Anonymous gift improves WVU Fashion Design program

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Thanks to an anonymous gift of $750,000 to the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design two new fashion design studios will open this week. An official ribbon cutting is planned for Thursday at 11 a.m. on the Evansdale Campus in Morgantown.

The new studios replace outdated facilities and according to Assistant Professor of Fashion, Dress & Merchandising, Katie Jones the spaces show the level of commitment by the university to developing leaders in the clothing industry.

” More importantly really, show their commitment to design students and cultivate into leaders of the fashion industry,” Jones said.

The new spaces are divided to allow students to experience the complete process from an idea, to a sketch or concept, an example and ultimately a consumer product that can be produced.

“Two new studios here,” Jones said,” We have an illustration studio where hand drawing and digital illustration skills will be developed,” Jones said,” And we have the sewing studio where the actual construction can happen.”

Each part of the process plays an important role in the final product. These new studios allow students to become immersed in all aspects from concept, design to production.

” The connection to the cloth, the connection to the body, because we’re talking about garments that are going onto bodies,” Jones said,” Those connections need to be maintained and those spaces allow both of those things to happen.”

The program also has ties to the community at-large. The Farm to Fashion initiative locates local sources for textiles, ideas and craftsmanship that could benefit from the expertise available from the students and staff of the program.

“We’re trying to be the hub that connects all these areas,” Jones said,” The fiber producers, the designers, the people turning textiles into beautiful, wearable things and the retailers.”

The program could potentially help West Virginia residents that sew, create and have experience in a wide variety of fashion.

“They need perhaps a little more insight or need to make some connections to find out what’s here and what could be built upon,” Jones said,” So, we are willing and able to help people from all sorts of backgrounds and ideas to tap into the expertise of the faculty here.”

The anonymous donor made the gift through the WVU Foundation.