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The Retail Center to showcase fashion designs by FSU students
Mar '09
The Florida State University Center for Retail Merchandising and Product Development ("The Retail Center") will showcase fashion designs by Florida State students at the Mildred Pepper Design Competition on March 18 and will host its annual Retail Summit, featuring talks by top fashion and retailing executives, on March 19 and 20.

Both events will be held on the FSU campus and, with the exception of meals, are free and open to the public.

Wednesday's Mildred Pepper Design Competition will unfold at the Claude Pepper Center beginning at 4 p.m. The event will culminate with an exhibition of entries created by FSU apparel design students in five categories that include "All Cotton Professional Business Wear," "Reconstructed" and "Art-to-Wear." The winning designers will be announced during the presentation of their designs, which will conclude by around 5 p.m. A total of six winners will be chosen, and each will be awarded a scholarship valued at $1,000.

The Retail Summit will be held on Thursday and Friday in the Student Services Building, and this year's theme is "Planning is EVERYTHING." A full day of lectures and panel discussions will begin on Thursday at 8 a.m. with registration and breakfast (the first talk will start at 8:45 a.m.) and conclude by 4 p.m. Friday's events will open with registration at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn by noon. Talks by industry executives representing major retailers such as Stein Mart, JC Penney, Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Cotton, Inc. will cover topics ranging from the art and science of planning and trend forecasting, to entrepreneurship and "marketing yourself" in a tough economy.

"With lectures and panels offering insider perspectives on retailing and fashion and special advice for these challenging times, our 2009 Retail Summit will educate our merchandising, apparel design and textile students about career opportunities in planning and allocation and the ever-changing trends in their chosen fields," said Ann Langston, director of The Retail Center. The Mildred Pepper Design Competition was named for, and endowed by, the late U.S. Sen. Claude Pepper's wife, Mildred, who attended the Florida State College for Women (now The Florida State University) and was an avid fan of both fashion and the university. She died in 1979.

The Retail Center was established at Florida State in 2006 to create a partnership between the academic and retailing communities. Part of the College of Human Sciences' textiles and consumer sciences department, which boasts one of the nation's largest retail merchandising programs as well as programs in apparel design and textiles, the center facilitates collaborative research between faculty, students and companies. It also generates networking opportunities for students and the center's member executives, which include retailers such as JC Penney, Office Depot, Stein Mart, Chico's, Kohl's and HSN.

Florida State University

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