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WVU student fashion designs on display at international conference

Photo of young woman in teal dress

MORGANTOWN, W.VA - West Virginia University students were among the few chosen to have their fashion designs displayed at International Textile and Apparel Association’s 2022 conference, a professional, educational association promoting textile, apparel and merchandising disciplines in higher education. 

Of 122 submissions, ITAA accepted 45, with five Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design students’ designs among them at the October 22 event in Denver, Colorado. The fashion, dress and merchandising majors who were accepted were Anthony Bartolo and his design “Established,” Madison Hess and her design “French Flare,” Jordan Spears and her design “In Bloom,” Jillian Smith and her design “Rise and Grind” and Benjamin Acklin and his design, “Individuality and Collectivity, An Investigation Through Indigo Dyeing and Taoism.” 

Photo of young woman modeling dress

“Student garments from all over the world were submitted, and only certain ones were selected to actually move forward and be in the exhibit,” Colleen Moretz, associate professor of fashion, dress and merchandising, said.  

To qualify, students were required to submit a design, professional pictures and an abstract to demonstrate the research component they used to create the design.  

"There’s more to it than just making something pretty,” Moretz said. “There's academic substance to what they designed. They have to explain what question they were trying to answer through their design and how it can make an impact on the fashion world. Are the research and resulting design something that will help move the fashion design world forward?" 

Sustainability was at the core of graduating senior Jordan Spears’s research focus for her garment “In Bloom,” a zero-waste design based on Vincent Van Gogh’s “Almond Blossoms” painting.  

"I had to digitally engineer a print that I printed onto my fabric,” Spears explained. “Because it was zero waste, I couldn’t waste any of the fabric. So, I had to plan my design out ahead of time and map it out on the fabric to make sure I ordered just enough.” 

Her design scored a 95 out of 100 upon evaluation.  

Photo of young woman smiling

“It takes a lot for me to appreciate and like my own work, so it was nice to see that it is liked and appreciated by others enough to have gotten into this exhibit,” Spears said. 

Aside from the honor of showcasing their designs, the students’ resumes will be elevated with the inclusion of having had their work exhibited at an international conference.  

“The professors really push us to get our work seen, and ITAA hosts a very prominent conference that you definitely want to attempt to get your work in,” Spears added. 

Moretz and Assistant Professor of Fashion, Dress and Merchandising Angela Uriyo attended the conference and showed the garments for the students, who were unable to attend for various reasons.  

The Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design envisions a world sustainably fed, clothed and sheltered. To learn more about the Davis College, visit Keep up with the latest updates and news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following @WVUDavis. 



CONTACT: Leah Smith 

Public Relations Specialist 

Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design  
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