“It went really well,” said Apparel, Merchandising, and Textiles student Casey Stannard about Project OR, a student design competition that debuted at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. ”I placed runner up and was able to make some excellent contacts in the industry.”
Stannard and the other four competitors “were challenged to create a women’s garment that was innovative and attractive for the outdoor industry,” she said. They were given 48 hours to do so.
“When I got the assignment I drew a complete blank and couldn’t come up with anything. Eventually I decided to use the idea of the rolling hills of the Palouse for my basic aesthetic. I started with a vest design, but after hearing the judges’ critiques, decided to create a jacket. The idea of zip-up cuffs on the sleeves came to me after thinking about the things that annoy me about my coats.”
And there was more to the experience than just the competition. “I did tons of networking and made great connections, learned about an area of the industry that has great growth which I hadn’t really considered before, and also made some really great friends with the other contestants.”
Project OR was a great opportunity – and above all, it proved to be fun. “It was a blast!” said Stannard. “I just loved seeing the booths and how they were merchandised. Seeing the newest products was really cool. And the free stuff rocked! I got to meet the heads of so many important companies that I’m still in shock. In fact, the co-founder of JanSport was one of our judges, and after the competition we got to go to the JanSport booth and pick out a bag.”
All the networking – not to mention placing runner-up in the first ever design competition hosted by Outdoor Retailer, the biggest trade show of its kind – will undoubtedly be beneficial in the future. “I think I have some good prospects for jobs when I finish school this fall!”
Watch a series of seven videos about Project OR here.