Press Releases

Outdoor Retailer Launches “Project OR” Student Design Competition

Winner Receives Prize Package, Expenses-Paid Trip to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2009 and Profile in Textile Intelligence

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CALIF. (APRIL 15, 2008) — Reinforcing Outdoor Retailer’s position as the leading design hub for the outdoor industry, Outdoor Retailer today announced “Project OR,” a student design competition debuting at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Aug. 8 – 11, 2008 in Salt Lake City. The competition highlights the design strength of the outdoor industry, and calls attention to the importance of innovative new fabrication technologies to the market. The contestants, students selected from top design schools, will compete for an all-expenses-paid trip to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market ’09 and a profile in Textile Intelligence. Participating students will be announced in mid-June 2008.

“Project OR will be an engaging forum for showcasing the unique product development story at Outdoor Retailer,” said Kenji Haroutunian, show director. “This process invites young designers who represent our future to become involved with our community in a meaningful way during which they can use their creative juices. The unsung heroes of our industry, design professionals, have the daunting task of blending function with fashion, innovation with heritage, and efficiency with performance. Project OR will call attention to their everyday challenge, in an interactive environment.”

The contestants will be students selected from the nation’s top design schools, including Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), Los Angeles, Calif.; Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, N.Y.; North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.; and Washington State University, Pullman, Wash. Each school is responsible for choosing one Project OR student to represent their school, based on Project OR criteria.

On the first day of the show, each contestant will be provided a work station space in the Design Center at the Energy Solutions Arena (formerly the Delta Center) to design and construct their prototype design. Students are required to use components available at the show from over 100 supplier exhibitors that will provide the contestants with all fabrics and materials. Each work station will be equipped with sewing machines, cutting tables, pressing equipment, and tools, etc. Contestants will have a 48-hour time limit to conceive, design and build their prototypes. The final designs will be unveiled in The Design Center and on on Sunday, August 10. This area of the show will also feature innovative new exhibits and products new to the market.

“This program provides a glimpse into the wealth of industry resources from the ‘behind the scenes’ supplier side,” continued Haroutunian. “So much innovation and creativity happens on the supplier side of the industry and, in many ways, it is the driving force behind the brand innovation we see each year.”

Show attendees will be able to view the progress of students’ work throughout the show via Outdoor Retailer’s website and in designated areas throughout the show. The competition will be judged by a panel of designers and industry influencers from across the industry chosen by Outdoor Retailer, combined with a live voting component for show. The judges will review each design based on originality, innovative use of performance and eco-friendly materials, and the overall practical application for the outdoor market. The winner will be announced Sunday, August 10 at 3 p.m. in the Source and Design Center with the entire contest viewable on the web post-show ( and featured in Textile Intelligence in the fall.

About Outdoor Retailer
Outdoor Retailer, produced by the Nielsen Sports Group division of Nielsen Business Media, is the leading outdoor industry business-to-business trade event, bringing together top manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of the recreational outdoors. Currently in its 26th successful year, OR gathers approximately 40,000 attendees on a semi-annual basis for both Fall/Winter/Holiday and Spring/Summer markets. The Nielsen Sports Group, headquartered in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and its predecessor companies have been in the exposition and conference business for over 35 years.