January ‘Out of the Blue’ spotlights MTSU’s TXMD p...

January ‘Out of the Blue’ spotlights MTSU’s TXMD program, diversity fellow [+VIDEO]

January 2024 Out of the Blue featuring TXMD

Innovation and inclusion within the fashion industry was a topic of discussion when Middle Tennessee State University’s Textile, Merchandising and Design, or TXMD, Program was spotlighted in January’s “Out of the Blue” television magazine program.

Gina Pisut, chair of the Department of Human Sciences within the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, and Nia Allen, a 2023-24 TXMD Diversity Dissertation Fellow, talked about some of the innovative aspects and programming for anyone interested in fashion merchandising and apparel design.

“Apparel design is what you think about when you think about fashion. It’s the creative, it’s the fun,” Pisut said. “Then you have fashion merchandising. They are still creative, but they handle more of the business aspect.”

You can view the segment below:

MTSU’s TXMD coursework teaches students how to take those ideas and use technology to bring them to life, Pisut said.

The textiles department has a 3D body scanner that takes 240 measurements of individuals. Students create patterns on a computer, then piece them together on a virtual avatar, allowing designs to be tailored for different body types.

“I think it really pushes inclusivity,” said Allen, who is teaching TXMD courses as part of her fellowship. “The body scanner helps you fit the body and that’s extremely important, especially with the body positivity movement, and it’s important for our students to be a part of that.”

Technology coupled with on-trend coursework offered, as well as the warm welcome, drew Allen to MTSU. She’s using those aspects to attract other students to MTSU’s TXMD program as part of her Diversity Dissertation Fellowship, which supports minority or technically diverse doctoral students in completing the final year of their doctoral degrees.

In February, TXMD students will be celebrating Black History Month with a lecture featuring Brandice Daniel, a designer whose mission is to bring Black designers into the forefront of the fashion industry. The event, part of the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Series, is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Keathley University Center Theater.

In celebration of Women’s History Month in March, Allen is organizing a panel discussion featuring Middle Tennessee women who will talk about fashion and entrepreneurship.

“I think students want to hear these stories and I also think they want to feel a part of the conversation,” Allen said.

Learn more about fashion design and merchandising by visiting the TXMD website.

Hosted by Andrew Oppmann, vice president for marketing and communications, “Out of the Blue” is available anytime on the university’s YouTube channel, the True Blue TV channel, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. It also airs on Murfreesboro cable Channel 9 daily at 6 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; NewsChannel5+ at 3:30 p.m. Sundays and on other cable outlets in Middle Tennessee, so check local listings. 

It is also available as a podcast on iTunes and Google Play and as individual interview segments on Spotify at

Watch previous episodes of “Out of the Blue” at 

— Nancy DeGennaro (