C2C Student Merchandising Competition

AATCC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 AATCC Concept 2 Consumer® Student Merchandising Competition. The Association received 11 entries, with 20 students participating from four colleges and universities.

Using the same theme as the Design Competition, Everyday Clothes for Extraordinary Kids, merchandising students were challenged to showcase their skills in business, marketing, and merchandising by creating a business concept of a hypothetical new apparel line that redesigns apparel items (leggings, t-shirts, etc.) for children (ages 2-10) with special needs and/or a disability.

Awards and Winners:

1st Place: Moxie by Alexis Jones, Central Michigan University

Jones recently graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Fashion Merchandising. “When developing this merchandising campaign, I had limited knowledge regarding my target market and very little understanding on apparel for children with special needs. Through my research I discovered that apparel for children with special needs is still a highly unsaturated market. This competition challenged me to conduct a more in-depth research within this market and gain a better insight into the current wants and needs of my consumer, to provide satisfaction and bring a fresh look for a customer who might be otherwise overlooked,” Jones says.

Next year she will be returning to Central Michigan University to complete her master’s in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology. Upon graduation, she aspires to pursue a career in Merchandise Management with a special interest in visual merchandising. This competition has strengthened her abilities to strategically plan for different seasons, budgets, and channel distributions; develop promotional goals and advertisements; and monitor the products and pricing of competitors through SWOT analysis. She says, “This competition has most helpfully reminded me to be aware and to look within the areas of the apparel industry for opportunities to drive inclusiveness with the express intention of including customers who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.”

Jones won US$1000 from AATCC, US$200 from TÜV Rheinland, US$200 from Jefferies Socks, a US$50 gift certificate to Socks in Stock, and a summer online paid marketing internship at Jefferies Socks


2nd Place: Kids in Motion by Caroline DeRosa, University of Delaware

DeRosa won US$750 from AATCC, US$100 from TÜV Rheinland, US$100 from Jefferies Socks, and a US$50 gift certificate to Socks in Stock

DeRosa just graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Minor in Business Administration from the University of Delaware. “From this competition, I learned a lot about individuals with special needs and the devices used for their transportation and safety. Not only did I learn a lot about product specifics, but I also learned that there is a high amount of detail and research that goes into planning for a new product and how to merchandise for it,” she says.

She will be starting a career at Coach Inc. as an Assistant Buyer for Women’s Full Price, Small Leather Goods. This project will be very relevant to DeRosa’s career as a Buyer. She learned how to put together a financial plan, marketing plan, and make a product assortment with various functions and colors so that it is attractive to a variety of customers.


Honorable Mention: Smiley Willy by Lauren Ferrell and Hanna Jernigan, North Carolina State University

Lauren Ferrell is a majoring Fashion Textile Management, with a concentration in Brand Management and Marketing, and minoring in Business Administration. “This competition allows you to venture into different areas of merchandising I didn’t have a lot of experience in,” says Ferrell. She aims to find a career in Sales and Marketing. “The competition was a real ‘resume booster.’ It was awesome to be able to talk to employers about my project,” she remarks.


Hanna Jernigan is working towards a degree in Fashion and Textile Management: Brand Management and Marketing (graduating May 2018). “I learned how to find an opportunity and make the idea grow,” she says. “Really searching for what it is that people need and what you can provide to the consumer that they have never seen before. It was a chance to really push and challenge ourselves.”

She plans to go into the marketing field as a marketing director. She learned a lot from participating in this competition which will help her in the future. One of the things she especially learned was how to find out what it is a target consumer reacts to.

The team won US$250 from AATCC, US$100 from TÜV Rheinland, and a US$50 gift certificate to Socks in Stock


AATCC thanks the following sponsors, developers, and judges. Without their donations, expertise and assistance, this merchandising competition would not have been possible.








Muditha Senanayake, Associate 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

Kerry King, Vice President, R&D at Spoonflower, Inc.

Mark Sunderland, Director Academic Operations/Textile Engineer+ Strategist, Philadelphia University

Mary Brannon, Apparel Technology Coordinator at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising



Alyssa McNamara, Research & Development at Spoonflower Inc

Claudia Romero, Managing Director at Capr-Style Ltd.

Craig Crawford, King of Creative at Crawford IT

Emily Coleman, Designer/Merchandise Manager at Jeffries Socks

Kristie Rhodes, Manager, Product Development at Cotton Incorporated

Lauren Dalton, Product Integrity Manager at Zulily

Susan Matter, Product Integrity Manager at Nordstrom Product Group


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