Senior Alycia Gillaspie wins national design conte...

Senior Alycia Gillaspie wins national design contest (w/video)

Alycia Gillaspie, an MTSU senior from Murfreesboro, has defeated four competitors from colleges across the country in a contest to design the best outdoor winter garment.

MTSU senior Alycia Gillaspie stands alongside her winning entry in the recent “Project OR-Cycle 10” competition in Salt Lake City. (photos courtesy of Alycia Gillaspie)

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 Jan. 23-26 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“I was shocked and almost cried,” recalled Gillaspie. “I felt overwhelmingly excited and very, very proud.”

The students had 48 hours to create a garment suitable for outdoor activities using materials and products from businesses on the floor of the exhibition. A panel of design, supplier and manufacturer industry professionals judged the garments.

“During the 48 hours, I only slept a total of six hours,” said Gillaspie. “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 ski 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.

MTSU apparel design major Alycia Gillaspie, second from left, poses with the students who modeled her original designs at the spring 2012 fashion show on the MTSU campus. From left are Devin Spicer, Gillaspie, Koto Hai and Chancey Pickard.

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 to wear 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. She also will attend the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and mentor the next set of Project OR contestants.

MTSU wins the right to enter another student 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,” said Gillaspie.

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, I did make some great job potential contacts,” she said.

You can watch an interview with Gillaspie below.

— Gina K. Logue (