Photo collage of UNT Opera costumes on display created by the CVAD Fashion Design class

ITAA recognizes Barbara Trippeer for innovative teaching strategies in fashion design

Nov. 18, 2020 — The International Textile and Apparel Association recognized Barbara Trippeer, (’14, MFA, Applied Design Research) assistant professor for fashion design, for her innovative teaching strategies in her Fashion Design Studio: Alternative Processes class in the 2019 fall semester.

Trippeer and Jonathan Eaton, professor and director of opera, joined forces last year resulting in clients for the fashion design students and bespoke costumes for the UNT Opera’s bold new production of Mozart’s timeless classic, Don Giovanni, set in the present day. 

 At the ITAA online conference, Trippeer received the Nancy Rutherford Teaching Innovation Award for her submission titled “Experiential Client Development: Digital Fabrication Opera Costume Project.”

Inspired by emerging changes in the fashion industry through the use of new technologies and new applications for fashion and apparel design, Trippeer’s class allowed student designers to explore methods which reconcile the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of wearable technology prototypes, accessories, and related fashion apparel. 

Barbara Trippeer and two students work on bespoke costumes for the fall 2019 operaThrough evaluation of the example in this research, Trippeer said, she hopes to illustrate how experiential learning and cultural critique in undergraduate programs may help in preparing design students for future innovative opportunities. This kind of experience in professional practice in an evolving creative economy also can serve as a springboard for entry-level fashion designers to challenge traditional forms of garment-design development through careful consideration of the overlaps between art, design, professional practice, collaboration, and the application of new technologies in the form of digital fabrication.
The goal was “to translate the material in relation to current social and political contexts, such as the "me-too" movement. Additionally, the students working on these costumes are exploring new applications for digital fabrication and embedded using techniques from the CVAD Fab Lab, such as 3D printing and laser cutting. And many of the fabrics have generously been donated by both local couturier Michael Faircloth and leather specialist Fossil, which reflect the high-design direction we are taking to reimagine this medium,” said Trippeer.

The course is designed to allow students to learn how to conceptualize, design, prototype, and document their ideas through hands-on experiences within a specified range of digital design and fabrication tools. 

As part of this course's individualized studio exercises, students explored how to implement a series of basic "soft" electronic sensor circuitry configurations and other forms of additive and subtractive methods of design, while documenting their skills development through an online e-portfolio. This e-portfolio also involved an industry-research component: after identifying leaders in the field of fashion and technology from which to study artistic processes, students utilize a critical application of that research to influence and inform their own unique project development through the e-portfolio, which demonstrates a holistic impression of the application of the skills they have acquired throughout the semester and well as how their understanding of industry applications evolves.

About the CVAD Fashion Design Program

For information about the Fashion Design Program in the College of Visual Arts and Design, please visit the Department of Design's web pages.

Undergraduate Fashion Design Program
Point of Contact: college recruiter,

Graduate Fashion Design Program
Point of Contact: Chanjuan Chen, program coordinator

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CVAD Mission: Cultivating creative talent and critical minds within a collaborative and caring environment.

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