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Sir Walter Raleigh, Who Are You Wearing?

Sir Walter Raleigh statue in textile garment project

By Erin Egan, Fashion and Textile Design student

The Wilson College of Textiles at NC state University is eagerly preparing to serve as the first official academic partner for Techtextil North America 2019, an annual trade event dedicated to the technical textiles and nonwovens industry. In conjunction with this event, Wilson College senior Carly Kvietok has been preparing a project of her own: a unique textile garment to dress the Sir Walter Raleigh statue outside of the Raleigh Convention Center. Her work will be installed for display throughout the major textile event, which will take place February 26-28.

Carly Kvietok  with Sir Walter Raleigh statue in textile garment project

Kvietok, a Park Scholar from Denver, Colorado, is studying Fashion and Textile Design. She began her textile career as a child, learning how to sew in order to make clothes for her American Girl doll. She went on to participate in a number of design competitions throughout middle and high school before even considering a career in fashion. When applying to colleges, she saw the Wilson College of Textiles, and specifically a major in Fashion and Textile Design, as a program that would open the door to a variety of opportunities, rather than boxing her into one particular career path. Being raised by chemists, she feels that her thought processes have been heavily influenced by scientific methods, so she found Wilson College’s emphasis on technical processes along with creativity in design very appealing. After earning the opportunity to join the incoming class of Park Scholars, Kvietok’s choice was clear.

Since beginning her college career, Kvietok has been an incredible contributor to the textile community by participating in and leading a number exciting projects from pillowcases for patients at UNC Children’s Hospital to battling textile waste through entrepreneurship. Most recently, she has joined the Nano-EXtended Textiles (NEXT) Research group, led by Associate Professor of Textiles Jess Jur. The group is focused on integrating nanotechnology, especially electronics, into textile products. While Kvietok’s expertise in garment construction has been a major asset to the team, her participation has also inspired her vision of the role technology can play in fashion and textiles. This vision is something Carly wants to share with others through her design for Sir Walter Raleigh.

Sir Walter Raleigh statue at night with lights

Recognizing this installation as a unique opportunity to publicly display her work, Carly was determined to create something fun and exciting to share with Techtextil and the Raleigh community. Her inspiration comes from a form of street art that’s referred to as “yarn bombing.” The trend has been spreading bright colors to urban spaces as artists knit or crochet directly onto objects like bike racks, fire hydrants, and trees. Kvietok wanted to bring this unique artform to life in a new way by creating a jacquard knit fabric using Wilson College’s circular knitting machines. She created bold panels in patterns resembling camouflage, using NC State red and gray. She then stitched them together to form a covering for the statue, featuring electroluminescent (EL) wire along the seams. EL wire resembles a glow stick, emitting light from a flexible plastic tube. Sir Walter’s threads will light up in the evening, a feature which Kvietok hopes will spark curiosity about wearable technology and innovation in textiles. She’s excited to share some of what she’s learned through this incredible project!

Come join Wilson College of Textiles and Techtextil in discovering the innovation and technology in the textile industry at Techtextil North America, and don’t miss the opportunity to see Kvietok’s incredible installation at the Raleigh Convention Center!