From a UNI Press Release: A $1.4 million gift for the benefit of the University of Northern Iowa's textiles and apparel program has been given to the UNI Foundation by Lectra as part of its Education Partner Program. The gift includes software and upgrades, as needed, that will enable student designers to create textile weave, knit and print patterns and apply the patterns to apparel designs, along with many other creative possibilities.
Lectra is a world leader in its market in software CAD CAM equipment and related services dedicated to large scale users of textiles, leather and industrial fabrics, according to Annette Lynch, UNI professor of textiles and apparel. "The UNI TAPP Program is, literally, on the cutting edge with this software, adopting it at the same time as leading companies, such as Target. This selective donation makes us competitive with other larger textile and apparel programs throughout the country."
Dr. Sharon Mord started teaching using Kaledo during the fall semester to design print patterns for apparel products. Mord stressed the ease of using Kaledo in combination with Adobe design software: ''Using the new Kaledo software, we can develop fabric prints in a multitude of colorways with industry standard Pantone color chips and open them effortlessly in Adobe Illustrator.'' Jon Weiland, a TAPP Senior who interned at Target in Minneapolis last summer, has a job offer at Target when he graduates in May. He credits the UNI TAPP program's commitment to maintaining industry forward software for his ability to compete with other design students from across the country for this plum placement at Target.
Dr. Mitchell Strauss will be teaching students how to design woven and knit patterns in his class this spring. He also speaks highly of the software: ''The magic of Kaledo for me as a teacher of textile science is that it allows a student to create a myriad of essential woven and knit fabric structures and view them instantly in a virtual environment. Student involvement with Kaledo simultaneously supports their creative and technical development in the creation of essential textile materials. Being skilled with Kaledo sets UNI Textile and Apparel students apart from other students in the same discipline.''
This high level of technical and creative skill has resulted in strong placements for TAPP graduates. Lynch said UNI graduates are currently working in product development and design at top companies including Under Armour in Baltimore, Target in Minneapolis, Lands' End in Wisconsin, Cabela's in Nebraska, Ralph Lauren Polo in New York, J Crew in New York, Kohl's in Milwaukee, Gymboree in San Francisco, Maurice's in Duluth and Christopher and Banks in Minneapolis, among others.
"In order to continue to place students in these top design positions we need to make sure they go out the door at UNI with the right skills and background in the computer aided design area," she said.
UNI's textiles and apparel program has had a continuing relationship with Lectra since the company's $2.3 million donation of software in 1999. At the time, it was the largest corporate donation ever given to UNI through the UNI Foundation. Lectra's current gift is part of the UNI Foundation's $150 million "Imagine the Impact" campaign.
(photo courtesy of Molly Wade, UNI photographer)