We wanted to create truly visionary designs in menswear for the modern millennial male. So who did we ask to work with our team? Fashion and textile design students from North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles Fashion and Textile Design Program. Who better to have an eye for tomorrow’s trends?
This has been a fascinating collaboration, bringing a breath of fresh air to our 50th anniversary theme of ‘heritage meets innovation’. The idea being to take inspiration from traditional professional menswear of the past, but to add functionality and durability for the future.
The students were challenged to create business wear designs that could adapt to various seasonal conditions, combining long lasting performance with stylish versatility. Given full access to all of the latest cutting-edge CORDURA® fabric technologies, they sketched, concepted and created prototypes of business wear garments - ranging from commuter to tactical and workwear-inspired designs.
This ‘hands on’ project was warmly welcomed by Dr. Katherine Annett-Hitchcock, NC State’s associate professor in textile and apparel technology and management:
“The opportunity to incorporate the latest innovative fabrics from the CORDURA® brand to design clothing for the future truly inspired the students, and gave them an opportunity to explore their own modern interpretation of ‘traditional’ menswear. The students were extremely involved in the fabric selection process, and were able to learn about each fabric technology available in the portfolio and engineer high-quality durable garments. For many, the fabrics also inspired the direction they took their designs.”
Final designs went on show in December 2016 at NC State’s iLab. Students presented the garments on a model, along with their inspiration board, storyboard and technical sketches. Selected garments will also be featured by the CORDURA® brand at global tradeshows throughout 2017.
Performance fabrics drive design inspiration
One of the exciting outcomes of this exercise is the collection of fabrics featured in the CORDURA® x NC State collab. Along with imaginative style and built-in durability, the collection incorporates fabrics with specific performance-based capabilities such as cooling and warming properties, supplied by authorized CORDURA® fabric mills - Artistic Milliners, Chia Her, Hua Mao, Nishat, One Chang, Tiong Liong, and Yoonia
These mills played an important role in the whole concept and are eager to help shape the future of performance apparel textiles. This is clear from the comments of Neil Bell, director of global R&D and innovation at Artistic Milliners:
“Artistic Milliners believes in working with the next generation of designers to create fashion of the future, and we are honored to be associated with NC State and this project. The ownership of our company has a long legacy with NC State University and its College of Textiles, and we are excited to inspire their creativity in producing these cutting-edge garments.”
CORDURA® fabric - today and tomorrow
Through recent design school collaborations with NC State and ESMOD, and participation in events like the UK Project 20/20 Awards, the CORDURA® brand encourages students to work with technical textiles and to realise the benefits of long-lasting, durable, performance fabrics. We see these collaborations as a valuable means of interacting with tomorrow’s design leaders and getting insight into the innovative ways that fabrics may be used in the future garment concepts.
In the words of Cindy McNaull, global CORDURA® brand and marketing director:
“The CORDURA® brand continuously works to push the boundaries of durable fabric innovation. We are proud to kick off our 50th anniversary year collaborating with such innovative, forward-thinking designers to help propel classic menswear heritage into the future.”
Future menswear design leaders
And while we’re doing name checks, step forward the NC State students who came up with the great designs. Including Alex Festa, Anna Argentine, Anna Beth Gawarecki, Caitlin Hill, Casey Stein, Catherine Blazer, Catherine Joyce, Heather Nixon, Jacob Shindler, Jayce Arnette, Lauren Stillwell, Lisa Hoang, Madeline Kamal, Mia Pitillo, Rysa Ruth, Sarah Mraz and Grace Raskauskas.
NC State’s College of Textiles, a leader in its field
The College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, USA, is recognized as a global player in textile innovation, education, research and service. In fact, NC State produces more textile graduates per year than any other university in the US. Fostering new technologies, the college leads the way in textile and fashion design, product development, brand marketing, basic and applied science, and engineering. Very importantly, it provides the technology transfer that fuels economic development in a wide range of areas related to the textile industry. With 200,000 square feet of research and teaching space and more than 60 labs, the College of Textiles offers extensive testing, analysis, research, design, fabrication and product development capabilities.
For more information, visit textiles.ncsu.edu.