Homegrown Style Inspires Fashion Designs

OtterBox Partners with CSU Students to Create Runway-Ready Garments
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“Homegrown is a place where you feel the most you.” – Georgie Longer, CSU Apparel Design & Production Student


If you closed your eyes and thought of home, what would you see? Fields. Flowers. Streets. Buildings. City. Country. For eight Apparel Design & Production students studying at Colorado State University, “homegrown” was more than a feeling of belonging. They were challenged to take their most precious memories and favorite places and turn them into style inspiration for clothes that could walk in the CSU Fashion Runway Show.

Otter Shop, the Fort Collins, Colo.-based OtterBox store, partnered with CSU Design students for a project inspired by the OtterBox Symmetry Series homegrown collection. The class was challenged to create fabric prints inspired by the collection. Erika Johnson, Otter Products Color Trend Graphic Designer, held the project close to her heart as an alum of the program. She helped coach the students through each part of the design process.

The students took it a step further and created garments incorporating some of the top prints. Seeing the process from print creation to final garments was incredible.

“Working with the apparel design students on this project is truly what homegrown means to me,” Johnson said. “Graduating from the apparel design program at CSU and coming back to work with the students was incredibly inspiring. During this process, we were there to help mentor the students and provide real world experience.”

Through the patterning process, Johnson and the OtterBox design team provided insights to influence the students in a real-world scenario with style inspiration.

“We provided insights of consumer profiles and challenged them to create original prints inspired from OtterBox’s homegrown Collection,” Johnson said. “The students took it a step further and created garments incorporating some of the top prints. Seeing the process from print creation to final garments was incredible.”

After the patterns were completed for the class project, the students worked outside of class to create beautiful outfits that would walk in the CSU Fashion Show. Two recurring style inspiration themes were comfort and wear-ability.

“We wanted to design for women that lead active lifestyles,” said Rachel Gonzales, CSU Apparel Design & Production student. “We wanted everything to be really comfortable and very wearable with pockets and have lots of movement and flow so that you can transition between different areas in your life really easily. We made pieces that let people feel like themselves.”

Two students designed styles specifically for the active male. Giovanni Carter and Colin Beard created a collection for men including a track suit, weatherproof short sleeve jacket, basketball shorts and sweater.

“I really wanted to make something comfortable that the Fort Collins male could walk around Old Town and feel a little bit flashy. [My design is a] comfortable pair of basketball shorts and nice little sweater that you could wear to dinner or to school,” Carter said.

Growing up in Fort Collins was a big inspiration for Beard, who chose to create a pattern from the topographic map of Horsetooth Rock, a mountain on the outskirts of the city.

“Someone in Fort Collins could wear this to a CSU football game or they can wear it on an excursion with an OtterBox cooler while having a good time up in the mountains. It could be worn anywhere to be functional and versatile,” Beard said.

Whether these clothes are walking down the runway fashion show or walking down the street, these designers wholeheartedly wanted to combine their ideals of homegrown with fashion, function and comfort.

“Homegrown for me is not necessarily where you grew up or where are you from, but where you find yourself and where you belong. I wanted to have something that felt like it had roots from somewhere else,” Moriah Mosely said regarding her winning tribal pattern jumpsuit. “It's meant to be comfortable and cohesive all in one and to bring a sense of self and empowerment to the wearer, so she can find herself because that's what this piece is doing for me.”

Homegrown for me is not necessarily where you grew up or where are you from, but where you find yourself and where you belong.

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