When Briana Turnbull ‘17 discovered 3M’s Scotchlite™ Reflective Material, she contacted the company to ask how to buy it to use in her senior project. Next thing the St. Catherine University apparel design major knew, she found herself with a professional mentor: Silvia Guttmann, 3M apparel designer and textile engineer. Months later, Turnbull took first-place in the Fabric Graphics category of the 2017 Fabric Graphics Association Student Design Challenge.
“I wouldn't have been able to achieve this contest win without the incredible support of 3M and my mentor Silvia,” Turnbull says. “I was surprised by the win because the contest focuses more on innovative industrial textile uses in such high tech fields as medicine, military and aerospace engineering” — while her project, on the other hand, was focused on functional clothes for cyclists.
While Turnbull may have been surprised, her mentor Guttmann points out that the recognition is well-deserved. “Briana’s customer driven, purposeful design and understanding of human factors, combined with her research were all success elements of design excellence,” she observes. “I knew her work would lead to a broader audience — and am thrilled she was recognized in this competition. It was an honor to work with Briana!”
Turnbull’s winning project, “Spring Showers Reflective Bike Jacket,” is part of the “Bloom” clothing line she designed and debuted at St. Kate’s 2017 Katwalk last spring. Inspired by the lack of adequate women’s bike wear, Turnbull designed a series of garments that successfully merged functionality, versatility, femininity and fashion.
“This project was extremely special to me as a part of my capstone senior collection,” reflects Turnbull. “I just want to emphasize how thankful I am for the people who made it possible.”
And one such person is Anupama Pasricha — Turnbull’s professor.
“It has been a joy to see Briana pay attention to and take advantage of all the opportunities that have come her way,” says Pasricha, also chair of St. Kate’s Department of Apparel, Merchandising and Design. “Ever since Briana became a Katie, she has been engaged and excelled in academics and campus activities that allowed her to grow.”
During her four years at St. Kate’s, Turnbull was an Antonian Scholar, Assistant Mentoring Program project and research assistant, an active Hilton Sister Project participant, resident advisor, Fashion Club co-president, and graphic designer for St. Kate’s Events and Activities. All that, in addition to classes and homework, leaves one amazed she found time to even apply for the Fabric Graphics student challenge.
As first-place winner, Turnbull will present her project at the 2017 IFAI Expo in New Orleans at the end of September. Post-graduation, Turnbull is currently working in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as an associate designer for MontanaCo, a Northwestern clothing company.
...So what advice does this recent St. Kate’s alum, Katwalk designer and first-place international contest winner have to offer?
“It’s so important to ask,” she says. “No matter how far-fetched your idea or request might seem, just go for it! People are often more receptive than you think, and you never know what’s going to happen.”