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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Fashion Merchandising Program Offers New Hands-on Experience

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Dec. 14, 2012) –  Students in the University of Central Missouri’s Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program have added a new dimension to their educational experiences with the development of a project that will allow them to market a product designed and produced by students in the program.

Tie and Scarf presentation
UCM President Chuck Ambrose, second from left, receives a necktie from UCM senior Lauren Riddle, third from left, as part of the Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program that provides hands-on experiences for students. Also present were, left to right, Alice Greife, dean of the College of Health, Science, and Technology; Lynn Alkire, coordinator of the Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program; and Melissa Abner and Keli Giesendorfer, fashion and apparel merchandising faculty members.

Students began marketing a silk woman’s scarf and man’s necktie during UCM’s Homecoming celebration in October. The tie and scarf combines an original textile print design by Lauren Riddle, a senior from Montgomery City, Mo., with the UCM logo. Riddle created the design as a class project and submitted it, along with other students in the class. Once selected, the design was copyrighted and a patent application completed with the assistance of the university legal counsel. Proceeds from the sale of the products will be returned to the Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program.

The tie or scarf may be purchased online at, or by contacting the Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program at, or in the office of the Dean of the College of Health, Science, and Technology in Administration 105.

According Lynn Alkire, Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program coordinator, the idea from the project arose from a desire to offer students a hands-on opportunity to design, develop and manufacture a product while marketing it for a profit.

“The model unique because it is embedded into each required fashion class that builds as the courses are taken in sequence,” she said. “It is a mini-business within an academic program that allows students to take ownership from concept to consumer.” Students involved in the program are under the supervision of Alkire and fashion and merchandising faculty members Melissa Abner and Keli Giesendorfer.

Students are also required to apply problem-solving and critical thinking skills throughout the project, much as they would encounter when during their careers. For example, after the textile design had been selected, a product chosen and a manufacturer found, the sample for the necktie was not correct when delivered from the manufacturer. Students were required to determine an alternative plan of action to assure delivery of the finished product on deadline.

As with any new business, start-up expenditures are incurred. In time, profits from the sales of the products will directly back to students as advanced technical equipment needed to create products.

“Initial feedback has been overwhelming,” Alkire said. “This is an ongoing process. When students finish their fashion courses, they will have participated in four product lines from beginning to end.”

The Fashion and Apparel Merchandising program has been in existence at UCM for more than 100 years. Recently accredited by the American Association for Family and Consumer Sciences, it is the only program of its type in Missouri to hold the accreditation. The program is located in the College of Health, Science, and Technology, under the direction of Dean Alice Greife, and the School of Technology, under the direction of Chair Doug Koch.