Apparel and textiles students receive awards in the Alpaca design competition

Kansas State students Faith Janssen and Sahar Ejeimi took second and fourth place, respectively, in last summer's Alpaca design competition. (Photo courtesy of Faith Janssen)

Senior in apparel and textiles Faith Janssen and graduate student in human ecology Sahar Ejeimi brought home awards in July for their work in the 16th annual Alpaca Owners Association student design competition.

Janssen said the event is a continuation of a fashion design class from last spring.

“We submitted all the information to the Alpaca Association headquarters at the end of the semester,” she said.

Janssen and other finalists were invited to the student design retreat in Tennessee where they gave presentations on their designs and received awards.

Sherry Haar, professor of apparel, textiles and interior design, spoke on the nature of the competition and the Kansas State’s history with it.

“Each year there are between 60 to 130 design entries submitted from universities across the nation,” Haar said. “The finalists are welcomed to a design retreat during the Alpaca Owners Association annual conference.”

Throughout over a decade of participating K-State has multiple acquired accolades, Haar said.

“Over 16 years, our students’ design abilities have been recognized with 20 awards, of which seven were first place,” Haar said.

There were two categories in the competition: clothing and fabric design. Janssen entered the clothing design category.

“I wanted to go with something practical — nothing too out there,” she said.

Alpaca-based fabrics have unique properties that might make them desirable over traditional fabrics, Janssen said.

“It’s good for people that have allergies,” Janssen said, “It’s similar to wool in warmth but without the itchiness.”

Haar described the material as “an unusual, sustainable luxury fiber” that allows students to learn every step of the process, from the design to raising a herd.

Haar said K-State was one of the first universities to participate due to the interest and promotion by regional alpaca owners.

“We will continue to participate as recognition from an external competition validates the strength of K-State fashion students and the apparel and textiles program,” she said.