Students Win Cotton Inc. Interdisciplinary Design Challenge

Students competed in a semester-long, interdisciplinary design competition sponsored by Cotton Inc. in which they created original products by recycling, repurposing and reinventing existing cotton items into new products.

The competition, called “Recycled Cotton: Past Becomes Future,” consisted of five teams with a total of 15 students from the fields of Fashion Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design and Textile Design.  Students, all juniors and seniors, were chosen for the competition by faculty members from each discipline.

At a presentation Nov. 25, the students were judged on how well they incorporated technological advancements and the biodegradable quality of cotton into their products.  Their work included fabric samples, CAD productions, informative poster boards and more.

“The innovative concepts and designs by these students is a testament to the collaborative learning these students experience,” said Marcia Weiss, assistant professor of Textile Design, who wrote the proposal for Cotton Inc. and spearheaded the competition.

First place was awarded to team members Lisa Ault, Textile Design; Crystal Russell, Interior Design; and Eric Holzer, Industrial Design, for their project entitled “Rooom,” a home office division system that used reclaimed donated bed sheets.  The team shared a $3,000 award.

Second place was awarded to two teams. Audra Moyer, Interior Design; Carin Sauerwein, Textile Design; and Robin Kralik, Fashion Design, created a product called “Cotton-Structor,” a set of interchangeable building blocks for children made primarily from recycled cotton.

The other second-place team included Alexandra Nelson, Textile Design; Krystie Kocsi, Fashion Design; and April Deley, Industrial Design, who presented a planter/lamp combination called “Cotton Bright and Green Light.”  The lamp shade was made from post-consumer cotton and all major components of the lamp were eco-friendly and sustainable. The two teams shared a second-place prize of $500 per student.

Competition judges included Lauren Baumbach, associate professor of Interior Design; Hy Zelkowitz, adjunct professor of Industrial Design; Stuart Fineman, visiting associate professor of design foundations; Janet Brady, associate professor of Textile Technology; and Jan O’Regan of Cotton Inc.’s supply chain management division.

The project required students to research modern fabric-finishing technologies and the sustainability of cotton to create innovative designs. The educational grant from Cotton Inc. is designed to educate the next generation of design professionals in the myriad uses of cotton in products.

Top photo captions:  First-place awardees Lisa Ault, Crystal Russell and Eric Holzer pose with part of their “Rooom” design.

Middle photo caption: Second place was awarded to Carin Sauerwein, Audra Moyer and Robin Kralik for their “Cotton-Structor” product.

Bottom photo caption: Second place was awarded to Alexandra Nelson, April Deley and Krystie Kocsi for their “Cotton Bright and Green Light” concept.

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