After two years of virtual gatherings, the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) Conference returned to an in-person experience in Denver, with Colorado State University as the host institution. Amid the face-to-face excitement, two recent CSU alumni, Elise Hadjis and Katie Miller, won awards for their creative design research in apparel and merchandising.
Undergraduate Design Research – Elise Hadjis
Hadjis graduated with a B.S. degree in apparel and merchandising and a concentration in apparel design and production in Spring of 2022 and a double major in chemistry. She submitted a piece from her senior capstone collection titled: Waterproof Jacket and Climbing Pants for Female Rock Climbers. The design won The Collier Brands Award for Outstanding Consideration of Pattern. Hadjis also won awards for this collection at the 2022 All in Bloom Fashion Show taking home the award for Excellence in Construction as well as the Craig Birdsong Award for Outstanding Senior Capstone Collection.
Her design work is intricate, layered, and technologically focused. Hadjis’ science background inspired her to create a collection for her capstone project incorporating waterproofing, battery-powered lights, and other advanced components.
Hadjis was mentored through her ITAA submission by design and merchandising faculty Kevin Kissell, Kristen Morris, and Jennifer Jeanerette.
Graduate Design Research – Katie Miller
Katie Miller, who graduated with her M.S. degree in apparel and merchandising in summer 2022 won two awards at the ITAA conference: the 2022 ATEXINC Award for Excellence in Marketable Textile Design – Graduate Level and the 2022 Optitex Technology Award for graduate students.
Miller’s design research is titled: Regenerative Garment Design within a Colorado Fibershed. Her projects used wool harvested locally in Colorado, spun into yarn, woven into fabric, and then sewn into a garment minimizing transportation and the carbon footprint of its creation. This design project was the focus of Miller’s master’s thesis research and her faculty mentors were Kristen Morris and Sonali Diddi.
About the ITAA conference
ITAA is the leading conference for textile, apparel, and merchandising research. ITAA also oversees the Textile and Apparel Programs Accreditation Commission, an accreditation held by CSU’s Department of Design and Merchandising. Research session presentations included textile science, merchandising, teaching pedagogy, inclusive and adaptive design topics, the social/psychological aspects of dress, and sustainability issues as well as creative design research. Many faculty from the Department of Design and Merchandising attended the event.
Additionally, with Denver as the host city for this year’s conference, CSU Professor and Department Head Karen Hyllegard and Associate Professor and Program Coordinator Kristen Morris, served as the conference’s co-chairs. Hyllegard and Morris organized opportunities for leading textile researchers to tour the facilities at CSU at the Nancy Richardson Design Center and the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising. Conference attendees also toured a number of local, sustainable companies in the outdoor industry like TOPO designs, REI, and North Face. Jedd Rose, President and Founder of TOPO Designs, served as the conference’s keynote speaker. CSU College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Lise Youngblade attended to speak on a panel about the importance of accreditation.
Next year’s ITAA conference will be in Baltimore, and CSU is poised to maintain a strong student and faculty presence at future conferences.