PULLMAN, Wash. – An innovative design for “stay put” swim wear has earned Washington State University student Tamara Hall a two-week internship with internationally renowned designer Zandra Rhodes in London.
Working with WSU Professor Carol Salusso, Hall earned one of just four undergraduate awards announced at this year’s International Textiles and Apparel Association Design Exhibition held in Bellevue earlier this semester. It is the first undergraduate award from ITAA WSU has received.
Salusso said the project entailed a combination of engineering and fabric choice. “Balancing appearance and function, which includes fit, is essential to great design,” she said.
As a summer lifeguard much of her life, Hall knows well the dangers of “wardrobe malfunctions” while on the job.
“When you have to dive into the water, it seems that either the top comes up or the bottoms come down,” she said. So, the senior majoring in apparel design worked with Salusso to design and develop a “monokini” bathing suit.
Hall focused first on fabric options, choosing a stretch cloth that allows some sun through to avoid drastic tan lines for the wearer. She then turned to structure.
“I went with a triangular shape for both fashion and fit,” she said. “It’s flattering for most figures and is more stable than a traditional one piece or two piece.”
She also tested a variety of buckles for the bottom part of the suit. The ones that worked best? “The kind that look like puzzle pieces that have to be twisted together,” Hall said.
Hall showed her swim suit at the annual WSU Moms Weekend Fashion Show last April. She was one of more than 30 students in the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences to receive an undergraduate research grant to conduct her work.