UI student from Genesee creates wool clothing business
April 28, 2023
This story by Anthony Kuipers appeared in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News on April 28, 2023.
A Genesee connection helped set a University of Idaho student on a fashionable career path.
Kaylee Flodin became interested in fashion design as a teenage 4-H member in Genesee. As part of her 4-H education in garment construction, she would pick out fabrics from Joann Fabrics and Crafts and sew clothing to show at the Latah County Fair. That is when she developed a particular interest in wool.
Before graduating from Genesee High School in 2019, Flodin considered studying business in college. That is until she talked to fellow Genesee resident and UI senior instructor Lori Wahl and asked if she could sit in on a few classes in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Flodin decided then that she wanted to pursue a degree in apparel, textiles and design.
That path led her to her senior capstone class, which she is wrapping up this semester. As a requirement of the class, Flodin had to design her own clothing line with a fabric of her choice.
Flodin chose to make winter clothing made mostly with wool. Unlike other fabrics, she said, wool’s structure makes it easy to manipulate. It is also more versatile than people think.
She not only used it to make thick winter coats, but she developed wool pants that are surprisingly light and flowy.
“You wouldn’t think that’s something you can make out of wool, just because a lot of times you think wool is like that very heavy coat weight,” she said.
Her work, and the clothing designed by her classmates, will be displayed in early May at Kimberling Insurance in downtown Moscow. A grand finale event is scheduled for May 12.
Wahl, who has been working with Flodin since she was a freshman, said this project challenges students to work on a strict timeline and make decisions quickly. It all takes place during the course of one semester.
Flodin said she enjoys the process of taking a design from the drawing board to getting it ready for manufacture.
Wahl said Flodin’s clothing line highlights her strength as a designer.
“I think it’s a great example of what she is good at,” Wahl said. “She’s very good at pattern making and technical design and she’s always been passionate about wool.”
Flodin said she is pursuing a career in technical design after college and is working toward an internship with Pendleton Woolen Mills in Portland, Ore. She graduates in May.
Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu.