April 11, 2022
Contact: Deidra Ashley, email@example.com
University of Missouri students AJ Hays, Joey White and Raven Smith were recently named winners of the College Vault Collection competition — a collaboration between MU’s Department of Textile and Apparel Management and apparel company Champion. The first piece of apparel will be available in the Mizzou Store beginning April 21, and additional designs will be released this fall.
“It feels unreal to win,” White said. “I loved working with my teammates and figuring out how we could blend our own styles with an established brand. I’m excited for Mizzou students and fans to start wearing our designs later this year.”
Past meets present
The trio of junior textile and apparel management students is one of the eight teams from the TAM 3480: Apparel Technical Design class. They said they focused their collection on cross-functional neutral fashion colors and gender-neutral designs. “A lot of existing collegiate apparel seems to be targeted toward a single event, like for being worn to a tailgate or something,” Smith said. “We wanted to design pieces that could be worn in multiple settings and would pay tribute to Mizzou’s history.”
After visiting The Mizzou Store to meet with its head apparel buyer and learn about the business side of design, the team researched predicted fashion trends to help decide which garment cuts, colors and textures to pursue. They also looked at existing Champion style and fabric designs and participated in design workshops with Champion employees, providing real-time feedback and guidance.
“This project taught me a lot about how to design for a brand while innovating and blending heritage with newer styles,” Hays said. “It also taught me how to roll with the punches, take constructive feedback and adapt.”
When asked their favorite item from the collection, all three agreed: the 1920 AfterHood.
Champion of Champion
Brooke Stafford, Champion product analyst and Mizzou alumna, said they chose Hays, White and Smith as the winners because of their attention to detail and Champion’s ability to take their designs straight to market.
“The group was thoughtful in their design process,” Stafford said. “They took feedback well and adjusted their designs to fit the needs of the market. We loved how they introduced heritage, vintage-inspired pieces to their assortment.”
Stafford said Champion and Mizzou's licensing agent, The Collegiate Licensing Company, have had a strong presence on campuses over the years because it’s a fun way to engage with consumers and provide hands-on learning opportunities to students before they get into the industry. Assistant teaching professor Cheyenne Smith said she saw firsthand how the collaboration helped students grow.
“It was incredible to see these projects come to life,” she said. “I was with these students last fall, and to see the growth from then to now is immense. I’m so proud of the work each team produced.”
The students didn’t take the win lightly: “As a fashion designer, you want your designs to be on the backs of thousands of people,” Hays said. “To be in college and win a competition like this — with applause from people in the industry — speaks to how creative Mizzou students are, and how we’re breaking down barriers and limitations.”
About the College Vault project
Mizzou’s marks have evolved through the years. In late 2021, community members were invited to vote for which set of vintage logos they would like to revive for an exclusive partnership with Champion and The Mizzou Store. A collection of four logos was selected.
In spring 2022, students in MU’s Department of Textile and Apparel Management formed teams to take the vintage logos and get a hands-on experience in the collegiate apparel design process. The task: create a collective clothing line using existing Champion style and fabric patterns along with the vintage marks.
Eight teams competed for the chance to have their designs put into production and sold exclusively at The Mizzou Store. The winning team was announced April 7, and their designs will be available for purchase at The Mizzou Store this fall.
Stay tuned to Show Me Mizzou for news on when and how you can pick up these new Tiger threads.