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MU Students Teach, Learn in El Salvador Textile Factory

MU students help factory develop own brand, apparel line

Aug. 01, 2012

Story Contact(s):
Nathan Hurst, hurstn@missouri.edu, 573-882-6217

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— Providing students with opportunities to learn inside and outside the classroom is a primary goal of the University of Missouri. This summer, two MU graduate students experienced this opportunity on an international level. Laura McAndrews and Stephanie Link, graduate students in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, spent six weeks working in an apparel production factory in El Salvador. The MU students lent their expertise in apparel product development to the factory employees.

“Many Central American textile and apparel factories are hired by U.S. firms to manufacture products for U.S. consumers. They often lack the ability to produce their own original apparel lines,” said McAndrews, who is a textile and apparel management doctoral student. “We helped teach factory workers how to make their own patterns and designs. This will go a long way in helping them become more independent and profitable.”

The MU students partnered with the Salvadoran company TexOps, which is working to create its own brand of yoga apparel named “Wear It To Heart” (W.I.T.H.) that will be marketed in the United States. McAndrews and Link collaborated with TexOps managers and showed factory workers how to design patterns for the W.I.T.H. line as well as develop guidelines for fitting procedures. The MU students said the opportunity to learn while teaching was priceless.

“This trip gave me an opportunity to experience a different perspective of the apparel industry,” said Link, a master’s student in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. “I learned so much about the processes of mass production and gained incredibly valuable hands-on experience and knowledge.”

“Working with TexOps helped me learn how to verbalize what I already knew,” McAndrews said. “I also gained a great deal of industry knowledge that will serve me well in the future.”

“This is a prime example of how MU is truly globally engaged,” said Jung Ha-Brookshire, an assistant professor in the textile and apparel management department at MU. “It is wonderful to be able to provide these unique experiences to our students as well as a valuable service to the industry and to people in other countries.”

McAndrews and Link say they hope to return to El Salvador in the future if the W.I.T.H. yoga line finds success.

 

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