Department of Design presented the first Shark Tank Competition winners

The Department of Design awarded two Shark Tank Competition scholarship awards on Sept. 19.

Seniors Allison Martin and Shari Smith won first and second prize.

The Shark Tank Competition scholarship is awarded to two design students who have the best vision for the senior clothing line. The award was presented by Nancy Artis, the donor of the scholarship.

“The Fashion Shark Tank competition challenged students with the intersection of the market analysis and their senior design lines,” Artis said. “In conjunction with the department’s professors, we helped the fashion design students understand that creative high fashion means both high risk and high potential rewards.”

The Shark Tank Competition was held for the first time this year. The scholarship was created for rising seniors and based upon their Senior Design Collection. The students presented their clothing lines to three judges, with criterion ranging from value provided to the customer to flexibility. Martin’s senior line is titled “The Working Woman” and Smith’s is called “Hometown Girl.”


L-R: Dr. John Jacob, Allison Martin, Shari Smith and Nancy Artis.

“This award has helped me explore more fabric options that I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered,” said Martin. “I am very into the hand of the fabric and I was able to travel to different states to discover unique textiles because of the Shark Tank scholarship.”

Martin’s senior line is designed for a woman that enjoys comfort and class in a professional setting.

“My line was inspired by the customers that shop at Garrett's and Meg's, the boutique I’ve worked at for the past two years,” Martin said. “My line is designed to fill the void in the market of women's garments with pockets. Most women's career wear is black, boring and impractical.”

Smith, the other Shark Tank award winner, also took advantage of being able to acquire unique textiles.

“The award will help me begin my career by assisting and make my senior line dream a reality,” Smith said. “I'll be able to purchase the quality fabrics I need to really make my pieces stand out and be worthy of a presence in store windows.”

Smith’s senior line consisted of two wedding dresses – one short and one long – inspired by the country bride.

“My senior line consists of two wedding dresses, one short and one long, a fun and flirty romper, a skirt and top ensemble that looks as if it's one piece, like a bridesmaid dress,” Smith said. “The other dress consists of trousers with a lace camisole, suspenders and sheer jacket.

“Faculty members helped me shape my vision with the help of my internship in Bowling Green, Ohio,” Smith continued. “I met a lot of country brides and they were looking for the sort of style I created.”

Smith credits both her internship at Seams to Fit and Jamie, “the woman I interned for in Ohio, and an old family friend” in helping her win the award.

Sep 29, 2016
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749