University Student Constructs An Ice Climbing Pant In 48 Hours

Melany Stephens Project OR Winner

Melany Stephens, a student at Oklahoma State University, designed a women’s ice climbing pant for Project OR, a design competition taking place during the Winter Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 19-22nd.

Every year, Project OR selects five design students to create functional outdoor apparel using performance and Eco-friendly materials, all within a 48 hour period. Stevens designed a stretchable, water resistant ice climbing pant to meet the specifications outlined by Project OR, that includes flexibility, protection and versatility. Stevens’ clean, feminine take on the specialized technical garment, combined with a modern look using targeted incorporation of color, won over the panel of industry design gurus judging the entries.

“My focus is in custom bridal wear so coming to Project OR was a new challenge,” Stevens said. “I like being exposed to new apparel and new fabrics. It’s changed my perception and I’m going to really look in this industry for opportunities in the future.”

Stevens’ climbing pant featured water resistant, stretch fabric from Schoeller, reflective piping from JRC Reflex, padding for knees and shins from Poron, YKK zippers, and buckles and zipper pulls from ITW Nexus.

“Pants were a whole new category we’d never approached before, which was a great change of pace that brought out a lot of creativity from the designers,” said Kenji Haroutunian, Outdoor Retailer show director. “I saw really diverse designs that showed a very new way of approaching a highly technical piece of apparel.”

As the winner of Project OR, Stevens receives an all-expenses-paid return trip to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market ’11 and a profile in Textile Insight. For more information on Project OR, visit the Project OR Site HERE or log onto

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