Fashion students are no strangers to the classroom experience of strenuous projects and presentations.
The Cotton Challenge is a new apparel and textiles course offered to fashion students. The main objectives of the class are to give students an understanding and appreciation for the cotton industry, to learn about cotton fabrics and to implement what they learn into a fashion show.
To prepare for the fashion show, the class was broken up into two groups – designers and a marketing team.
“The marketing and production team’s tasks have been planning, promoting and staying in communication with the judges and designers to stay on top of things,” said Tiffany McFarlane, member of the production team and junior in apparel marketing.
McFarlane also said that the production team paired up with interior design students to come up with a concept for the look and feel of the show.
However, the process of preparation for the designers is not as simple.
“The designers had the option to produce lines to compete in the men’s, women’s or casual categories for either Lee Jeans or the PCCA [Plains Cotton Cooperative Association] components,” said Nicole Diehl-Kliemann, competing designer and senior in apparel design. “To prepare for the show, we’ve had to find inspiration for our line, design our line and most importantly, create rough and final garments for the fashion show.”
The competing designers also had to do research on Cotton, Inc., the company sponsoring the show.
The learning experience of the course proves to be worthy inside and outside of the classroom, as McFarlane, Diehl-Kliemann and many of their classmates have traveled on all-expenses-paid educational trips to see Cotton, Inc. in Cary, N.C. and Lee Jeans in Kansas City, Kan.
Soon, the students are headed to see a cotton gin in Anthony, Kan. and the American Cotton Growers’ mill in Littlefield, Texas – all in the name of learning about the cotton industry and how it’s significant to the apparel and design industry.
McFarlane said her overall favorite experience so far as a student involved the event.
“I love this class and what I’ve learned thus far,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from teachers and peers as well. This class doesn’t even feel like a class. I actually feel like there’s a connection between everyone in the class, as if we’re a family taking a journey together. We are learning so much together as a whole about cotton, the cotton industry and what we love most, fashion.”