Two apparel students learn from a day with Target designers

By University Communications
March 9, 2015
UW-Stout students Meg Floersch and Tyler Vucinovich visit Target headquarters in Minneapolis after winning a class apparel textile design competition judged by Target designers.

Photo: Meg Floersch and Tyler Vucinovich visit Target headquarters.

Meg Floersch and Tyler Vucinovich grew up in the Twin Cities. They’ve shopped at Target stores and know plenty about the nation’s second-largest retailer, which is based in Minneapolis.

After they left the metro area, however, and went 75 miles east to study apparel design and development at University of Wisconsin-Stout, they found themselves closer to Target than they’ve ever been: inside the company’s headquarters.

In January, Floersch, of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Vucinovich, of Lakeville, Minn., spent a very full and memorable day following company textile designers in downtown Minneapolis.

Floersch and Vucinovich were given the opportunity because they won a textile design contest that Associate Professor Jongeun Rhee organized in a fall class, Computer Aided Design for Fashion.

Rhee contacted Target with her idea, and the company’s textile development team agreed to provide guidance and feedback to the class throughout the fall.

At the end of the class, in December, two Target textile designers came to UW-Stout to judge the students’ work in the same way they would evaluate designs at Target, with written and scored evaluation forms.

The entire contest was educational, Floersch and Vucinovich said. The chance to go to Target and see designers at work gave them priceless insight into their career field.

“Being able to follow the designers for a day was an amazing experience,” Vucinovich said.

“It was great seeing the entire design process come together. It was an inspiration,” Floersch said.

Textile design, or the fabric that designers create to bring clothing to life, is just one aspect of apparel design and development. Floersch and Vucinovich saw it all during their day at Target.

They visited various departments where clothing is designed, including men’s, women’s and children’s. They also visited the home and hardware design area, where fabric patterns also are used, such as in gardening gloves. They went to a collaboration room and saw two clothing line reviews taking place. They saw Target’s own designers and buyers discussing the pros and cons of various designs, what looked good vs. what might actually sell.

In general, they saw a day in the life of a textile designer.

The experience reaffirmed that they have chosen the right major, Floersch and Vucinovich said, although they are leaning more toward actual clothing design rather than textile design.

“We learned how specific the product has to be, with regard to what the customer wants,” Floersch said, noting that children’s clothing must appeal both to parents and children, be fashionable and still be priced right.

Detailed designs

For the class, the 13 students used computer software to create eight design looks and 12 textile designs for boys’ and girls’ clothing. They also had to create two cohesive themes.

They “modeled” their designs on human figures and provided technical specifications for each piece of clothing and each textile design.

Floersch went with a new-look camouflage theme for boys and an “Alice in Wonderland” theme for girls, focusing on ages four to eight.

“They liked the graphics and puns on my shirts. My designs were new enough but still familiar to customers. There was a story to it,” she said.

Vucinovich focused on boys ages six to 16, who are “beginning to have more of a fashion sense. My goal was to bring more colors and patterns to Target. I wanted the boys to feel special when they wear these clothes."

Floersch and Vucinovich received accolades for their thorough consumer research, which included going to Target stores and interviewing customers, and their concepts.

Rhee was pleased with the interaction between the students and the Target professionals. She may do a similar class project in fall 2015.

For more information on UW-Stout’s apparel design and development undergraduate program, go to www.uwstout.edu/programs/bsadd.