Alycia Gillaspie, a Middle Tennessee State University senior from Murfreesboro, has defeated four competitors from colleges across the country in a contest to design the best outdoor winter garment.
Alycia Gillaspie, an MTSU senior from Murfreesboro, stands next to the award-winning jacket she designed Jan. 26, 2013, at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo courtesy of MTSU News)
Gillaspie, an apparel design major who works part time at Hancock Fabrics, won the “Project OR — Cycle 10” challenge at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, which took place last week in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“I was shocked and almost cried,” Gillaspie said. “I felt overwhelmingly excited and very, very proud.”
The students were limited to 48 hours in which to create a garment suitable for outdoor activities using materials and products from businesses on the floor of the exhibition. The garments were judged by a panel of design, supplier and manufacturer industry professionals.
“During the 48 hours, I only slept a total of six hours,” she said. “I stayed awake with coffee and determination.”
Gillaspie’s garment, a back country ski jacket, features fully separating side zipper vents, which are important for ventilation and allow the wearer to remove her pants without removing her boots.
Other features include a high-low hem, which is higher in the front than in the back for skiing comfort, and a pass-through pocket, which is open at both ends, for storing a safety beacon near the upper chest.
There are large zipper pockets behind pleat details at the abdomen. The raglan-style sleeves, which extend to the collar in one piece, provide the skier with room for extra movement.
The double-hood feature enables the skier to fit the larger outer shell hood over a helmet. A hidden fitted hood can be taken out of an inner back pocket and put over the head to go underneath the helmet. Gillaspie used technical fabric by ChiaHer for the outer shell and Polartec power stretch fleece for the fitted hood.
Gillaspie’s prize will be exposure in a national magazine. In addition, she will attend the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and mentor the next set of Project OR contestants. MTSU also wins the right to have another student entered in the summer contest.
“Even though I won the competition, the other girls and I feel like we won together because we accomplished something we never thought we could have before,” Gillaspie said.
In spite of the intense deadline pressure in the contest and lack of sleep, Gillaspie said she did manage to do some networking.
“With the little time I had away from sewing," she said, "I did make some great job potential contacts."