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Designer wins competition with rockin' jacket

February 5, 2009

On Jan. 26, in Salt Lake City, Utah, after two demanding days of creating concept boards, sourcing materials, making patterns, cutting out designs, and sewing, the winner for the 2009 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Project OR was announced. CSU senior, Ronald Rod was named the victor.

Stiff competition

Rod entered Project OR with four other students, representing the top design schools around the nation. Needless to say, it was stiff competition.

The challenge was to design a prototype that was creative, inventive and incorporated eco-friendly materials.

“It was an exciting opportunity. I heard about the contest after another CSU student, Amie Morrow, went to last season’s contest. It was a natural fit for me, as I have long wanted to design in the outdoor industry. So I asked if I could compete in the winter show. Sure enough, they let me in,” says Rod.

Rock out with your friends and keep your hands warm

The design Rod came up with for the competition was a women’s soft shell mid-layer jacket for skiing, titled “The Rocker.”

But this is no average ski jacket. This one comes with a fully functioning stereo system. Two speakers are built into the collar and a touch remote system is assembled into the sleeve so users can listen to their favorite jams while tearing up the slopes. The speakers are also capable of connecting to a Bluetooth phone or a two-way radio. And that’s not it, the pockets warm up your hands!

“I incorporated the technology into the jacket first for safety, and secondly for 'the wow factor'. Being able to listen to music while skiing is great, as it helps get me into a great rhythm while sliding down the slopes,” says Rod, “But, I hate having headphones in, as I cannot hear anyone around me - be it my ski partner who just smacked a tree or the beginner snowboarder who is about to barrel into me. This led me to dream up the speaker system.”


The finished designs were judged by an extraordinary group of six designers and trendsetters, including Alan Yiu of Westcomb Outerwear, Pam Theodosakis of prAna, and Skip Yowell of JanSport.

“I felt pretty good. While the other students could sketch really well, I had them beat on concept and execution. I think that actually being an avid skier allowed me to create a highly functional design. The judges as well as the spectators really enjoyed my creation,” Rod says.

Do it yourself

“I started designing because I thought I could make a better product than what was available on the market. Also, it was much cheaper to sew things myself than it was to buy new. I have always been the do-it-yourself type of guy, so it's kind of natural for me,” says Rod

Rod is majoring in apparel and merchandising with emphasis on design and production.

Contact: Anh Ha
Phone: (970) 491-4161