A Day in the Life of an Apparel and Textiles Design Major


The apparel and textiles design major involves many skills and techniques that often go unrecognized, Mackenzie Larkin, junior in apparel and textiles design, said.

“We have to have a lot of determination and drive,” Larkin said.

Larkin is taking 22 credit hours this semester and plans to graduate in May 2019. She said she spends at least six hours outside of class per week to work on studio projects.

Larkin said making patterns, creating mood boards to show style or concepts, illustrating fashion designs, sewing garments and creating textiles digitally are some of the assignment projects.

Larkin, like many apparel and textile design majors, gets experience in operating machines such as industrial sewing and cross-stitching machines when creating apparel.

“The main machines are provided for us, but we do have to buy our own supplies,” Larkin said. “Scissors, rulers, zippers, thread and fabric are the types of things we have to go out and buy ourselves.”

Students get feedback to help them change and improve their work through one-on-one mentoring from professors in the department.

“We really want to instill in students, and even the K-State community, that there are a lot of skills that go into knowing the industry and being successful in it,” Genna Reeves, assistant professor in the department of apparel, textiles and interior design, said.

Students in the apparel, textiles and interior design department are encouraged to utilize their creative freedoms and put their own style preference into their assignments. Larkin said she prefers a more vintage style.

Students are able to display the skills they learned through their work at the Showcase of Excellence in April. Larkin and other interested students have already submitted their work.

Larkin said the showcase is something students in her major look forward to. Each year, students design their assignments according to the showcase theme; this year it is “Creative Thinking” according to the Showcase of Excellence website.

Larkin is also involved in the Apparel Marketing and Design Alliance, a fashion club that exposes students to all facets of the apparel and textile design industry.

Larkin’s friend Ellee Schmitt, freshman in apparel and textiles design, is also a member of the Apparel Marketing and Design Alliance.

“I really appreciate AMDA and the connections I can make through it” Schmitt said. “I’ve been able to meet upperclassmen and get their advice on building my portfolio and how to improve my work.”

The Apparel Marketing and Design Alliance gives students an opportunity to meet with professionals and make connections through industry tours, such as trips to Portland for a fashion show and to Vegas to see different companies and manufacturers’ winter collections.

“This field is such a competitive world, so I’m open to any job opportunity that could fall into my lap after graduation,” Larkin said. “Ideally, though, I would work for a higher-end lingerie company.”