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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI makes fundraising fashionable with the Spring Splash

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design department
raises nearly $40,000


KINGSTON, R.I. -- June 8, 2005 -- The University of Rhode Island's Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) department and its Textile Advisory Board welcomed more than 130 guests to its second annual "Spring Splash" student fashion show and awards ceremony.

The formal event and show entitled, “Fantasize, Materialize, Realize,” took place on April 28 to recognize the accomplishments of many of the program's alumni and industry partners and to showcase select fashions created by URI students.

URI alumnus Glenn Palmer, Cerberus Capital LLC, and president of the TMD Textile Advisory Board, chaired the Splash event and sponsored a pre-show reception at the President's home. Aeropostale Inc., based in New York, N.Y and Wayne, N.J., the fast-growing specialty retailer of casual apparel for youth, sponsored the fashion show and formal dinner at the Memorial Union.

The event raised about $40,000 with proceeds to be used to support and improve TMD student education, and for such things as guest speakers, teaching equipment, and scholarship support. Aeropostale was the single-largest donor, contributing $20,000 to the department's programs.

Industry partners recognized at the event were: Ačropostale, which operates more than 550 stores nationwide and online; Griffin Manufacturing, based in Fall River, Mass., that provides comprehensive apparel design, product development, and garment production services to the athleticwear and sportswear markets; and The TJX Companies, Inc., the $13 billion, multinational, off-price retailer.

The department also inducted three new members to its Alumni Wall of Fame: Cynthia Cooper of the McCord Museum in Montreal, Quebec, Nancy Olson of Kenyon Consumer Products, and Shelley Brehm Wollseiffen of the Cranston Print Works Company. (See more information on these members following.)

Featuring the works of 22 students, the runway show had a strong focus on femininity and formal evening wear, especially as represented by many Audrey Hepburn-esque ensembles, and strapless evening gowns in satin fabrics garnished with feathers and silk flowers. Materials used for the original designs ranged from satins and silks to leather and high-tech textiles.

After the show, design awards were presented to: Annick Gouin, a junior from Charlestown (first place); Jacqueline Galto from Franklin Lakes, N.J., (second), and Kirsten Obermiller of Manchester, N.H, (third) and received cash awards of $1,000, $750 and $500 respectively. Students Allison Mallardi of Jupiter, Fla., and Katharine Seavey of Rochester, N.H., were awarded honorable mentions and $250 each.

Judges for the Splash event fashion show were: Jeffrey A. Butterworth, professor of Theatre and English at the Community College of Rhode Island; Lorraine Howes, professor emerita of the Rhode Island School of Design; and Kristyna Kane, style director and fashion editor of CO-ED Magazine.

In addition to the design awards, the Textile Advisory Board designated a portion of last year’s Spring Splash monies raised for four $500 scholarships to be presented at the event. Scholarships were presented to: Jenny Doucette, a junior from Candia, N.H.; Monica Flynn, a junior from Charlestown, R.I.; Loida Lebron, a sophomore from Woonsocket; and Deryn Sumner, a sophomore from Abington, Mass.


Awards of the Spring Splash event


Industry Donors Recognition


Ačropostale, Inc. is a fast growing, mall-based, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories, principally targeting 11 to 18 year-old young women and men. The company provides customers with a focused selection of high-quality, active-oriented, fashion basic merchandise at compelling values. Ačropostale maintains control over its proprietary brands by designing, marketing, and selling its own merchandise. Ačropostale products currently are purchased only in its stores or at organized sales events at college campuses. Starting this summer, Ačropostale also sells its products on-line at www.aeropostale.com. The first Ačropostale store was opened in 1987. As of January 26, 2005, the company operated 561 stores in 43 states. The company has made major financial contributions to support TMD activities.

Griffin Manufacturing provides comprehensive apparel services including design, product development, and garment production to provide the athleticwear and sportswear markets with quality products. From its 125,000 sq. ft. headquarters and factory in Fall River, Mass., Griffin controls and executes every step of the apparel process. Design and development are integrated with the latest CAD/CAM technology. Domestic sewing capabilities allow reduced development lead times and “quick turn” production fulfillment. International production alternatives deliver quality garments at competitive costs with limitless capacity. Griffin Mfg. Co., Inc. grew from A & A Manufacturing Company, a dress contractor started in 1936 by the grandfather of the company president. Capitalizing on experience and continually striving for improvement, Griffin has grown to be a leader in knit sportswear and athleticwear manufacturing. Griffin has facilitated the donation of equipment to URI, offered internships and tours, worked with faculty on grants, and served on the Textile Advisory Board.

The TJX Companies, Inc. is a $13 billion, multinational, off-price retailer. It operates eight businesses — T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, A.J. Wright, and Bob's Stores in the United States, Winners and HomeSense in Canada, and T.K. Maxx in Europe. The target customer is a middle to upper-middle income shopper who is fashion and value-conscious and fits the same profile as a department store shopper. A.J. Wright targets a more moderate-income market while Bob's Stores has a largely male customer base and a target customer who spans the moderate to upper-middle income range. The companies’ off-price mission is to deliver a rapidly changing assortment of quality, brand name merchandise at prices that are 20-60% less than department and specialty store regular prices. TJX hired seven TMD grads in 2004, which made URI its number one school last year. TJX has offered internships, donated equipment, made classroom presentations, served on the Textile Advisory Board, and made financial contributions to support TMD activities.