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Central Washington University

CWU Professor Wins International Fashion Design Competition


December 3, 2012

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Andrea Eklund, Central Washington University professor of Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising, won the Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Business Award for Sustainable Design—Professional Level at the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) conference. The competition is a rigorous, double-blind, juried exhibition—only 139 designs were accepted into the competition out of 374 submitted.

ITAA is a professional, educational association composed of scholars, educators, and students in the textile, apparel, and merchandising disciplines in higher education.

Eklund’s dress design, “G.I. Jane,” recycled used military uniforms. “I was honored that a friend–a CWU graduate and veteran—from whom I received the fatigues, would allow me to repurpose them, considering they were worn during active duty in Iraq.

“The goal was to create a garment that combined the masculine aspects of the military and war with the feminine side of women,” said Eklund. “Throughout the process I became increasingly interested in the digicam print of the uniform. The digicam print uses small micropatterns that from far way blurs the edges making the wearer more camouflaged than traditional large patterned camo.”

Keeping various components of the original garment details intact was a very important part of creating the garment. Eklund wanted to create a feminine garment but keep the basic details, design lines and aesthetics of the original uniform intact. The pockets, patches, neckline, and cuffs were all redesigned to be proportionate to a woman’s figure.

Three jackets and two pairs of pants were used to create the final garment, which had nine bodice pieces and 18 skirt pieces. The dress has a fitted bodice, long sleeves, and a full skirt that tapers to the waist without gathers. The skirt was designed to mimic the digicam print with its sharp square angles. The back of the dress features a dramatic cutout from neck to waist.

“I’m very excited about winning this competition,” said Eklund, who has 15 years of apparel industry experience and has been the program coordinator and professor of the Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising program for six years. Eklund’s design students also submitted original designs in the ITAA student competition and, for the past five years, she has had up to three student designs accepted each year.

During Eklund’s tenure, the program has shown a 170 percent growth in enrollment and has a strong industry connection with the robust apparel industry in the Pacific Northwest, which has many apparel corporate headquarters located between Everett and Portland. Seattle is the seventh largest apparel manufacturing center in the United States and the fourth largest in fashion design jobs.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu
The model in the photo is CWU student Monisha Watkins