Apparel design students honored for clothing, water polo cap

By University Communications
November 16, 2015
Ilse Wolbank and Daniel Weispfenning, seniors in apparel design and development, took third places recently in national and international contests. Wolbank designed clothing and Weispfenning a protective cap for water polo players.

Photo: Ilse Wolbank and Daniel Weispfenning

A clothing ensemble and a protective cap for aquatic sports have garnered awards for two apparel design and development students at University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Ilse Wolbank, a senior from Hudson, took third place in the Cotton Incorporated national student design competition for her “athleisure” clothing designs.

Daniel Weispfenning, a senior from St. Paul, took third place in the Industrial Fabrics Association International Advanced Textiles Student Design Challenge for a swim cap that helps protect water polo players.

Both awards were announced in October.

Learn more about UW-Stout’s apparel design and development Bachelor of Science program here >>.

Wolbank’s “athleisure” designs

The Cotton Incorporated contest required students to design a clothing ensemble for people who want to look athletic, although the clothing isn’t designed for athletic purposes.

“‘Athleisure’ is a new clothing trend — people who want to look like they work out,” Wolbank said.

She spent four weeks designing a jacket, top and pant. She also created a matching sweater, which wasn’t required. Her design incorporated traditional aspects of Japanese clothing, with wrapping and tying features.
Contestants had to choose one of Cotton Incorporated’s 13 types of knit fabrics and one of its 13 kinds of woven fabrics for their designs.

After Wolbank submitted her designs on paper, she was notified that she made the top 10. Then she created her clothing and submitted the actual pieces to the contest for final judging.

“It’s exciting to be from UW-Stout and compete with the big design schools. We have talented designers and product developers. We know how to design and develop garments,” Wolbank said.

Wolbank is leaning toward starting her career in the manufacturing and production side of the clothing industry. “I’m motivated to think about all aspects of apparel design and development,” she said.

Wolbank is one of two 2015-16 Student Artists-in-residence at UW-Stout.

Weispfenning’s water polo cap

For the IFAI contest, Weispfenning’s swim cap was designed to protect the ears and heads of water polo players.
Other water polo caps on the market have a rigid plastic ear covering that can weaken and crack over time, allowing water to shoot into a player’s ear and possibly shatter the eardrum. Weispfenning designed his cap with flexible ear protection to lessen that risk.

For the exterior of the cap, Weispfenning chose a low-friction material that helps deflect the ball, reducing impact and possible concussions. The ball can travel at up to 50 mph during a water polo match, Weispfenning said.
The cap is made with hydrophobic spacer mesh fabric and four layers of rubber.

Weispfenning competed in the safety products category of the IFAI contest. The top prize was won by three students from Universidad Ricardo Parma in Lima, Peru. Second place went to three students from the University of Minnesota. Learn more

“It was a great opportunity to take what I had learned in class and apply it to a project that I was personally passionate about,” Weispfenning said.

Weispfenning hopes to begin his career working on innovative sportswear products. From September 2014 to March 2015, he had a Cooperative Education program experience through UW-Stout at Adidas headquarters in Germany. He worked in the soccer division, designing jerseys and shorts.

The experience at Adidas, including being exposed to sports that are popular in Europe, helped him develop the idea for the aquatic cap, Weispfenning said.