CWU News

CWU Wins Best in Show Design for Third Consecutive Year

Central Washington University Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising (ATM) professor AndreaEmily Martin inspects her garment while professor Andrea Eklund watches Eklund and student designers Emily Martin and Maria Zepeda prove that two designers are better than one.

Two of their faculty-student co-designs were accepted into the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) blind peer design competition and one of the designs won Best in Show.

“To have two designs accepted shows the skills our students gain in the program and the high-quality work they produce,” Eklund said.

Both CWU designs were black full-length formal gowns.

The Eklund-Zepeda design has exposed shoulders, a bare midriff with ornate appliqué on the bodice, and flowing ruffles down the train.

The winning garment was a collaboration between Eklund and Martin, a recent ATM graduate. Their long-sleeved semi-transparent top with intentionally-positioned lace appliqué beat out approximately 35 designs at the competition from across the nation.

This is the third year in a row one of CWU’s accepted designs has won the best in show award. Eklund won last year for her versatile functional maternity coat and the prior year for a bridal inspired gown.

“I am proud to co-design the garments with the students, it keeps me relevant and allows me to mentor them one-on-one so they learn an abundance of new techniques,” Eklund said.
Martin and Zepeda both earned their bachelor of science in Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising and minors in Apparel Design. Martin graduated this past summer, Zepeda in the summer of 2017. 

During Eklund’s tenure, she has won numerous design awards—both national and international. As a professor she brings her talents into her teaching. The ATM program 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.

Visit the Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising web page to learn more about this creative and diverse program.

Media contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1484,