University of Cincinnati Student, Margaret Mussman, Wins Project OR

In 48-hours, Mussman designed and constructed a women's backcountry ski bib, winning the judges' votes, a trip to Summer Market 2012 and a profile in Textile Insight
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San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and Salt Lake City, Utah -Outdoor Retailer (OR) concluded another successful cycle of Project OR when it named Margaret Mussman, a junior at University of Cincinnati, the winner of its eighth cycle held at OR Winter Market 2012.

Mussman designed a breathable, waterproof, and temperature regulating women’s backcountry ski bib to meet the technical and fashionable specifications outlined in the Project OR design brief.

Mussman’s design was the only garment that featured a removable harness complete with safety whistle and avalanche beacon. A quick zip along the side of each leg added easy removal. Mussman also drew inspiration from the support and shape of a women’s sports bra when designing her over-the-head, halter-style bib straps.

"Whether a technical or fashion-focused garment, a huge part of design is to help solve problems," Mussman said. "I know women who backcountry ski and because of my background, I’ve often been a sounding board for them – listening to their frustrations with a garment’s shortcomings. This competition allowed me to design a garment that solved some of those issues."

The judges were impressed with Mussman's understanding of the unique challenges faced by women in the backcountry, her technical skills and for delivering a fully finished prototype garment.

"From start to finish Margaret’s design was an amazing concept," said Jen Keesey, a Project OR judge and trend consultant with A Little Bird. "Not only did she really understand the customer and necessary functionality of the garment, but she produced an elevated, finished product – She did a really amazing job."

Mussman’s' backcountry bib was comprised of primarily Polartec Neoshell. Polartec Powershield was used to add breathability and range of motion to the harness of the bib, while Schoeller fabrics added detailing and needed abrasion to the lower pant leg. Ideal Fastener Corporation zippers, and buckles and clasps from Duraflex were also used.

Mussman was one of six students, including runner-up Lauren Mellor, selected to participate in the eighth cycle of Project OR, an intense 48-hour concept-to-prototype design competition meant to inspire innovative outdoor fashion.

The winning designer receives an all-expenses-paid return trip to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012, and a highlight article in Textile Insight.

Hyperbola, manufacturer of BOLA-TEX soft shell, and Malakye.com, an online networking and career-building resource for the action sports and outdoor industry, and Bemis, manufacturer of heat activated film adhesives and seam tapes were presenting sponsors for Project OR at Winter Market 2012.

Participating material suppliers include Hyperbola, Allied Feather & Down, Bemis, Brookwood, INVISTA, CORDURA, Polartec, Schoeller and Rogers Corporation.

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 in the coming week in a news brief from Outdoor Retailer.

Outdoor Retailer will present the next cycle of Project OR at Summer Market, August 2-5, 2012.

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