Fashion Design Senior Kaitlyn Doherty Wins People’s Choice and First Runner Up at ‘Project OR’ Competition

Fashion design senior Kaitlyn Doherty was named the winner of the People’s Choice Award and first runner-up at the 2010 Summer Market “Project OR,” a 48-hour concept-to-prototype, student design competition meant to inspire innovative summer outdoor fashion, at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah, from August 3 to 6.

Doherty’s insulated outerwear jacket, “Easy Rider,” reflected the design brief’s charge to create a fashionable, yet functional, cruiser cycling jacket that could easily transition from day to night. “We also had to incorporate sustainability by using eco-friendly fabrics that were water repellent,” Doherty noted.

“My inspiration was my aunt who rides her bike at the beach during the summer,” she added. “I thought about what she would want in a jacket in terms of design and functionality.”

Doherty’s first runner-up place was presented by the competition judges, while the People’s Choice Award was based on the industry professionals’ – including designers, apparel and textile manufacturers and retailers – votes who attended the Outdoor Retailer trade show. The People’s Choice Award was announced Aug.9 following the trade show.

Doherty’s “Easy Rider” design included water-resistant fabrics from Schoeller, Hyperbola and King Tech, YKK water-resistant zippers and ITW Nexus cord locks.

“We are extremely proud of Kaitlyn,” said Clara Henry, fashion design program director. “She is a talented designer, hardworking and self-motivated, and always receptive to new ideas.”

“My design and sewing professors definitely helped prepare me for this competition,” Doherty said. “They taught me construction techniques that I was able to use to create the jacket.”

Doherty’s involvement at Philadelphia University helped better prepare her for the competition. As a fashion design major and an intern for the Laboratory for Engineered Human Protection (LEHP) at Philadelphia University, she has worked closely with fashion design faculty and works with the head designer at LEHP as well as the garment-team leader and other team members learning outerwear jacket and pant performance, comfort, construction, fit and durability for military application.

“I’ve had a lot of practice and gained valuable insights constructing outerwear garments during my internship with LEHP,” Doherty added.

“Kaitlyn’s advanced knowledge and understanding was a tremendous asset during this competition,” said John Venafro, LEHP garment team designer and Kaitlyn’s internship mentor, who was her chaperone on the trip. “It was wonderful to see her achieve such success and receive the People’s Choice Award from many industry experts in attendance at the trade show.”

Philadelphia University’s fashion design program participated in this invitation only industry event for the second competition in a row. Doherty was one of six students selected to participate in the fifth “Project OR” competition. The other students were from the University of Minnesota; Washington State University; University of Alabama; Cal State University, Northridge; and Fashion Institute of Technology.

Also representing Philadelphia University at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market was “Project OR” Winter 2010 winner Faith Anderson ’10, who now designs hydration packs and reflective accessories for Nathan Sports. As part of winning the last competition, Anderson was on site providing insights and advice to this year’s competitors. Anderson was also an intern at LEHP while a student at PhilaU.

“All of the contestants did an excellent job, especially given the challenging design brief that required them to create a garment that was just as fashionable as it was functional,” said Pam Theodosakis, co-founder and design director of PrAna and head judge of “Project OR.”

The competition panel of designers and industry trendsetters included Theodosakis; Alan Yiu, vice president, creative director and founder of Westcomb Outerwear, Inc.; Rita Nakouzi, director of Promostyl; Skip Yowell, co-founder of JanSport; and Jason Older, co-founder of Sid Factor 7.

Participating suppliers for “Project OR” included Brookwood, Cotton Inc., DuPont Sorona, Hyperbola, INVISTA- CORDURA, King Tech Industry, and Polartec LLC, YKK (USA) Inc.

Show attendees followed the students’ progress throughout the 48 hours on the show floor and via several live online episodes on the “OR” web site. “OR” is the leading outdoor industry business-to-business event-management company, bringing together manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of outdoor recreation – gathering approximately 40,000 attendees on a semi-annual basis for its Winter and Summer Market shows.

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