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FTD: Emerging Designers Showcase Delivers Creativity and Innovation

Wilson College Campus

Written by Elena Durvas

On May 5, hundreds of guests including students, faculty and families, flocked to the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on NC State’s Centennial Campus to attend the Wilson College of TextilesFTD Emerging Designers Showcase, an opportunity for 15 seniors in Fashion and Textile Design to reveal the collections they have created. Launched in 2011, the Fashion and Textile Design program combines art and science to prepare its students for a competitive career in the textile industry. Admission is selective and this year’s class is only the second graduating class.

“The fashion and textile design program is structured to provide students with a comprehensive course of study that develops their aesthetic, technical, functional and expressive skills,” said Nancy Webster, adjunct associate professor in the Wilson College of Textiles’ Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, who worked with the students. “These all form the foundation for a variety of positions within the global textile design complex.”

Over the past semester, the students designed and compiled their collections by applying techniques they have learned in past classes. “This is just a mix of everything that we’ve learned over our past four years as FTD students so from weaving to printing, sewing, painting, anything you could think about,” said Kayla Cook, designer and textile design major. “We wanted to incorporate a little bit of everything.”

Cook and her partner McCall Moore collaborated on a home interior collection entitled “Reflections,” which focused on natural and man-made metallics. Textile design students displayed their collections in a static exhibition set up inside Hunt Library on the way into the theater where the runway show commenced.

On the other side, fashion design students spent the semester creating garments ready to be modeled on the runway. This required extensive interaction with models and learning how to create a cohesive, consistent collection.

All students’ collections were titled and the designers had the opportunity to provide inspiration and backstory. For Ford Bowden, his collection reflected an alternate world. “It’s inspired by a group of ancient philosophers called Epicureans,” said Bowden. “I envisioned that they survived the eruption of mount Vesuvius and have been living in secrecy ever since.”

The event’s guest of honor was William Ivey Long, a six-time Tony Award winning costume designer and Raleigh native. Long emphasized his appreciation for the fusion of imagination and technology that is unique to NC State. “What you do have and what is totally evident right now is the value of the interaction of art, technology, and commerce,” said Long. “This is extraordinary.”

Unlike years in the past, this year designers decided to allot the money that usually goes to the first, second and third prize-winning students to allow Long to visit and to increase the amount of resources to create their collections. “They wanted us to take the money we would normally give as first, second and third prizes and commit those to their design resources and also to having someone here this evening who had industry design professional notoriety,” said Webster.

The designers were:


Static Exhibit

Show sponsors included: the Wilson College of Textiles, Glen Raven, Hanesbrands, Ralph Lauren, Shima Seiki, Springs Creative and Welspun USA.