The two first-place recipients of the 2017 Fabric Graphics Student Design Challenge presented their projects at EXPO and described their design processes, challenges and takeaways.
Valentina Ramirez from Parsons the New School in New York won first place for her project “Paloquemao the Columbian Fruit Markets.” Ramirez, a native of Bogota, Columbia, says she wanted her project to be “ethical fashion,” which she says is rooted in sustainability and creating clothing that uses native materials and evokes the cultural values of a small community of farmers in Columbia. Primarily using recycled shirting, her apparel is accented with digitally printed illustrations, hand woven embroidery and fibers from a native Columbian plant called fique. “I wanted to evoke the joy of this farm community,” says Ramirez. “I used the illustrations of fruits and vibrant colors, the embroidery by the women of this community and the fique to collaborate with these farmers and show the world through their eyes.”
Tied for first place was Briana Turnbull from St. Catherine University in Minnesota with her project “Reflective Bike Jacket.” Turnbull says her goal was to create a line of clothing for women cyclists that is “saddle to street;” functional, comfortable, fashionable and feminine, and that incorporates highly reflective safety features. Turnbull surveyed 600 women cyclists across the country about what they wanted in cycling gear. The result is a line of highly reflective, waterproof and fashionable commuter bikewear that incorporates 3M™ “retroreflective technology” though graphics applied to each piece of clothing made from the company’s Scotchlite™ reflective material.
Turnbull says designing the collection was not as difficult as doing the research about what women cyclists really want in their clothing. “Part of what I’ve learned is that you have to pay attention to what the customer wants,” says Turnbull. “You can’t just design something for yourself. You have to put the client first.”