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Choose Cotton

By Katelyn Karney

Cotton Incorporated Tour Picture

All of the winners from Cotton and Denim Runway 2013 pose for a picture at Cotton Incorporated’s world headquarters in Cary, North Carolina.

From the time a fashion design is conceived until it hits store shelves, designers have multiple decisions to make regarding color schemes, style and fabric type. PCCA along with Cotton Council International (CCI) and Cotton Incorporated sponsor a design contest called Cotton and Denim Runway as a way to introduce students at Texas Tech University to the many advantages of using cotton and denim in the fashion industry. The contest is held in collaboration with the Department of Design’s Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM) program, and planning for the 2014 contest is underway.

“Cotton and Denim Runway is a great platform for reaching the next generation of fashion designers,” said PCCA President and CEO Wally Darneille. “Through this competition, students who may know little about cotton or denim can gain a better understanding of the usability and versatility of cotton in fashion.”

The design contest features numerous categories students can compete in. Categories include men’s and women’s jeans, a casual wear category and a trend board division. Students who sign up for the contest are introduced to the lifecycle of cotton from field to fashion. Approximately 25 freshman students enrolled in the ADM program toured Lubbock Cotton Growers Gin on Nov. 12, 2013. They were able to see everything from the module coming off the truck to bales of cotton being pressed. None of the students were from a farming background, and this was their first time to visit a gin. The students will continue to learn about cotton leading up to the next Cotton and Denim Runway contest.

“Throughout the process, students are always very engaged in learning about cotton for their design and production development projects,” said Su Shin, Ph.D., Associate Professor and ADM Program Director. “Texas Tech, the ADM program and I appreciate PCCA, CCI and Cotton Incorporated for their support.”

Winners of the most recent Cotton and Denim Runway were announced in April 2013 during the annual TECHstyle Senior Fashion Show. Caitlin Moore, a senior from Rowlett, Texas, won the men’s jeans category with a design for the casual market. Starting with natural colored denim provided by the American Cotton Growers denim mill at Littlefield, Texas, Moore hand washed and dyed the fabric gray. She described her design as “straight fitted legs with clean and simple lines and minimal embellishments.” Katelyn Ortiz, a senior from Lubbock, and Lana Stevens, a junior from Austin, Texas, placed second and third, respectively, in the men’s jeans category.

Elaine Morton, a sophomore from Plano, Texas, won the women’s jeans category with a design she described as “an easy statement piece to fit any style.” Her design featured leather panels and leather pockets. Caitlin Moore placed second in the category. Emma Knowles, a senior from Matador, Texas, and Jocelin Villarreal, a senior from Rio Grande City, Texas, tied for third place.

Emily Taylor, a senior from Midland, Texas, took first place in the casual wear category where contestants could design any garment made from 100 percent cotton. Taylor entered a white dress that featured cotton guipure floral lace and cotton poplin. Cynthia Reimer, a senior from Lubbock, won second place, and Alicia McDonald, a senior from Lubbock, and Lisa Hon, a sophomore from Lubbock, tied for third place.

Taylor also won the Cotton Research/Trend Board category. Placing second in the category was Katelyn Ortiz, and Meghan Rizkal, a senior from Colleyville, Texas, placed third.

Moore and Morton, winners of both jeans categories won a trip to visit Cotton Incorporated’s consumer marketing headquarters in New York City. During their time in NYC they met with the staff at Cotton Incorporated and discussed the structure of the company, fashion trends, and career advice. From there, Morton and Moore met up with winners from the other categories to tour Cotton Incorporated’s world headquarters in Cary, North Carolina.

“It was evident that the tour of Cotton Incorporated’s facilities benefited the students,” said Shin. “It provided insight to the use of cotton fiber and its influence in the apparel and textile industry.”