Starting next semester, fashion textile technology majors will have the opportunity to solve an age-old challenge—how to design a cotton garment that won’t wrinkle.
The special topics eight-week course will challenge students to use 100 percent wrinkle-resistant cotton, commonly used in men’s shirts, to make a garment for women. Cotton Inc., a North Carolina-based organization that helps companies manufacture, market, and sell cotton products more efficiently, provided a $3,200 Research Foundation grant to cover the cost of the class, including all materials.
Lynn Boorady, associate professor of technology, applied for the grant and will teach the course.
“To be able to partner with an organization like Cotton Inc. to create a real-life project is so valuable for students,” Boorady said, adding that the students will get feedback from the company on their finished work.
Out of swaths of white cotton, students can design a shirt, skirt, pants, a suit, or a dress for women in a variety of life stages, such as a 28-35-year-old working mother with children, an 18-22-year-old college student who commutes to school, and an active 55-70-year-old grandmother who likes sports.
“They have to think about when she would wear this. They have to ask, what would she be doing? How would the garment look?,” Boorady explained. “They really have to get into her head.”
Not only will the students come up with the ideas, they also will make the patterns and stitch the garments.
Boorady, whose areas of expertise include functional clothing and personal protective equipment such as that worn by firefighters and hockey players, said she rarely gets to do “pretty stuff.”
The special topics class will enable students to make something pretty within certain parameters and that could include adding embellishments to make any wrinkles less obvious.
“You just have to be creative,” Boorady said.
The final products have a good chance of making it into the juried spring fashion show—a coveted spot for fashion design students—because they will have the time to devote to an unusual project with materials provided, Boorady pointed out. They also have an experienced professor on hand who worked in the fashion industry.
“I can help them work through difficulties,” Boorady said. “To me, it’s a blessing for students.”