Colorado State University Student Wins National Design Competition for Outdoor Gear

Note to Editors: A photo of the garment prototype is available at a link at by clicking in the headline of this release.

After a grueling 48 hours of brainstorming, designing, sketching, sourcing and sewing a woman’s mid-layer garment prototype, Ron Rod, a design student from Colorado State University, was named the winner of the 2009 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Project OR.

Rod’s winning design, "The Rocker," is a coat made from technical, eco-friendly fabrics that includes hand-warmer pockets, symmetrical diagonal striped design and fully-functioning, integrated sound system.

An active telemark skier and backpacker, Rod attributes his winning design to his understanding of the end user. He’s a student in the Department of Design and Merchandising in the College of Applied Human Sciences.

"I think it was the integrated sound system with a textile touch pad that really ‘sang’ to the judges," Rod said. "On top of that, when you can imagine yourself as the end user and you know what you want, it helps you design features with impact."

Rod was just one of five students selected to participate in the second cycle of Project OR, a concept-to-prototype design competition meant to inspire innovative winter outdoor fashion.

The contestants represented top design schools from around the country and were each commissioned to create a woman’s mid-layer garment that embodied performance; technical, eco-friendly materials; and creative design.

As the winner of Project OR, Rod received an all-expense-paid return trip to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market ’09 and a profile in Textile Insight, a trade publication.

The student designs were evaluated by panel of judges including designers and industry trendsetters. Show attendees followed the students’ progress in designated areas throughout the show and via several online episodes on the OR website. Filmed in a reality-competition type format, Project OR begins with an initial design brief and follows student competitors through the conception, sourcing, production and final presentation stages of the competition.

Outdoor Retailer, or OR, is the leading outdoor industry business-to-business event management company, bringing together manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of outdoor recreation.