PhilaU Textile Design Students Develop Innovative Designs for Sunbrella Fabric

Textile design graduate student Samantha Fletcher ’16 featured  melted PVC yarn in her first-place design.

Textile design graduate student Samantha Fletcher ’16 featured melted PVC yarn in her first-place design.

Philadelphia University textile students developed aesthetically pleasing and innovative solutions using Sunbrella fabrics for a recent design challenge presented by Glen Raven Custom Fabrics and Sunbury Textile Mills.

Textile design graduate student Samantha Fletcher ’16 earned first place for her innovative approach that featured melted PVC yarn.

“My process is to play with the materials, push the limits of the yarn and change it in a really unique way,” said Fletcher, whose design reminiscent of lace was based on the concept of collective memories. “It’s gratifying to win first place in this competition because this is the type of work I love doing.”

Second place went to industrial design graduate student Valerie Gibbins ’17 for her design influenced by street art. Third place went to textile materials technology junior Jessica Newman for her design based on bone cell patterns.

“It’s really joyous to be recognized, especially by judges from within the industry,” Gibbins said. “I have been sewing my whole life, but I’ve really immersed myself in textile design this past year. I hope to combine my interest in industrial design with my passion for textiles, and winning second place in this competition validates my efforts.”

Honorable mentions went to textile design graduate students Nyasha Chivaura ’16 and Becky Flax ’17 and surface imaging graduate student Yi-Chun Liu ’17.

Industrial design graduate student Valerie Gibbins ’17 won second place for her design influenced by street art.

Industrial design graduate student Valerie Gibbins ’17 won second place for her design influenced by street art.

The students’ designs were judged on criteria including color, pattern, scale, creative materials, technical execution, end use, originality and innovation.

The competition, which launched in 2014, has also served as a career pathway for some students. After 2014 graduate Emily Weiss won second place in the first Glen Raven/Sunbury competition, she went on to intern at Glen Raven and has since joined its design team. “My best advice to students would be to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there,” Weiss said.

Industry judges in this year’s competition included Andy Kahnke, director of trade and retail sales for DEDON Inc.; Liora Manne, designer and owner of Lamontage/Liora Manne; Tracy Greene, style/design manager at Glen Raven; Kathy Remsa, senior designer at Sunbury; and Patricia Hoffman, manager for corporate and ecommerce web initiatives for Thibaut.

“By bringing in judges from within the industry, we further widen the circle of connections our students can make,” said Marcia Weiss, PhilaU’s director of textile design and Harold Neuman Textile Design Chair. “We couldn’t be more pleased with this partnership and are so proud of the talent we’re producing.”

Glen Raven benefits from the partnership by being exposed to a wide of variety of perspectives, said Tracy Greene, style/design manager. “It’s interesting to see a new take on our materials, where students are allowed to weave and finish textiles creating art rather than designing for a specific commercial market. We’re here to help educate the students, but really, they’re educating and inspiring us.”

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