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Katie Crumpton ’09: Exploring Her Love for Fashion By Promoting the Use and Sustainability of Cotton

Katie Crumpton

By Kamilah Heslop

When you think of cotton, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s probably the fiber’s primary use in your clothing, bedding and towels. But, it can do so much more. Cotton seeds, for example, are used to create animal products, and cottonseed oil is added to delicious salad dressings and baked goods. 

As a member of Cotton Incorporated’s global supply chain marketing team, Katie (Banner) Crumpton ’09 is proud to highlight hundreds of additional uses for the natural fiber.

The first stop on Crumpton’s path to Cotton Incorporated was the Wilson College of Textiles where she studied textiles and apparel management. 

“I have always loved fashion, and I took sewing and fashion classes throughout high school,” she says. “I knew very little about the college until a Wilson College of Textiles graduate visited my chemistry class and spoke about the academic programs offered.” 

That introduction opened her eyes to a future that she didn’t think was possible. 

After graduating in 2009, she went to work for J. Crew and then Pandora. Following those positions, she joined Shawlsmith London, where she would eventually become the fashion and brand director. In that role, she coordinated with the company’s lead fashion designer to develop seasonal collections in addition to managing Shawlsmith London’s technological direction.

Crumpton thanks the Wilson College of Textiles for providing the skills needed for her to continue to advance in her career. “Learning textiles fundamentals, supply chain marketing and working on many group projects helped to shape my professional success,” she says. 

“I see the Wilson College of Textiles continuing their reputation of being the best textiles school in the nation and world.”

Her connection to her alma mater hasn’t waned. In 2019, she joined the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council (DYALC). Since joining, Crumpton has helped recruit a diverse group of young alumni to the council and worked alongside Dean David Hinks to improve the college. 

“I am very honored and excited to give back to my school and connect with fellow young alumni through this distinguished program,” she says.

To learn more about Crumpton’s career path and her passion for the DYALC, read her Q&A below. 

Degree B.S. Textiles and Apparel Management, 2009
(now Fashion and Textile Management)
Job Title Executive Account Manager, Global Marketing at Cotton Incorporated
Current City Raleigh, North Carolina
Hometown Raleigh, North Carolina

Please describe your current volunteer and leadership experience.

I have been a member of the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council (DYALC) for the last three years. On the council, I’ve served on the events committee and, most recently, on the executive committee as the communications co-chair. The DYALC provides leadership and guidance in the areas of alumni engagement and fundraising for the dean of the Wilson College of Textiles and the North Carolina Textile Foundation.

I am also fortunate to stay involved with the DYALC through my position at Cotton Incorporated. This may be through judging a competition or hosting student groups at our headquarters.

What activities were you involved in as an NC State student and how did they impact your experience?

I served on the planning committee for the Art2Wear fashion show. I also joined Sigma Kappa Sorority, where I served in leadership positions on the executive committee. I grew up in a big sports family — we specifically love NC State sports — so I really enjoyed attending football and basketball games. It was even better to cheer on the Pack as a student and not just as a fan!

Katie Crumpton and her husband at a recent football game
Katie Crumpton ’09 and her husband, Drew, are both proud NC State graduates and were happy to cheer on the Wolfpack during a recent football game.

What is your fondest memory of being at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles?

Some of my favorite memories at the Wilson College of Textiles were during group projects. I think we all have a love/hate relationship with group projects, but I found that they were a great way to get to know fellow classmates and collaborate with friends. I remember being especially proud of the sustainable store concept we created during our fashion merchandising class with former Wilson College instructor Fay Gibson. We named our store Nouvelle Vie, which means “a new life” in French.

What was your favorite place on campus and why?

I would have to say there is nothing better than a packed house at Carter-Finley Stadium on a Saturday afternoon!

Who influenced you most during your time at the Wilson College of Textiles? And why or how?

Dr. Nancy Cassill always went above and beyond to make sure her students had connectivity with the industry, which I think is one of the strongest things the Wilson College of Textiles offers.

How did your education at the Wilson College of Textiles prepare you for what you are doing today? 

I am fortunate enough to be working for a company that has great connectivity with the Wilson College of Textiles. In my eight years with Cotton Incorporated, I still find myself referencing concepts that I learned during my undergraduate years. It can be a yarn size conversion or the details of free trade agreements!

Have you been motivated to give back to the Wilson College of Textiles financially? If so, what led you to make that decision?

My husband and I are both graduates of NC State, and we find pleasure in giving back — both financially and through service — to the colleges that shaped us. I know the Wilson College of Textiles and the North Carolina Textile Foundation can only continue to grow and provide the best education for students by receiving financial support from alumni and friends of the college.

Describe your career path.

After graduating, I worked in the industry for a boutique accessories company for a few years before joining Cotton Incorporated. 

In my current role on Cotton Incorporated’s global supply chain marketing team, I work with brands and retailers throughout the United States to help meet all of their cotton needs. This includes fabric development, performance technology, technical education and sustainability goals.

What advice do you have for current Wilson College of Textiles students?

Get involved and enjoy your time on campus in and out of the classroom. The connections and relationships you build will help shape your career. It won’t feel like it while you are in it, but time really flies! Take the time to enjoy the community that this college has built.