Outdoor Retailer (OR) concluded another successful cycle of Project OR when it named Katy Jessee, a senior at Missouri State University, the winner of its ninth cycle held at OR Summer Market 2012.

Comprised of a tailored, menswear inspired jacket and cropped jean, Jesse’s winning cruiser outfit for a cyclist in the Northwest met and exceeded the technical and fashionable specifications outlined in the Project OR design brief.

“Jessee’s final design made our jaws drop – it was so much more than we could have ever imagined,” said Haysun Hahn, a Project OR judge and consultant at the global firm, Fast Forward Trending. “Her design had such an elegant feel, while combining technical fabrics and components.”

Project OR’s expert panel of judges say they felt trepidation when the menswear designer first presented her concept board. The panel worried that while the fashion elements were on trend, that the final product wouldn’t have the proper functionality for the outdoor market. During the final presentation, strategically placed venting and stretch, and a removable caped hood pleasantly surprised and impressed the panel of judges.

“My inspiration was to create outerwear in disguise,” further explained Jessee.

Jessee’s jacket was primarily comprised of a plaid Schoeller corkshell fabric; details and edges were lined with Bemis seam tape. Brookwood fabrics made up the underarm and shoulder area venting panels. CORDURA was used for the jacket’s removable hood, cinched with a Sterling Rope drawstring and ITW Nexus toggles. Cropped jeans completed the outfit constructed utilizing Schoeller fabric with 3M Scotch light-lined inseams.

Participation in the competition gives student designers unprecedented access to the most technical performance fabrics and garment components, and the brands behind the technology.

“We essentially peppered the suppliers with questions about how the fabrics functioned,” said Jessee. “Everyone was so helpful, supportive and inclusive – I’m very impressed with this industry.”

Jessee was one of five students, including runner-up Jeannette Ray Sheridan, selected to participate in the ninth cycle of Project OR, an intense 48-hour concept-to-prototype design competition meant to inspire innovative outdoor fashion.

The winning designer receives an all-expenses-paid return trip to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013 and a highlight article in Textile Insight.

Performance textile provider Hyperbola and Bemis, manufacturer of heat activated film adhesives and seam tapes, were presenting sponsors for Project OR at Summer Market 2012.

Participating material suppliers included Bemis, Brookwood Companies, CORDURA, GE/eVENT, INVISTA, JML Apparel, Hyperbola, Polartec, Primaloft, Rogers Corporation, Schoeller and YKK.

Show attendees followed the students’ progress in designated areas throughout the show and via several online episodes on the OR website.

Still to come, the winner of the People’s Choice award will be announced in the coming week in a news brief from Outdoor Retailer.

Outdoor Retailer will present the next cycle of Project OR at Winter Market, January 23-6, 2012.

Image courtesy Outdoor Retailer

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