Apparel tour gives AMDT students industry edge

From corporate meeting rooms to working manufacturing floors, CAHNRS Dean André-Denis Wright and Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles chair Vicki McCracken talked with experts in the clothing and apparel industry on a tour around Seattle.

A man points at a board covered in clothing designs as 2 other people look at what he's pointing to.
Dean Wright and Vicki McCracken look at the spring 2020 designs for Unionbay, a clothing and apparel company based in Seattle.

The tour included chats with executives at Nordstrom, one of the largest clothing retailers in the world, and with the co-owners of Buki, a small clothing label focused on technologically advanced fabrics.

“It’s been fascinating to see the industry from behind the scenes, and, more importantly, it helps us better support our AMDT students” Wright said. “Our goal is to make sure WSU provides them with the best skills to succeed in a very competitive environment.”

At every stop, which also included the corporate headquarters for Unionbay and Filson, Wright and McCracken, along with fashion design and marketing instructor Jill Price-Crawley, asked about what the companies need from new graduates.

At two of the stops, the AMDT tour met with Coug alums now working in the industry.

The tour members got to see people designing next year’s shirts, dresses, and shorts at Unionbay, then moved on to watch union sewers making luggage and briefcases at Filson.

“It was great to see the different steps of the process, from designing to manufacturing, then learning about how products make their way to consumers,” Wright said. “I learned so much and hope our interest shows these companies how dedicated we are to making sure our students have the skills to help them from day one.”

4 people pose in front of a several shoes on two shelves behind them.
Dean Wright and McCracken stand in front of a vintage shoe collection at Nordstrom headquarters with two recent WSU AMDT graduates.