On the weekend of March 3rd, the WVU Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab, partnered with the Davis College of Agriculture Natural Resources and Design, and WVU Extension Services to host the 2023 Fashion Impact Challenge. WVU Extension Services and the Davis College host this event to help give high school students the chance to learn more about fashion, design, and entrepreneurship. This event consisted of high school students, who are from the entire state of WV, paired in teams with current WVU students majoring in design, fashion, and merchandising. The challenge called for students to develop an innovative, sustainable, and profitable solution that tackles some of the most difficult challenges within the Appalachian region while relating to the fashion industry.
Friday was the first day of the Fashion Impact Challenge. High school students had their first meeting at the LaunchLab, and they learned about the steps involved with the general process of ideation and commercialization. The high school students were placed into teams and introduced to their WVU student counterparts. The parameters of the challenge were introduced along with the meaningful impact it provides. Completing the day, the students finished up by brainstorming ideas to begin working toward a business venture.
On Saturday, the students worked on making their individual products at the WVU Fashion Lab. They continued to work on their business idea as well as creating a power point for the pitch competition. High school students were able to learn about the physical side of fashion and how to create real products. This was a day focused on fashion and expanding their knowledge on all things tailored.
The participants arrived at the LaunchLab early in the morning on Sunday, the final day of the Fashion Impact Challenge. Students were then provided an hour to make any final adjustments to their pitches and practice their presentations with feedback from WVU Extension Services. There were three teams that pitched to judges. After all three teams had pitched, the judges deliberated. The team who won contributed the idea to donate clothes to women’s shelters and give back to the WV community. The Fashion Impact Challenge was a great opportunity for high school students to learn about fashion and entrepreneurship. The Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab is excited to continue this partnership for future Fashion Impact Challenges.