SoHE Design studies students have been challenged to create one-color screen-printed shirts for August, a popular street wear boutique located on State Street in Madison. The project is a partnership between Rob Bowhan, owner of August, and students in Professor Jennifer Angus’ Printing and Dyeing I and II courses. These students incorporated screen-printing with one other technique learned this semester to fit the August consumer.
To launch the project, students met with Bowhan at the retail store on October 23rd to familiarize themselves with the location, ask questions, and learn about his vision and experience in the industry. They then had three weeks to complete their designs, including mood boards to illustrate their concepts.
Bowhan joined the classes on Thursday, November 8th for a final critique of the students’ designs. Each student presented their final products to the class while Bowhan gave valuable feedback from the eyes of an August customer.
“This project is filling a gap in our curriculum. We make a lot of garments and we print a lot of cloth but we have never addressed t-shirts, the most ubiquitous item found in virtually everyone’s wardrobe. Depending on the outcome, this may the beginning of a course we’ve been considering launching for a few years – Street wear design.” Our Design Studies department wants to address the interests of students campus wide, and this project may be just the thing to develop a new arena of design under SoHE’s umbrella.
After the critique, I asked a few of the students about the inspiration behind their work. Alex Hysel, a senior Textile and Fashion Design major, said his inspiration was “very personal” and came from a hoodie he received from his dad. He mixed lines from a poem, a biker bar graphic, and the classic “I Love New York” t-shirt for his design.
Kat Eberley, a junior Textile and Fashion Design major, wanted to synthesize all of her interests into one design. She incorporated her passion for Gender and Women’s Studies with her drawing talents to create a powerful message on her screen-printed work.
This project was an amazing opportunity for our design students to get their foot in the door of such a competitive industry. This assignment from Professor Angus’ classes in collaboration with August’s owner Rob Bowhan was just the beginning of street wear design in Nancy Nicholas Hall.