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Top Universities and Design Students Chosen for Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 Project OR

May 12, 2011

Media Contact

Maura Lansford, SOAR Communications, p 801.656.0472 x2(wk), c 817.929.8123,

Chip Smith, SOAR Communications, p 801.656.0472 x1, c 801.597.7515,


Five design students from around the country have been chosen to compete in the seventh cycle of Project OR, the industry’s original 48-hour concept-to-prototype design competition held during Outdoor Retailer Summer Market August 4-7, 2011. A sixth contestant chosen by will be announced in the coming weeks.

The first five Summer Market 2011 competitors are:

  • Nicole Naftzger – Junior at Oklahoma State University. Summer 2011 intern at Black and Pink Dance Supplies, where she will create dance costumes and custom orders.
  • Amy Dorie – Junior at San Francisco State University. Currently completing a line for SFSU’s spring fashion show entitled “Seaside Romance” featuring casual spring looks.
  • Ellen Johnson – Junior at University of Wisconsin-Stout. Member of UW-Stout’s Water Ski Team, avid snowboarder with an appreciation and eye for functional clothing design.
  • Jessica Walther – Junior at Louisiana State University. President of LSU wakeboarding team with a passion for reducing the apparel industry’s impact on the environment.
  • John-Paul Trang – Junior at University of Rhode Island School of Design and an avid snowboarder, cyclist and surfer. He recently worked on a knitwear collection inspired by “the modern pharaoh’s Aspen ski holiday.”

Expanded biographies of the each of the contestants are available on the Summer Market Project OR web page.

“Each cycle of Project OR exposes the industry to some of the brightest new apparel design talent and gives us all a shot of inspiration to see these young designers’ creativity and enthusiasm,” said Kenji Haroutunian, vice president at Nielsen Expositions and OR show director. “I’m looking forward to seeing how this group of students responds to the challenge and am sure they’ll continue performing at the incredible level we’ve seen in the previous six editions of Project OR.”

On opening morning of the show, the students will be given a design brief from which they’ll make initial sketches, source materials from the fabric and garment component manufacturers on the show floor, and race the clock to build a prototype before the 48-hour time limit expires.

The final prototypes will be judged by a panel of Outdoor Retailer-selected design, supplier and manufacturer industry professionals that will carefully review each stage of the contestants’ work. The winner of Project OR Cycle 7 will be declared in the afternoon of day three after each designer has given a rigorous final presentation.

Summer Market 2011 Project OR presenting sponsors are Aventura and Ascent Douglas. Supporting sponsors are and Hyperbola.

For more information about Project OR sponsorship opportunities or becoming a Project OR supplier, please contact Marisa Nicholson at or 949.226.5760.

Webisodes of past Project OR competitions can be found on

About Outdoor Retailer

Outdoor Retailer (OR) brings together retailers, manufacturers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of outdoor recreation through tradeshows, product demo events and web-based business solutions. Produced by Nielsen Expositions and based in San Juan Capistrano, California, Outdoor Retailer also provides and promotes retailer education, advocacy, responsibility and critical face-to-face business initiatives within the outdoor industry. 

Now celebrating 30 years, Outdoor Retailer ( connects approximately 40,000 attendees on a semi-annual basis for its Summer and Winter Market shows, and thousands more through its year-round online resources and platforms.
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