Two University of Missouri (MU) graduate students in textile and apparel management attended summer school this year—but not because they had to make up missed class work. Instead, Laura McAndrews and Stephanie Link spent six weeks at work in an apparel production factory in El Salvador collaborating with employees on a new brand of yoga wear that will be marketed in the United States.
“Many Central American textile and apparel factories are hired by U.S. firms to manufacture products for U.S. consumers,” says McAndews, a textile and apparel management doctoral student. “They often lack the ability to produce their own original apparel lines.” The students partnered with TexOps™, La Libertad, El Salvador, on an original yoga apparel line called Wear It To Heart (W.I.T.H.), showing factory workers how to design patterns and develop guidelines for fitting procedures. At the same time, the students learned about apparel mass production processes and industry challenges. “This is a prime example of how MU is truly globally engaged,” says Jung Ha-Brookshire, assistant professor in the textile and apparel management department. McAndrews and Link hope to return to El Salvador if the W.I.T.H. yoga line is successful.