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University of Minnesota Student Wins Project OR at OR Summer Market

In 48 hours, Shannon Smith designed and constructed a pleated jacket for bike commuting, winning the judges’ votes, a trip to Winter Market 2011 and a profile in Textile Insight

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San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and Salt Lake City, Utah – August 6, 2010 – Outdoor Retailer (OR) concluded another successful cycle of Project OR when it named Shannon Smith of the University of Minnesota the winner of its fifth cycle held at OR Summer Market 2010.

“AthPlete” is a jacket Smith designed for Becky, a fictional Boston graphic designer described in the Project OR design brief that needs fashionable clothes for work that are suited for biking. Smith’s personal photos of Amsterdam’s bike scene inspired the jacket’s strong lines accented by four pleats originating at the waist that allow full range of motion for pedaling legs.

“My career plans have changed this week during Project OR,” said Smith. “This is an amazing industry and I hope I have a future in it. Being here feels like home.”

The jacket’s black DuPont Sonora base made from corn is both water and wrinkle resistant. The King Tech reflective technical fabric used to make the pleats and accent the zipper can be easily wiped clean after a ride. The jacket also incorporates Shoeller® and Cordura fabrics, accents of Sterling Rope, YKK zippers and ITW Nexus pull tabs that Smith procured from suppliers at Summer Market 2010.

As the winner of Project OR, Smith receives an all-expenses-paid return trip to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market ’11 and a profile in Textile Insight.

Smith was one of six students selected to participate in the fifth cycle of Project OR, a concept-to-prototype design competition meant to inspire innovative summer outdoor fashion.

In addition to Smith, participating students also included Virginia Gibbons of Washington State University, Teresa Hernandez of Cal State University, Northridge, Christina Hill of University of Alabama, Kailtyn Doherty of Philadelphia University, and Amy Bittner of the Fashion Institute of Technology and winner of the Project OR 6th Contestant Challenge.

The student designs were evaluated by an impressive panel of designers and industry trendsetters including Pam Theodosakis, founder and design director of prAna, Alan Yiu, vice president, creative director and founder of Westcomb Outerwear, Inc., Rita Nakouzi, director of Promostyl, Skip Yowell, co-founder of JanSport and Jason Older, co-founder of Sid Factor 7.

“All of the contestants did an excellent job, especially given the challenging design brief that required them to create a garment that was just as fashionable as it was functional,” said Pam Theodosakis, co-founder and design director of prAna and head judge of Project OR. “Shannon’s jacket won because it is a fashionable, well constructed piece that is very relevant to the outdoor recreation marketplace.”

Several past Project OR participants have continued their success in the outdoor recreation industry upon graduation. Faith Anderson of Cycle 4 now designs hydration packs and reflective accessories for Nathan Sports. Lauren Price of Cycle 4 is designing for Polarmax and sold the silhouette of her Project OR design to prAna.

“OR cultivates all that makes the outdoor recreation industry a great one to work in, including new design ideas and emerging talent through Project OR,” said Kenji Haroutunian, Outdoor Retailer show director. “Project OR not only showcases top components manufacturers and brings youthful, creative ideas to the OR design marketplace, it draws students’ attention to design opportunities in the outdoor recreation industry and helps them build solid professional relationships.”

Hyperbola, manufacturer of BOLA-TEX soft shell, and, an online networking and career-building resource for the action sports industry, were presenting sponsors for Project OR at Summer Market 2010.

Participating suppliers included Brookwood, Cotton Inc, DuPont Sorona, Hyperbola, INVISTA- CORDURA, King Tech Industry, and Polartec LLC, YKK (USA) Inc.

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, August 9 in a post-show news release from Outdoor Retailer.

Outdoor Retailer will present the next cycle Project OR at Winter Market, January 20-23, 2011.

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 Expositions 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.

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market brings the best of spring/summer product offerings to Salt Lake City, Utah at the Open Air Demo that was held on August 2, 2010 and the trade show from August 3-6, 2010. New winter product offerings will be presented at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, January 20-23, 2011 and at All Mountain Demo January 19.

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Maura Lansford, SOAR Communications, 801.656.0472 x2(wk)/ 817.929.8123(cell),
Chip Smith, SOAR Communications, 801.656.0472 x1(wk) / 801.597.7515(cell),