Every year since 2009, local nonprofit Activate Good has hosted a charity fashion show “Couture for a Cause”. The show pairs emerging, local fashion designers with Activate Good nonprofit partners. Designers are tasked with creating two unique looks, one ready-to-wear and one couture, that represent their partner organizations. More than half of all participating designers have ties to the Wilson College of Textiles.

We had the opportunity to speak with two of those designers, Morgan Wilkins and Jitong Li, about their collections, experience and more.

Jitong Li was paired with the National Inclusion Project, which bridges the gap between children with disabilities and the world around them. Li enjoys her pairing because of “the opportunity for me to help children with my technology and skills”.

With a collection inspired by this organization, Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management graduate student Li drew upon the words “fun” and “friendship” and expressing that inspiration through colorful digital printing with embroidery. In her two years at NC State, courses in digital printing, laser cutting and embroidery have helped prepare Li for this opportunity.

Morgan Wilkins, a Fashion and Textile Design major, teams up with Dress for Success Raleigh, which serves underemployed and unemployed women in the Triangle by providing tools of professional development to help them thrive in the workplace and in life. Wilkins balances traditional and non-traditional business attire in her collection to illustrate the mission statement.

“I used the colors of the nonprofit by color-blocking and creating a more interesting business look that still captures the tailored, crisp look of a business suit.” She credits NC State with preparing her for this moment by helping her learn, “to take chances with my designs even if I’m unsure of how they will come together in the end” and still balancing proper planning and prototyping.

If you’d like to see more of our students’ designs, be sure to check out the show this Saturday, November 5, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center. Tickets are still available.

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