AATCC is happy to announce the winners of the 2018 AATCC C2C® Student Merchandising Competition!
AATCC received 50 entries, with 95 students participating from 14 colleges and universities. Students were challenged to showcase their skills in business, marketing, and merchandising by conducting a business model, determining a marketing strategy, and developing merchandising tools and products for an integrated new apparel line focused on and inspired by a specific outdoor or indoor athletic activity (cycling, running, group fitness, hiking, etc.). The new line had to transition from activity to everyday wear and incorporate a use case and supply chain of a realistic technology (e-textiles, chemical technologies, materials technologies, etc). See the full competition guidelines for more details.
Winners and Awards: See the winning entries and meet the winners!
Hannah Norum is majoring in Apparel Design and Merchandising Management. “I learned how to create a comprehensive merchandising plan that took into consideration everything from the apparel itself and its characteristics to the business plan, branding, and marketing,” she says. “Not only did we have to decide on an activity and in what ways our apparel would transition to everyday wear, we had to consider who would wear it, our value proposition and competitors, as well as branding, marketing, and distribution channels. Having designed and created apparel collections in the past, this competition really drives home what it would take to turn that collection into a successful business. Through this competition, everything I’ve learned in the past few years of college really came full circle into this project and I now see how truly integrated apparel design can be with merchandising management.”
Norum plans to own an apparel company with a focus on sustainability and body positivity. She says, “I plan to work up to that by gaining valuable experience in the industry as both a merchandiser and as a technical designer or in product development. A lot of what I learned from this competition will be helpful in this career. It gives me perspective for how businesses operate and ways in which I can be successful in my own venture in the future. Much of our inspiration for this project came very naturally and that is something I hope to continue to be able to apply in future projects and ultimately my career path.”
Mylisa Krueger is also an Apparel Design and Merchandising Management major. Krueger says the competition taught her the importance of always knowing the original goal to make sure the solution is comprehensive and engaging to the audience.
She is currently working with Browzwear as a 3D Apparel Development Specialist. “I hope to continue in this area and further explore what 3D has to offer the apparel industry specifically for plus sizes and fit,” she says. “This competition pushed me to consider all areas involved in developing a product and creating solutions which is in line with my current career path.”
Equilibre: A Work to Workout Clothing Line by Megan Singleton and Mallory Hayes from North Carolina State University is the second place winning entry. They will be awarded US$750 from AATCC and US$100 from Cotton Incorporated
Mallory Hayes is concurrently working on a BS for Fashion and Textile Management, concentrating in Fashion Development and Product Management and taking graduate level classes to complete a Masters in Textiles. After working on the entry, Equilibre, Hayes gained knowledge of fabrics and learned about the different ways they can be engineered and designed to produce desired products. She was also challenged to learn more about getting a product to market, as well as having to create a timeline and budget for the product line. Having to strategically create a product idea and then create a plan to bring it to market gave Hayes a taste of working in industry.
Upon graduating, she plans to apply for a technical design position. Hayes recently has developed a love for the technical side of fashion development, pattern making, and garment fit. Having a passion for fitness and fashion, the C2C Merchandising Competition allowed her to intertwine both of her passions into one project. Hayes says, “having to think critically, creatively, and realistically are all job descriptions for a technical designer. This project has made me challenge myself, gain knowledge of the fitness industry, and has helped improve the way I tackle large task and projects to produce an end product.”
Megan Singleton is pursuing a BS in Fashion and Textile Management with a concentration in Brand Management and Marketing. “This merchandising competition was a great opportunity to stretch my marketing muscles and apply this knowledge in a real way. It’s wonderful to study something and then use that information to create something new and exciting, such as our proposed brand, Equilibre,” she says. “It also was a chance for my partner, Mallory Hayes, and me to extend our knowledge of the textile market to best suit the product we created. I loved the challenge of learning about innovative textile materials and how they can be utilized in the real world. But my true takeaway from the competition was how useful it was in rounding out my education at NC State. With the help of our mentor, Delisa Matthews, we were able to see how all our classes and studies were interwoven and how they could be effectively applied in the real world!”
Singleton’s plans are to attend graduate school to obtain a master’s degree and then pursue a doctorate degree. She believes she would be well suited for academia. This competition has confirmed Singleton’s love of marketing and the importance it holds in both the national and global industry of textiles. She says, “I’d like to use this passion for the subject to teach others. In addition, marketing is a way to give innovative and unheard-of products and services a voice to the consumer and it’s increasingly important that we have good marketers to help us with this endeavor. I hope to pass along that knowledge as a professor!”
The Honorable Mention entry was Quick Fix by Mary Lee, Lyndee Johnston, Oksana Topchiy, and Renea Wright from the University of Wyoming. They will be awarded US$250 from AATCC and US$50 from Cotton Incorporated.
Mary Lee is a Design, Merchandising, and Textiles major. Lee thought it was very interesting to merchandise a brand from scratch. “What really excites me is thinking about how technology will be used in the future,” she says. “Not only are textile technologies advancing, the ways clothing will be marketed and purchased are also advancing.”
Lee thinks this competition was a good exercise in thinking about how to present a clothing line concept. The knowledge she gained will be useful if she were to try to start a company of her own or pitch an idea to investors.
Lyndee Johnston is a Design, Merchandising, and Textiles major with an Interior Design minor. She says, “I learned how in-depth textile research is needed to allow for all the components we wanted to be included in the active wear. It was worthwhile to focus in on the textile characteristics rather than spend time on the design of the products. I also learned that working in a group like this may be frustrating at times, but we worked well together. All of us were able to bounce ideas off each other and hone in on the characteristics that would make work life and workout life easier for all generations as we ourselves are of various ages.”
Johnston graduated this May and is currently looking for Interior Design and Textile manufacturing positions. This competition taught her many great skills involving textile science, wearable tech, and apparel design which she will be using in her everyday life, not just at work.
Oksana A Topchiy is a Design, Merchandising, and Textiles major with Apparel Design minor. Topchiy believes the competition was a great opportunity for her to use her knowledge from merchandising, marketing, textiles, fashion illustration and design classes. She has learned how to define the right target market for future products, and how to determine the best fabrics for the product using fiber characteristics while keeping pricing reasonable. Developing a marketing strategy with merchandising tools and products was also a very interesting part of the competition for Topchiy. She learned to make the design of the product comfortable, durable, and attractive.
Topchiy has graduated this May, and plans to create her own sustainable fashion brand. The brand will produce and sell vintage-inspired style apparel and accessories for women and children. Her brand will respect the law, support worldwide human rights, protect the environment, and provide benefits for local communities. She also plans to create a Charity Fund on behalf of her father to help protect the environment, help students, as well as people in hospices. Developing a new-based athletic wear line for the competition gave her excellent experience in working with sportswear and its target market. She says, “I definitely feel myself interested in developing a sportswear line for women and children in the future for my brand.”
Renea Wright is majoring in Design, Merchandising, and Textiles with minors in Apparel Design and Accounting. From this competition, Wright learned how to work together as a group to develop a design from start to finish. She learned how to develop a business model and merchandising strategy for a new product.
Wright has two more years of school and plans on using her degree to further her home sewing business. The skills she learned in this competition were very valuable and she has already used them in another class this semester where she had to develop a business plan, marketing strategy, and a presentation poster for a new sustainable business.
Optional Award Winner: Sponsored by Cotton Incorporated
Entries that choose to incorporate 75% or more of cotton in their apparel line were eligible for an additional US$500 sponsored prize from Cotton Incorporated. Impervious Apparel by Hannah Norum and Mylisa Krueger from Oregon State University was also the recipient of this award.
Thank you to the following developers and judges! Without their expertise and assistance, the Competition would not have been possible.
Mary Brannon, Apparel Technology Coordinator at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Sandy Johnson, Senior Account Manager at Color Solutions International/Dystar
Nora Khanna, Product Development Manager at Pantone
Kerry King, Vice President, R&D at Spoonflower Inc.
Muditha Senanayake, Associate Professor at California State Polytechnic University Pomona
Mark Sunderland, Director Academic Operations/Textile Engineer + Strategist, Philadelphia University
Alan Biggerstaff, Senior Manager Apparel QA/Color/Textile at Walmart
Lisa Cram, Director of Color at VF Outdoor
Megan Peterson, Director, Global Supply Chain Marketing at Cotton Incorporated
Shannon Redell, Sr. Materials Research Developer at Columbia Sportswear
Jennifer Rivas, Senior Technical Design Manager at Walmart
Sarah Simmons, Soft Goods Product Coordinator at Scotty Cameron
Scott Wagner, Fabric Manager, PD&S at Levi Strauss & Co.
Megan Wood, Manager Materials Apparel Development-Training at Adidas