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Profile: Wool Win Gives Student the Itch to Compete

Young University of Cincinnati fashion student Adrianne Gammie certainly need not be sheepish about her skills. Only 21 years old, she’s just won a national design competition, only the second national contest she’s ever entered.

Date: 3/1/2004 8:00:00 AM
By: Mary Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Andrew Higley and submitted by Adrianne Gammie
UC ingot You might say Adrianne Gammie, 21, of Berlin Heights, Ohio, is gifted with “shear” talent.  

A pre-junior is the University of Cincinnati’s respected fashion design program, she was recently named a national winner in a “Make It Yourself With Wool” contest co-sponsored by the American Sheep Industry Women, American Wool Council, the American Sheep Industry Association, the National Lamb Feeders Association and other industry groups.  Gammie won first place in the competition’s Fashion/Apparel Design Division, earning a $1,000 scholarship from the American Wool Council.

About 1,150 contestants entered the national competition, which has been held for the past nine years and is designed to promote the beauty and versatility of wool fabrics and yarns.  From those more than 1,000 entries, 52 were eventually selected as finalists, and 13 were then chosen as winners or runner-ups in various categories. 

For the competition, Gammie created a wool ensemble consisting of a “chocolate-and-vanilla” dress and coat:  An off-white, heavy crepe, wool dress with a fitted bodice and spaghetti straps, and a knee-length skirt with a dropped, chocolate-brown band at the waist. To accompany the dress, Gammie fashioned a sculpted, “cream-and-chocolate” checkered, houndstooth coat, also of wool.   She modeled the garment herself in photographs and a video sent to the judges.

While she worked independently on the project outside of any of her classes last summer, Gammie used skills she had gained in the classroom and in past competitions.  Last year, she was one of a handful of U.S. finalists in the prestigious International Competition of Young Designers.  Currently, she is furthering her design and hands-on skills during a cooperative-education quarter spent at Grass Orchids, in Chicago.  (Cooperative education refers to the practice, that had its worldwide founding at UC in 1906, which requires students to alternate their academic quarters with paid, professional work related to their major.)  At Grass Orchids, a custom formalwear shop, Gammie is designing and making custom bridal wear as well as formal wear for children and adults. 

“This co-op is giving me the chance to experiment with new techniques and fabrics, to be involved in every stage of the creative design process,” explained Gammie.  “That’s the best part about co-op and the competitions, along with the people I get to work with and learn from – it’s seeing something come together under your own hands.  I really love to see it come together, to have an impact.  I love making something beautiful that makes someone look and feel beautiful,” she added.

She does admit to being a little nervous about the competitions while completing her projects.  “The competitions were a new thing for me, and I didn’t know what to expect, but I just jumped right in and hoped for the best.  With any luck, I’ll be able to participate in more in the future.”

During the upcoming summer, Gammie – a student in UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning – will sew up her academic year with summer study in Nice, France, wanting to better her understanding of French language and culture because of that country’s leading role in the fashion world.  Beyond that, she’s not sure what area of fashion she wants to work in when she graduates in two years.  “That’s what I’m hoping the co-ops will help me with, to give me the experience so that I know where my talent and passion lay,” she said

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