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Baylor apparel student makes it to 'Project Runway'

May '12
One of Baylor's own will participate in a student version of "Project Runway," a reality contest television show featuring designers creating new fashions within time constraints, when Kaylyn Smith, a senior apparel design and product development Baylor student from Austin, travels to Salt Lake City, Utah, for "Project OR."

"Project OR" is hosted by Outdoor Retailer (OR), the leading outdoor event management company that brings together manufacturer, retailers, industry advocates and media to focus on outdoor recreation business. OR produces annual summer and winter shows, and Smith will compete in "Project OR" during this year's summer show from Aug. 1-4.

Six students from the top 20 design schools in the nation are selected by design professors and are tasked with creating outdoor recreational clothing under strict time constraints, said Mary Simpson, Ph.D., apparel design and product development program coordinator in the department of family and consumer sciences.

"The designers will produce a garment prototype using performance and eco-friendly materials specifically for the outdoor market," Simpson said. "The designers need to consider factors such as the flexibility, protection and versatility when creating their designs."

Simpson said that on the first day the contestants will create their initial garment design concepts, and after they receive fabrics, zippers and other clothing components from the OR exhibitors, the students will be given individual work stations equipped with a sewing machines, cutting tables and equipment, pressing equipment and other tools. The students will then have 48 hours to bring the garment concept to reality.

The contestants are filmed in a reality show style, and the winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the next Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and a profile in Textile Insight magazine.

Smith said the idea of participating in a "Project Runway" style contest is both thrilling and nerve-wracking because of the time crunch, but she believes the experience will be beneficial.

"This nomination is a huge honor, and I think it will really challenge me in a way that will help me to improve as a designer," Smith said. "I think that getting out of my comfort zone through this contest will help me be more prepared to work in the industry and give me confidence to take on new tasks."

Simpson said those in Baylor's apparel design and product development department are excited for Smith and wish her the best.

"Kaylyn is an outstanding student and a talented individual," Simpson said. "She looks at things realistically but thinks outside the box. She has good illustration and design skills, strong pattern making, technical and production skills, and is very attentive to detail. All of these factors, coupled with her critical thinking skills, make her a strong selection for this contest."

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Baylor University

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