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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Virginia Jackson ITMA Design Competition

This year many Philadelphia University Textile Design students chose to participate in the ITMA Virginia Jackson Design Competition. With great pride we'd like to congratulate Nina de Vassal and Ananya Bevinakatti on their winning designs.

Nina de Vassal, graduate print design student won 1st place in the print contest. 


Shrimp was inspired by the Carolina Low Country. Fisherman’s nets churn the ocean revealing this Southern delicacy. The colors were inspired by the charming, breezy facades of the antebellum homes in downtown Charleston. Airy and cheerful, “Shrimp” is perfect for a summer escape.


Ananya Bevinakatti, graduate weave design student won 2nd in the jacquard contest.


The intention for this jacquard was to create a tranquil, thoughtful and fluid textile, to invoke the natural spirit of traditional ceramics and their glazing process, which it’s inspired by. The chair aspires to inspire - be a serene space that stirs creativity. The waves, whirls and movement welcome to ones own imaginative interpretation. It is a textile that aims to embody and encourage simplicity and humility – the very soul of the earth and the fibers we use to create our crafts.

Congratulations again!

Posted in Ananya Bevinakatti, High Point Market Place, ITMA 2016, Nina de Vassal, print design, Virginia Jackson Design Competition, weave | Comments Off

Virginia Jackson ITMA Design Competition

This year many Philadelphia University Textile Design students chose to participate in the ITMA Virginia Jackson Design Competition. With great pride we'd like to congratulate Nina de Vassal and Ananya Bevinakatti on their winning designs.

Nina de Vassal, graduate print design student won 1st place in the print contest. 


Shrimp was inspired by the Carolina Low Country. Fisherman’s nets churn the ocean revealing this Southern delicacy. The colors were inspired by the charming, breezy facades of the antebellum homes in downtown Charleston. Airy and cheerful, “Shrimp” is perfect for a summer escape.


Ananya Bevinakatti, graduate weave design student won 2nd in the jacquard contest.


The intention for this jacquard was to create a tranquil, thoughtful and fluid textile, to invoke the natural spirit of traditional ceramics and their glazing process, which it’s inspired by. The chair aspires to inspire - be a serene space that stirs creativity. The waves, whirls and movement welcome to ones own imaginative interpretation. It is a textile that aims to embody and encourage simplicity and humility – the very soul of the earth and the fibers we use to create our crafts.

Congratulations again!

Posted in Ananya Bevinakatti, High Point Market Place, ITMA 2016, Nina de Vassal, print design, Virginia Jackson Design Competition, weave | Comments Off

PhilaU Architecture Students Present Train Station Design Plans: WHYY Newsworks

Philadelphia University architecture students recently presented their plans to redesign the East Falls train station–including options for food, drink and fitness–to SEPTA officials, community members and others, WHYY Newsworks reported May 23.

The architecture students, with the help of two occupational therapy students, had to envision the current and future roles of the train station, including meeting the needs of those with disabilities at a challenging site, for the semester-long project in collaboration with SEPTA and East Falls Development Corp.

“It’s really great to see the students get involved in that kind of context, where they understand design as being a result of a collaborative project,” said David Kratzer, associate professor architecture.

After seeing the students’ designs, SEPTA project architect Warren Williams said, “this is an exciting way to challenge our ideas and status quo.”

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Architecture Alumnus Designs Winning Parklet: Philly Voice

Recent architecture graduate Alex Klohr designed a winning parklet–in the space of a parking spot–as part of a design competition sponsored by the American Institute of Architects and Saint-Gobain, Philly Voice reported May 20. The parklet won the people’s choice award.

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PhilaU Textile Students Design Innovative Products for Sunbrella: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Casual Living

Philadelphia University textile design students developed innovative new uses for Sunbrella fabrics as part of a competition sponsored by Sunbury Textile Mills and Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Casual Living and other news outlets.

Graduate student Samantha Fletcher was awarded first place for her innovative, limit-pushing approach which featured melted PVC yarn. Second place went to industrial design graduate student Valerie Gibbins for her design influenced by street art, and third-place winner Jessica Newman, a junior, was noted for her design based on bone-cell patterns. Honorable mentions were presented to Becky Flax, Nyasha Chivaura and Yi-Chun Liu.

The story also was published by the Albany Times Union, San Antonio Express-News and Stamford Advocate.

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Science Center CEO Speaks at PhilaU Commencement: Technically Philly

Philadelphia University awarded an honorary doctorate to University City Science Center President and CEO Stephen Tang at the May 14 Commencement ceremony, where Tang told graduates, “There is no progress without risk, and there is no risk without failure. Progress and growth lead to the opportunities to reinvent ourselves and our lives,” Technically Philly reported May 20.

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No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: Alumni Lunch with Karma Agency

Professor and Program Director Frank Baseman recently visited Karma Agency at their Center City Philadelphia headquarters. Shout out to all of the PhilaU Graphic Design alums workin' hard at this great agency: Ali Casey Haegele (PhilaU GDC, 2007); Ali Doucette (PhilaU GDC, 2013); Tabitha Ahnert (PhilaU GDC, 2015); and Kelsey Veurink (PhilaU GDC, 2015).

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PhilaU Fashion Program Among Tops in World: CEOWorld Magazine

Philadelphia University has been ranked in the top 50 fashion schools in the world by CEOWorld Magazine. The magazine ranked PhilaU’s fashion program 45th overall, based on academic reputation, employer reputation, quality of teaching and diversity, in its just-released ranking of the top 100 programs worldwide.

CEOWorld, aimed at top-level executives, surveyed former students, fashion houses, fashion recruitment consultants, fashion designers, and industry professionals to calculate the rankings.

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Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, Sunbury Textile Mills Ask Students ‘What’s Next?’ in Philadelphia University Textile Design Competition

Biennial Competition Aids in the Search for the Next Generation of Textile Designers 

      For the second time in three years, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics and Sunbury Textile Mills have joined forces in the search for the next generation of talent in textile design. Hosting a competition with the Textile Design program at Philadelphia University, the two companies asked students to imagine the future of Sunbrella® fabrics, answering the question, ‘What’s next?’
     
     “What’s great about this partnership with Sunbury and the university is that we are exposed to a group of students that have completely different perspectives,” said Tracy Greene, style/design manager at Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. “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 are here to help educate the students, but really they are educating and inspiring us.”

      The competition, which launched in 2014, quickly proved to be a way for Glen Raven to interact with prospective employees. Emily Weiss, whose design featured a blue/green color
palette ideal for a beach home, took second place in the inaugural textile design and went on to intern with Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. She has since been hired on to the design team.
     “It’s such a cool experience being on the other side of the table this time around,” Weiss said. “I know from my experience how much work goes into this project, and it has most certainly paid off for me. I’m so glad to be part of the Sunbrella design team, and couldn’t have imagined back then where I’d be now. My best advice to students would be to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there.”

Samantha Fletcher 1st place submission, photo courtesy of Sunbrella® 

     In this year’s competition, graduate student Samantha Fletcher was awarded first place in a unanimous decision for her innovative, limit-pushing approach which 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.”
Judges from left to right Liora Manne, Patricia Hoffman, Kathy Remsa, Tracy Greene, and Andy Kahnke

Judges from the industry 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.
     “Samantha’s design was an inventive response to the inherent properties of Sunbrella yarn,” Hoffman said. “Visually it is rich and interesting, and her story about collective memories made me relook at the fabric and see it in a whole new light. Her design inspires me to ask ‘How can I push beyond what has already been done?’ as I create fabric for real world applications.”
Valerie Gibbins 2nd place submission, photo courtesy of Sunbrella®

Second place was awarded to graduate student Valerie Gibbins for her design influenced by street art. Third-place winner Jessica Newman, a junior, was noted for her design based on bone cell patterns. Honorable mentions were presented to Becky Flax, Nyasha Chivaura and Yi-Chun Liu, all using materials in new ways, predicting the future of Sunbrella fabrics.
Jessica Newman 3rd place submission, photo courtesy of Sunbrella®

     “It’s really joyous to be recognized, especially by judges from within the industry,” said Gibbins, who is studying industrial design but has delayed her master’s thesis to study textile design. “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.”
     Jessica Newman hopes her third-place win keeps her on track to one day pursue her dream of product development for sportswear.“I’m really surprised and honored to have won third place,” Newman said. “I did a lot of experimenting with PVC yarns to get to my final product. I’m fascinated by how technology can change the products we use every day, so this was a really fun project to work on.”
Yi-Chun Liu honorable mention submission, photo courtesy of Sunbrella®

     The students’ designs were judged on a number of criteria: color, pattern, appropriate scale, creative materials, appropriate hand, technical execution, appropriate end use, originality and innovation.
     “I like designs that push people; designs that you’re not sure if they are ugly or pretty,” Kahnke said. “When I have a strong reaction to something, it often means it spoke to me, and I appreciate the unexpected. What I enjoyed most about judging this competition was seeing the level of detail and precision, and how the students interpreted the challenge in vastly different ways.”
Becky Flax honorable mention submission, photo courtesy of Sunbrella®

     The winners were announced at Philadelphia University on May 10 and their entries placed on display.
     “I loved how the students explored the material,” Manne said. “The creativity displayed is inspiring. I was especially attracted to the various treatments of the yarns that created new textures, translucency and complex details. Their imaginations ran wild with this project and I really enjoyed speaking with the students about their designs.”
     Kathy Remsa, who served as a judge on behalf of partner Sunbury, holds the university close to her heart, as she was a master’s student there 15 years ago.
     “My time at Philadelphia University was so valuable,” Remsa said. “As an alumnus, I want to give back and help educate the next generation of textile designers. It’s a great opportunity for us and Glen Raven to connect with the students and provide valuable advice for their careers.”
     Continuing in its tradition of recruiting competition entrants, Glen Raven will bring on honorable mention winner Nyasha Chivaura as a design intern this summer.
Nyasha Chivaura honorable mention submission, photo courtesy of Sunbrella®
“Emily and Nyasha are fantastic success stories exemplifying how we connect our students with industry leaders,” said Marcia Weiss, director of the Fashion and Textiles Futures Center at Philadelphia University, no relation to Emily Weiss. “By bringing in judges from within the industry, we further widen the circle of connections our students can make. We couldn’t be more pleased with this partnership and are so proud of the talent we are producing.”


About Sunbrella Fabrics
Sunbrella has revolutionized the way the world thinks about how beautiful fabrics look, feel and perform. With an inspired palette of colors, styles and textures, premium Sunbrella fabric gives consumers, designers and architects the material they need to create the extraordinary in marine, shade, residential/upholstery, commercial and contract applications.
Versatile in style and function, Sunbrella fabrics create welcoming spaces indoors and out, offering durability, fade resistance and ease of cleaning. They also offer peace of mind; Sunbrella fabrics have achieved GREENGUARD GOLD certification as contributing to healthy indoor air quality.
Introduced in 1961, Sunbrella fabrics are manufactured and marketed by Glen Raven, Inc., a 135-year-old family-owned company based in North Carolina with operations worldwide. For more information on Sunbrella, including inspiration, fabric collections and where to buy, visit sunbrella.com.


About Sunbury Textile Mills
Sunbury Textile Mills was founded in 1954. It was purchased from the Susquehanna Silk Mills, a silk tie manufacturer which built the original manufacturing complex in 1890. A more modern facility was erected in 1970, housing today’s modern looms and manufacturing equipment while also keeping the original saw-tooth roof, an architectural signature from the turn of the century. Our sales and creative design offices are located in a historic, cast iron building dating back to 1861 in the vibrant neighborhood of SoHo in New York City.
Sunbury has always operated at the present manufacturing site in Sunbury, Pennsylvania and is one of the only mills of its type that continues to manufacture 100% of its products in the United States of America. In 2004 Sunbury Textile Mills became an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company and is owned 100% for the benefit of all the employees’ retirements. The company employs multigenerational families that carry on the art of weaving with an average tenure of 20 years of design and weaving expertise. Sunbury boasts a reputation for excellence in product quality, superior design and unsurpassed levels of customer service as a market leader in the design and manufacture of decorative jacquard fabrics for the world market.
Posted in "What's Next" Textile Innovation, future of textiles, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, innovative textiles, jacquard, Sunbrella 2016, Sunbury Textile Mills, textile competition, weaving | Comments Off