AATCC is happy to announce the winners of the 2016 AATCC C2C® Student Merchandising Competition!
AATCC received 43 entries, with 114 students participating from 8 colleges and universities. Students were challenged to showcase their skills in business, marketing, and merchandising by creating a business concept of a hypothetical new apparel or accessories line (hats, bags, and scarves) that transforms. Examples of transformations could include changing color, serving multiple purposes, or changing through the actual design of the fabric. See the full competition guidelines for more details.
1st Place – One Wear by Jose Gonzalez and Yuxin Zhu, NC State University (US $1,000 award)
Yuxin Zhu will graduate with a Master of Science of Textile and Apparel Technology Management from NC State University in May 2017.
Zhu comments on the C2C Merchandising Competition: “I used to work as a marketing planner, the fascinating part of this work is you will always learn something new from every new case you get. So does this competition. In order to make a good merchandise plan for a new apparel product line, we have to get in-depth insights from the market, consumer and even our virtual competitors. As long as you own the curiosity, there’s no limitation on absorbing knowledge from various channels.
In addition, team work is the key to the success of a strategic plan. Each team member contributes his own advantages and brings their valuable perspectives which complement the whole case. It sounds easy, but is not easily accomplished. The professional way of cooperating with others is setting a clear goal and an achievable expectation, making objective decisions, and sometimes making appropriate concessions.
In the future, I still want to become a consultant or a planner. What I learned from this competition will definitely benefit my future career. Although consulting and planning are activities revolving around products, after all, they’re people business. In some circumstances, soft skills are more important than your professional skills. The only way to enhance this soft skill is through practice, such as participating in this competition. It’s a good experience for everyone who wants to step into the industry as a marketing or merchandise manager.”
Jose Gonzalez is pursuing a Masters of Textiles and Brand Management.
He comments, “This competition allowed my teammate and I to utilize what we have learned and are in the process of learning in our market research, consumer behavior, and strategic business courses during our master’s program. Ultimately, everything we built became dependent on our brand and the purpose that it served. One Wear is a brand founded on the socio-cultural movement of today’s civil rights movement of the LGBTQ community. Traditional gender barriers are broken down as high fashion brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, amongst others, challenge them with their silhouettes, choice of models, and messages. We learned to build and maintain the momentum of this movement and combine it with our love for aesthetically pleasing garments to create a new line that encompasses everything we believe in.
After my master’s program, I am looking forward to continue growing and building a career in the branding and marketing department of a fashion and/or textiles firm that seeks to make a difference in today’s current corporate social responsibility issues. Wages, waste management, and safer environmental practices are some examples of what I’d be aiming to learn and make a difference to on a greater scale. This competition showed how important it is to create and work on projects that one truly stands for. The concerns and drive to change the status quo within the fashion/textile industry using branding and marketing skills will one day result in new research that will suggest and implement safer and better products without compromising environmental and human integrity.”
2nd Place – OnesieTree by Annie Schtevie, University of Delaware (US$750 award)
Annie Schtevie is a major in Fashion Merchandising at the University of Delaware. From this competition she has developed a depth of interest in trend forecasting, specifically as it relates to textile and apparel production.
She says, “I am very interested in supply chain management and development and I love to learn how companies design, produce, and dye products for coming seasons, when the fashion cycle is often unpredictable and is evolutionarily changing. I can see myself becoming a Production Manager or Trend Forecaster for a large design house when I graduate from the University of Delaware in 2017. This competition allowed me to research the viability of a clothing line that transforms biodegradable textiles, from a business standpoint. The things I have learned while participating in this competition will be helpful to me in my future career because they allowed me to contextualize the long-term trends of sustainable textiles and active consumer-input in clothing brands. I also researched how certain fabrics can be repurposed based on the fibers they contain. Overall, this competition was very rewarding!”
Honorable Mention – Vicissitude by Danielle Raffa, Molly Finnegan, Jen Forsgren, and Monina Leung, University of Wyoming (US$250 award)
Danielle Raffa is a senior at the University of Wyoming and is studying Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Design, Merchandising, and Textiles and minoring in Marketing.
Here’s what she says about participating in the competition: “From this competition, I really learned how to be creative in coming up with new ideas for the retail industry, specifically in transformable clothing. This competition allowed me to learn how to create solutions for common retail problems that transformable clothing can solve. I enjoyed learning more about transformable clothing on the retail market currently and brainstorming ideas of what this market will look like in the future.
In the future, I want to be a wedding designer and help with not only planning the events of the day, but creating the theme for the wedding and making someone’s vision for their wedding day come to life. From this competition, I will definitely take the problem solving and creativity skills that I learned with me as I progress into my future career. I feel that the principles that this competition taught me can be applied to many different aspects of life and can enhance one’s motive for innovation, critical thinking, and inspirational creativity.”
Molly Finnegan will graduate in 2017 with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences focusing on Design, Merchandising, and Textiles and with a minor in Interior Design.
She says, “the competition has taught me the importance of functional yet visually attractive designs in the fashion industry as well as how to design products that will be appealing to a wide range of consumers all while working in a team setting. Through this competition, I learned the importance of adequate design that is both functional as well as visually appealing to a wide range of consumers which can be applied in both the textile industry as well as the interior design industry.”
Jen Forsgren is majoring in Design, Textiles and Merchandising and minoring in Interior Design at the University of Wyoming.
She says, “I thought that this competition was a neat experience. It made us think outside of the box with creating something that could be used universal. We also got a chance to share our skills and knowledge in business and marketing that we have been learning for our future careers.
After completing my degree, I would like to open up my own commercial interior design business. This project was helpful because it helped us come up with ideas to market our designs, whatever they may be. I also think it was good because we got to see the business part of it, which will help as I pursue my education and achieve my goals.
After graduation, Finnegan plans to move back to Colorado were she hopes to get a job with an interior design firm working as a residential interior designer.
AATCC would like to extend appreciation to the following developers and judges. Without their expertise and assistance, the Competition would not have been possible.
Jiangning Che, Assistant Professor at California State Polytechnic University Pomona
Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, Assistant Professor, Design, Housing and Merchandising Oklahoma State University
Sandy Johnson, Director of Sales at Color Solutions International/Dystar
Heidi Carvalho, Textile Technology Consultant at TTACC
Kerry King, Vice President, R&D at Spoonflower, Inc.
Mary Brannon, Apparel Technology Coordinator at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Alan Biggerstaff, Sr. Mgr. Quality/Textile/Color: Team Sports & Adult Apparel at Walmart
Scott Wagner, Fabric Manager, Innovation & Supply Chain Technical Services at Levi Strauss & Co.
Jennifer Maloney, Product Development Specialist at Cintas
Lauren Dalton, Product Integrity Manager at Zulily
Sarah Simmons, Color Analyst at The North Face