Press Releases

Outdoor Retailer WM Project OR Judges Name Ron Rod Winner

Colorado State University student draws from his experience in the outdoors to create a woman's mid-layer packed with functional features

San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and Salt Lake City, Utah – Jan. 25, 2009 – After a grueling 48 hours of brainstorming, designing, sketching, sourcing and sewing a woman’s mid-layer prototype, Ron Rod, a design student from Colorado State University, was named the winner of the 2009 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Project OR.

Rod’s winning design, “The Rocker,” used technical, eco-friendly fabrics from Schoeller, ITW Nexus and United Knitting. In addition to hand warmer pockets and a symmetrical diagonal striped design, his prototype included a fully-functioning QIO System’s PANiQ, an integrated sound system.

An active telemark skier and backpacker, Rod attributes his winning design to his understanding of the end user.

“I think it was the integrated sound system with a textile touch pad that really ‘sang’ to the judges,” said Rod. “On top of that, when you can imagine yourself as the end user, and you know what you want, it helps you design features with impact.”

As the winner of Project OR, Ron Rod received an all-expenses-paid return trip to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market ’09 and a profile in Textile Insight.

Rod was just one of five students selected to participate in the second cycle of Project OR, a concept-to-prototype design competition meant to inspire innovative winter outdoor fashion.

The contestants represented top design schools from around the country and were each commissioned to create a woman’s mid-layer garment that embodied performance, technical, eco-friendly materials and creative design.

In addition to Rod, participating students also included Curt Sousa, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising; Luba Lowry, Savannah College of Art and Design; Lucy Brooks, Fashion Institute of Technology and Stephanie Sandstrom, California College of the Art.

The student designs were evaluated by an impressive panel of judges including designers and industry trendsetters, Neide C. Cooley, retired designer; Alan Yiu, Westcomb Outerwear; Luke Pezzimenti, Ground; Pam Theodosakis, prAna; Renee L’Abbe, Promostyl; and Skip Yowell, JanSport.

“This round of students showed enormous talent, and potential and have so much to offer this industry,” said Neide C. Cooley, Project OR head judge and former director of apparel design for Marmot. “Beyond being good illustrators and sewers, these students really understood the creative process. This makes the students better prepared for employment and improved their execution of the design brief. “

In its second cycle, support and enthusiasm for Project OR continued to grow among attendees and exhibitors, alike. It also drew attention to the ever important exhibiting suppliers at Outdoor Retailer.

“In an industry that is often driven by the latest and greatest in finished goods, it is important to recognize the value and excitement surrounding the innovations exhibiting suppliers,” said Kenji Haroutunian, Outdoor Retailer show director. “These companies are pioneering fabrics and components that will vastly influence the design and function of the very outdoor clothing to be unveiled at this show a year or two from now.”

Participating suppliers included 3M, CORDURA® Brand Fabrics, Coville, ITW Nexus, JRC Reflex, Lenzing, Nüwa Textiles, Outlast, Polartec, PrimaLoft, Schoeller Textil AG, Sympatex Technologies, United Knitting, Vermont Organic Fiber Company and YKK.

Show attendees followed the students’ progress in designated areas throughout the show and via several online episodes on the OR website.

Still to come, the winner of the People’s Choice award will be announced on Monday, Jan. 26, in a post-show news release from Outdoor Retailer.

The next cycle Project OR will continue at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, July 21-24, 2009.

About Project OR
Project OR is a 48-hour concept-to-prototype student design competition meant to inspire innovative winter outdoor fashion. Filmed in a reality-competition type format, Project OR begins with an initial Design Brief and follows student competitors through the conception, sourcing, production and final presentation stages of the competition.

Project OR’s panel of judges, comprised of OR-selected designers and industry trend-setters, review each contestants’ final prototypes and presentations to determine a winner.

About Outdoor Retailer
Outdoor Retailer (OR), produced by Nielsen Business Media of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., is a full service trade show company that creates, markets and produces high-quality expos and educational conferences. OR is the leading outdoor industry business-to-business event management company, bringing together manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of outdoor recreation. Now celebrating more than 25 years of successful events, Outdoor Retailer ( gathers approximately 40,000 attendees on a semi-annual basis for its Winter and Summer Market shows.

The next opportunity to preview the future of the outdoor industry will start at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, which will bring the best of spring/summer product offerings to Salt Lake City, Utah at the Open Air Demo from July 20, 2009 and the Trade Show from July 21-25, 2009.
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Maura Lansford, SOAR Communications, 801-523-3730, or
Chip Smith, SOAR Communications, 801-523-3730,