westerville, OH (Big Walnut High School), and Sarah Wong from Cincinnati, OH (Colerain High School).

Participating Fashion Design juniors include Derek Fergusson from Wadsworth, OH (Wadsworth Senior High School), Pavani Kolli from Columbus, OH, Sarah Ribble from Galloway, OH (Hilliard Darby High School), May Sleiman from Blacklick, OH, Cleopatra Slough from Lawrence, KS (Lawrence Free State High School), Abigail Staley from Westerville, OH (Ashland High School), and Linh Tran from Hanoi, Vietnam (Hanoi-Amsterdam High School).


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