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Interior architecture & product design students win honors at annual Color and Couture in Kansas City

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014



MANHATTAN — A team of interior architecture & product design students from Kansas State University earned two top honors — the Judge's Pick and People's Choice awards — by turning carpet into couture for a premier design event.

The team, sponsored by the university's chapter of the International Interior Design Association, won the awards at the ninth annual Color and Couture event Oct. 10 at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City, Missouri.

Color and Couture challenges design teams, both academic and professional, to use product samples from a chosen manufacturer to create a wearable, high-fashion garment. A minimum of 70 percent of the garment needs to be created from the provided materials, with no more than 30 percent from other materials. Each team's creation is presented before a panel of judges and an audience of nearly 1,000 where it is exhibited down a runway, much like New York City's fashion week.

Twenty-seven teams participated at this year's event, with all but five of the teams from professional design firms.

The university's interior architecture & product design team was made up of around 30 students, ranging from second-year to fifth-year students in the program. The interior architecture & product design program is offered through the College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign.

"Through hard work, countless hours and collaborative creativity, the students designed their original garment and then entered the fabrication stages, using an intense two weeks to construct the garment," said Katherine Ankerson, professor and head of the interior architecture & product design department.

This year's team sponsor was Bentley Carpet, a commercial carpet manufacturer. The competition requirements, aside from being constructed with the carpet material, also included that the garment be in the neutral and Radiant Orchid color palette.

Students were challenged to develop a theme and derive inspiration for the garment as they began with the word "orchid." While researching the word, they came across information that the Aztecs worshipped the orchid flower as the gateway to the heavens. When the team began considering how it might translate to a garment, the image of a tribal deity came to mind.

To construct the garment, materials provided by Bentley Carpet were unraveled and used as thread. The original backing to the carpet was removed and artistically transformed into feathers and the carpet thread was woven through laser-cut wooden frames. The only portions of the garment not from the carpet samples were the wood frames and the snaps on the top of the garment.

"The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd increased exponentially as model Rachel Botten began her dance down the runway to the rhythmic beat of the music, each reinforcing the 'tribal' theme," Ankerson said. "Not only did this team of students illustrate an innovative approach to the transformation of carpet to fashion, but they additionally carried their generative intention through to the music and challenged the traditional runway walk of high-fashion models. This full spectrum approach to a design problem is indicative of the interior architecture & product design department and we are thrilled for the students' accomplishment."

Tim de Noble, APDesign dean, was impressed as well.

"Funny how art parallels life," he said. "Our students' entry garnering both the People's Choice and the Judge's Pick awards at the Color and Couture event shouldn't surprise me. The inventiveness and beauty of their submission and the intensity of their effort in both design and execution are evident in their everyday pursuits in Seaton Hall. It is doubly exciting to see them go head to head with other programs and professional practices and be so highly recognized."


Katherine Ankerson


Interior architecture & product design 


Download a high-resolution photo.
Rachel Botten

Rachel Botten, master's student in interior architecture & product design, models a garment a Kansas State University team made out of carpet for the Color and Couture event in Kansas City, Missouri.

Written by

Mary Cosimano

At a glance

With carpet as the main material, a team of Kansas State University interior architecture & product design students made a high-fashion look that earned two honors at the recent Color and Couture event in Kansas City, Missouri.