By James Marien —
While it may seem like fashion has reached the peak of its evolution, and sports safety has reached an unsurpassable threshold, two University of Wisconsin–Stout students are doing all they can to break those boundaries. Daniel Weispfennig and Ilse Wolbank both took third place in two separate national competitions.
Weispfenning, a senior from St. Paul, Minn., entered his protective water polo cap into the Industrial Fabrics Association International Advanced Textiles Student Design Challenge and took third place. Because of the weakness of the rigid plastic in commercial water polo caps, the ear covering can weaken and crack. This can cause water to shoot into the ear and cause damage to the eardrum. Weispfenning’s design made sure no such thing could occur.
The cap, which is made of hydrophobic mesh fabric and four separate layers of rubber, was inspired by Weispfenning’s cooperative education at Adidas headquarters in Germany. Working in the soccer division, he was exposed to popular European sports, such as water polo. He hopes to continue to work in sports design, and to work on original protective sportswear.
Wolbank, a senior from Hudson, Wis., and one of only two Student Artists-in-Residence at Stout, submitted her faux athletic wear to the Cotton Incorporated National Student Design Competition and also took third place. Her “athleisure” design, a trend meant to look athletic but serve no actual athletic purpose, merged athletic design with the bandaged, wrapped look of Japanese clothing.
Using one of Cotton Incorporated’s knit fabrics and one of their woven fabrics for the design, Wolbank’s original paper design made the top ten after four weeks of designing. Her final product contained a jacket, top and pant piece, along with an additional matching sweater. Receiving third place in the contest further motivated Wolbank’s drive toward the manufacturing and production aspect of the clothing industry.
Wolbank and Weispfenning are proud representatives of Stout, and their participation in national competitions shows the ability of Stout students to succeed, even when pitted against larger schools across the country. The two will continue to design and innovate in the apparel design field after graduation.