CSU students win apparel and merchandising research awards at prestigious conference

a group photo of faculty, former faculty, graduate students and friends of CSU's department of design and merchandising
ITAA brings together Design and Merchandising faculty, former faculty, graduate students, and friends.

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.

Jacket and detail image of the top of the pants for a design set by Elise Hadjis full length image of the jacket, cropped top, and leggings with a folded pattern designed by Elise Hadjis. view of the inside of the jacket and the cropped jacket designed by Elise Hadjis

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.

Front of the hand-woven dress designed by Katie Miller Detail of the woven fabric and crossing top around bust and empire waist tie in a design from Katie Miller Detail of the woven sleeve tightened to gather at the wrist in a design by Katie Miller

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.

Jedd Rose, founder and president of TOPO designs, speaks at a podium wth images of cyclists projected beside him
Jedd Rose, founder and president of TOPO Designs, delivers the keynote speech at ITAA in Denver.

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.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.