Design and Merchandising faculty, students bring home international awards

Red gown with flowers
“Chinese Red in Spring” by Anna Perry

Colorado State University Department of Design and Merchandising faculty were recognized for their outstanding research and creative scholarship at the 2017 Annual International Textiles and Apparel Association Conference, held in November in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Building on previous years’ successes, Diane Sparks and Anna Perry received awards for their innovative apparel designs. Jennifer Ogle and Juyeon Park, along with Kelly Reddy-Best from Iowa State University, were recognized for their paper in the Social Psychological Aspects Track. M.S. student Brittany Conroy received the Oris Glisson Fellowship for an outstanding beginning master’s student.

Apparel design awards

White gown
“White Forest” by Anna Perry

Perry came home with two awards – the ITAA Award for Creative and Innovative Employment of Techniques for White Forest, and the Lectra Outstanding Faculty Modaris Award for Chinese Red in Spring.

Both of Perry’s dresses were inspired by her desire to create a sustainable design out of old, wasted scraps of fabric and extra parts leftover from previous designs. Perry used design principles and couture techniques to integrate various sources of inspiration into an overall aesthetic, cohesive, and sustainable design. For White Forest, Perry chose pieces related to the forest such as flowers, grasses, trees, and birds, all completely white. For Chinese Red in Spring, she used leftover colorful fabric to create flowers to embellish the dress. Her prototype patterns were created with Lectra Modaris pattern-making software.

Diane Sparks and Tyler James Klene, who is a master’s student in the department, received the Lectra Kaledo Award for Faculty for Surrealism with Floating Origami Rose: A Cocktail Ensemble.

Colorful gown
“Surrealism with Floating Origami Rose: A Cocktail Ensemble” by Diane Sparks and Tyler James Klene

The focus of the design was a surrealist landscape textile design, which Sparks and Klene achieved through digitally manipulating color vibrancy and contrast in the artwork used for the silk textile. They used traditional draping techniques to create garment patterns and couture techniques to assemble and finish the ensemble. This design follows the precedent of a relationship between fashion and Surrealism established in the 1930s by Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali. It is different, in that the textile design process was done using digital technology. The unique textile design and garment structure visually demonstrate the potential for dress designing to be a manifestation of art.

Research paper award

Ogle, Park, and Reddy-Best, a faculty member at Iowa State University, received the ITAA Paper of Distinction Award, Social Psychology Track for their paper titled: “Socializing Girls whose Bodies may not Align with Contemporary Ideals of Thinness: An Interpretive Study of Mothers.”

Faculty holding award certificate
Juyeon Park, left, and Jennifer Ogle

In their paper, the authors focused on how mothers socialize their young daughters about the body when they perceive their daughters as overweight or at risk for becoming so and when their daughters’ bodies may conflict with cultural ideals of slenderness, prompting maternal concern. They conducted in-depth interviews with 13 mothers of daughters aged 10-13 with BMIs in the 70th percentile or higher and analyzed the data. They found that mothers sought to help their daughters to accept the self, reject the societal ideal, maintain a healthful diet, and avoid over-eating.

In addition, they found that mothers experienced ambivalence as they socialized their daughters about the body; this conflict seemed to stem from anxiety about how to parent their daughters within a culture that stigmatizes larger bodies. This resulted in daughters being exposed to a complex intermingling of messages, some of which were intended to discourage feelings of bodily shame and others that reinforced the notion of personal responsibility for the body. Findings suggest that mothers of girls whose bodies may not align with cultural ideals of thinness may benefit from professional counseling designed to resolve the conflict and tension they experienced in relation to socializing their daughters.

Awardee and presenter with certificate
Brittany Conroy, left, receiving her award at the ITAA Conference

Graduate student award

Conroy, a second-year master’s student who is advised by Park, was awarded the Oris Glisson Fellowship: Outstanding Beginning Master’s Student Award. The fellowship supported her trip to the conference to present a paper titled, “Thermo-physiological comfort assessment of performance cooling fabrics in medical personal protective equipment (PPE),” representing the research team in the Human Factors Product Innovation Laboratory at CSU. She is also working on her thesis studying the fit and comfort of a ballistic vest for law enforcement officers using 3D body-scanning technology.

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