Alissa Evans, a second-year in fashion and retail studies, has made social responsibility fashionable.
Evans was awarded a $30,000 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship at the annual YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund gala held in New York City Jan. 8
Evans and her fellow competitors were challenged to develop ideas to create their own companies that would incorporate “Made in America” ideals. Evans chose to focus her project on helping victims of domestic violence.
Naming her proposed company “Home Free,” Evans said she designed a line of home goods, including products like pillows, duvet covers, draperies, wall décor and rugs, with her overall goal being to employ victims of domestic violence.
“My goal (was focused on) giving (victims) jobs and giving them the support, education and the career training that they need to get out of those abusive homes and actually start their own lives,” Evans said.
Evans was nominated to participate in the “exclusive competition” by fashion and retail studies professor Nancy Rudd, who said Evans’ compassion is what set her apart from other competitors.
“Personally, in all of my teaching, I really emphasize the importance of social responsibility and paying it forward, so Alissa knows that this is a real focus of people in our industry,” Rudd said. “I was really pleased that she decided to include it in her project.”
Through conducting extensive research, Evans said she learned that many victims of domestic violence are afraid to leave their homes because they don’t have the means to live on their own.
“I want to (offer) victims education and figure out what would be a good career for these people to have so they can become their own breadwinners and support themselves,” Evans said.
The scholarship case study project required applicants to delve into extensive details in both the business and design aspects of their companies, Evans said.
For her proposed fall 2014 collection, Evans said she studied fashion companies that are “Made in America” and also conducted trend research to get an idea of what colors and styles are set to be popular.
“I did a lot of research on how the actual companies are structured and how they market the ‘Made in America’ idea,” Evans said.
Evans studied graphic design and began interning at Mead, a producer of school supplies, in June 2009, where she designed prints and patterns for the covers of products like notebooks and folders.
“I fell in love with designing those products,” Evans said. “And from there, I realized that it would be really cool to work in other aspects of design like for clothing, textiles or home goods.”
Evans said she is thankful for the support she has received from her professors throughout the process of developing her product line.
“I remember encouraging Alissa to focus a little more on the specifications for production and I thought that would really make her project stand out,” Rudd said. “It’s one thing to design these pretty things but it’s another thing to actually come up with the production specifications like measurements, materials and how things are produced.”
Third-year fashion and retail studies major Heidi Liou also attended the January gala and was awarded one of the Fashion Scholarship Fund’s $5,000 scholarships.
Liou said competition is fierce with students from other schools, who have a class dedicated to helping them compile projects to present for the Fashion Scholarship Fund.
“We did our projects basically on our own with some help from our professor,” Liou said.
After seeing Evans’ finalized project, Rudd said she was proud of her student’s hard work and dedication.
“In the end, I was just really amazed by how much she had done,” Rudd said. “I was particularly impressed with the different colors and geometric prints that she had so I thought (the collection) was appealing to several different audiences.”
Correction: A previous headline in this article stated ‘Ohio State student Alissa Evans awarded for clothes ‘made in America.’ In fact, Evans created a line of home goods.