USU Students Sponsor Textile Upcycling Station at Outdoor Retailer

Chase Anderson

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The outdoor industry gathers three times a year in Denver, CO for Outdoor Retailer, one of the largest outdoor product tradeshows, to do business, see the latest products and discuss larger industry issues. This year, students from the Outdoor Product Design & Development (OPDD) program at Utah State University were invited by Outdoor Retailer to sponsor the Textile Repurposing Station and sew chalk bags as giveaways to show the power of turning scraps into new products.

Five students were able to attend and educate attendees on the importance of upcycling, taking discarded materials and turning them into new products. This project first started when students from OPDD took piles of fabric waste from various brands and textile mills and decided there was a better solution than sending them to the landfill.

Rachel Bodily, incoming OPDD senior, said the expo was a great opportunity to showcase the skills she learned in her classes.

“The upcycling project was a great experience because we were able to take the skills we have been learning throughout our classes and show them to the industry we want to work in,” she said.

Not only did students get to run the upcycling station, they also got to experience the trade show by meeting with designers, attending workshops and soaking in the industry as a whole.

“It was also a great learning opportunity because we could gain inspiration and a better understanding of what direction the industry is going so we can be more prepared for when we enter the work force,” Bodily said.

Jamon Wolfe, senior in OPDD, said while the upcycling project was the highlight, the networking opportunities were also a valuable experience.

“I was able to have personal conversations with some of the most accomplished professionals in the industry. I received guidance on interviewing skills, portfolio presentation, and project creation. Their advice was priceless,” Wolfe said. “Lastly, I was able to build strong friendships with my classmates during the trip. I am sure these relationships will prove increasingly valuable as we progress through our careers. You never know who will help you get your next job!”

chalk bag

photos and video by Matt Newey

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