The markets are the largest trade shows of their kind, catering to outdoor retailers.
As a senior fashion and interior design major, Jessee won the Outdoor Retailer’s Project competition at the Summer Market in 2012. As the competition’s winner, she returned in January to the Winter Market as a mentor to share her experience and advise a new round of competitors.
“As a mentor, I was on hand to answer questions ranging from technical or design advice, to helping source materials from various vendors attending the market, or simply finding the easiest way to and from the hotel,” said Jessee, who is in her first year of graduate studies in the project management program.
“I made sure everyone kept on track, and helped out where needed to ensure that all designs would be completed within the time frame and to the best of each designer’s ability,” she said.
Returning as a mentor is also a reward for winning the competition, said Jesse, because as a competitor there isn’t a lot of time to network with vendors and potential employers.
She said attending the markets allowed her to see a different side of the fashion industry.
“The outdoor industry is something that I knew little about, but was blown away by the innovations and functionality within it, as well as the openness and kindness of the individuals involved,” said Jessee.
Jessee said her experience has benefited her in her education and career.
“After speaking with a number of individuals in the outdoor industry, I know that the project management program was a good choice, as it can translate to a variety of areas throughout multiple industries,” said Jessee. “Through some freelance opportunities that came about because of my experience at the summer market, I’ve gained insights that have already helped me to better understand the importance of the things I am now studying.”
Jessee was just one of five students invited to participate in the summer competition, where designers had 48 hours to design and create an innovative piece meant to inspire outdoor fashion. Jessee’s winning look included a tailored, menswear-inspired jacket and cropped jean.
Story by Doug Gaehle, a former MSU communications graduate assistant