Students Create Uniforms for Roller Derby Teams
FCS Students Overcome Challenges to Produce Roller Derby Uniforms
MOSCOW, Idaho – Athletic apparel reaches across a wide spectrum of design. University of Idaho students who enrolled in a School of Family and Consumer Sciences class focused on apparel design and development for a real-life client faced an exotic challenge: producing uniforms for roller derby teams.
“This was a very real challenge. It played out just exactly like any season at a company that produces apparel,” said Lori Wahl, instructor of the six-week summer class. “The process is the same whether you’re here or at Adidas.”
“The students were really great,” said Daquarii Oppegaard, a member of the Rolling Hills Derby Dames who first made the contact with the University of Idaho class. She graduated from the School of Family and Consumer Sciences in 2002.
The school in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences offers a Clothing, Textiles and Design degree that prepares students for apparel industry careers. Instructor Wahl knows that first hand. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1993, then worked for Nike, Adidas America and Hanna Andersson before opening her own design firm and turning to consulting and teaching.
“They were accommodating and they were enthusiastic about what they were doing. They came out and skated with us at one practice. They were just excited about the project and excited about roller derby,” Oppegaard said.
The class was a capstone experience for the students, Wahl said, requiring them to use skills and knowledge they’d accumulated through other classes. They had to interview Derby Dames representatives to understand what they wanted, present concepts to them, develop prototypes, then refine them and finally produce finished garments for review.
For student Erica Lora, sewing with knit fabrics was a challenge that most of her classmates had not faced before and a substantial one at that. “The design challenge was that they looked good on paper but when it came to actually constructing those designs was a bit of a challenge because it just didn’t work out or the fabric wasn’t working the way we thought it would. Trying to problem solve that was the most challenging part,” she said.
“It was so exciting. I’ve never seen my clothing or my designs on someone,” said student Carli Tallent. “So it was super exciting to see them in action and that they weren’t falling off or people weren’t tugging at them and they really liked them. Just to see how happy they were was really exciting.”