T-Minus 151 Design Competition

Spring 2020

Design a manufacturable product for the Rochester Refugee Kitimaya retail brand using upcycled clothing and simple sewing techniques.

My role: Project manager and designer

Team: Caleb DeSmith, Gina La Rosa, Gwen Riemer

Objective
​Design a new accessory that fits into the existing Kitimaya retail brand that is:
  • Desirable (will it sell?)
  • Feasible (can it be manufactured with the resources they have?)
  • Viable (will it turn a profit and be a sustainable addition to their business?)
The Brand

Rochester Refugee Sewing and Repair work to provide flexible, well-paid work to local refugees, that takes full advantage of the unique blend of cultures and skills.

They are currently manufacturing masks, bags, headbands and scrunchies.

Solution
Earrings made with a simple, easily automated twisting process
  • Clean and durable manufacturing technique
  • Can be made with a wide variety of different materials
  • Cost-effective (mass-produced, metal earring piece can be sourced for less than 20 cents per pair, or made by hand)
Twisting Process
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Packaging

Drawstring bag using the same fabrics as the earrings

Final Presentation

My team won first place in our category. There are future plans to work with management at Rochester Refugee to integrate our design into their existing accessories line.