UNL's textiles department is making its mark

A senior textiles design student, left, shows family members around the Robert Hillstead Textiles Gallery.

Photo and Story by Erin Grant, NewsNet Nebraska

The last thing Lauren Myers dreamed of when she was a UNL student was interning for a major New York fashion designer. She knew her dreams were much bigger than anything her hometown of Lyons, Neb. could offer her.

“I figured I’m a small town Nebraska girl, why would some big name designer from New York City want me to be a part of his label?” said Myers, a 2010 UNL graduate.

Fashion is not something many people associate with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Most people know of UNL as an agriculture college and perhaps the last place a student would come for fashion. UNL’s Textiles, Clothing and Design department is changing those notions.

“We have students all over the world,” says Barbara Trout, an associate professor in the textiles program. “They’re in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney working for the Buckle, New York and overseas. The UNL name is definitely out there.”

Myers is one of those students. Upon graduation she worked for high fashion designer Zac Posen at his headquarters in New York City. From May to September, she learned the ins and outs of high fashion. As a public relations intern she was responsible for a variety of tasks. Mostly though she observed how the industry worked.

“I went in with this thought of how the industry was going to be and by the time I left I realized it was just the opposite,” said Myers. “Many people think fashion is playing with clothes and shopping all day. That couldn’t be more far from the truth.”

Myers said clothing is the focal point of fashion but it’s behind the scenes work that holds it all together.

“I was working almost 12 hour days,” said Myers. “It’s a lot of hard work, thinking on your feet, and tedious tasks but it’s all worth it.”

Spectators view designs from undergraduate students at the student exhibition “Passages and Permutations”.

Easley said there are also misconceptions about UNL’s textiles department.

“We have a stigma andwe are going to always have to take blinders off people,” said Easley. “We tend to surprise people when we tell people what the textiles department offers.”

UNL’s Textiles, Clothing and Design department offer undergraduate students the chance to study a variety of areas in the fashion industry. Students can major in merchandising, textile science and fashion communications along with design.

“There are a variety of courses you take,” said Myers. “Being a graduate I can look back and say it really prepared me for what I was going to do after graduation.”

Jacie Ocshner, a senior textiles and apparel design major, said her education in UNL’s program has made her well rounded.

“The amount of product development knowledge, pattern-making and draping we learn in the program is what makes us better designers,” said Ocshner

Jacie Ocshner welded materials together to create the cage on her work.

Ocshner said her involvement in the textiles department has also sparked interest from potential employers.

“I feel that when employers hear an applicant is a graduate of the UNL textiles program they respect it,” said Ocshner.

“We know where interests lie and what needs work in the textiles curriculum,” said Easley. “We as a faculty plan on reworking current courses, eliminating others, and creating new ones to meet the demands of students and to help prepare them more.”

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