Design and Merchandising Research and Creative
Ms. Doreen Beard
Doreen Beard joined the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising in January 2014 as the Director of Operations and Engagement. She graduated from CSU with a B.A. in History and holds an M.B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University.
Doreen’s responsibilities at the Avenir Museum include
- executive leadership
- fiscal oversight
- development of external fundraising and partnerships
- cultivation of effective relationships with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, and
- direction of brand identity and promotion of the Avenir Museum’s mission, programs, and collection of historic dress and textiles.
Doreen has broad curatorial, heritage research, and community engagement experience in the management of historic sites and material culture collections in both government and university settings.
Dr. Sonali Diddi
In a society that increasingly is emphasizing a lot on materialism and over consumption, there is a diminishing differentiation between needs vs. wants. This may require a paradigm shift in thinking, which is possible through awareness and education regarding the effects of consumption.
Dr. Diddi’s overall research focus is Sustainable Fashion Consumption and Production. She specifically examines the need to address whole provisioning systems including clothing consumption practices and production conditions, as well as life-cycle impacts and the economic, political, social, and cultural imperatives that compel consumerist lifestyles.
Her research has components related to corporate social responsibility of apparel companies, social-psychological aspects that influence consumption, post-consumer textile waste in landfills, and its effects on human health and public policy implications.
To address the alarming rate of fashion consumption, she strongly believes in conducting transdisciplinary research that takes into account different stakeholder perspectives and engage in systems thinking to develop transformative solutions that encourage sustainable consumption.
Another stream of her research explores education to promote SFCP. Early intervention through education and awareness may influence future generations to engage in sustainable consumption and disposal practices.
Discussion regarding individual clothing consumption choices on the environment is scarce in the K-12 curricula in the U.S. Her current research addresses this topic to develop a framework of SFCP that includes education and awareness as an important element.
Dr. Diddi works with scholars globally to address the complex challenges associated with SFCP. She works closely with Future Earth – an international research platform and a 10-year initiative to advance global sustainability science. It has identified eight challenge areas and one of them is Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production.
She is one of the founding members of Future Earth Global Knowledge Action Network that aims to strengthen collaboration between communities of researchers and practitioners that are currently focused on either production or consumption, including actors, decision makers, and other stakeholders.
2016-2017 – Diddi, S. & Yan, R-N. Needs assessment of high school sustainability-related curricula: Exploring avenues to incorporate environmental literacy focusing on clothing consumption and disposal. College of Health and Human Sciences – Mini Grants Program, $10,000. Principal Investigator.
2017-2018 – Diddi, S., Yan, R-N, Opp, S., Carcassan, M., Bloodhart, B., & McShane, K. Clothing and Sustainability: Policy Implications through Structured Public Deliberation. School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES), $20,000. Principal Investigator.
Dr. Karen Hyllegard
Dr. Karen H. Hyllegard is the Department Head for Design and Merchandising and Professor in the Apparel and Merchandising Program.
Her research interests include advertising and promotion, international marketing and retailing, and socially-responsible business practices related to apparel marketing and retailing.
She has published research exploring consumer response to sustainability in retail store design, environmentally-friendly and fair labor marketing claims, and cause-related marketing.
In 2015, Dr. Hyllegard and colleagues received a grant from the American Honda Foundation to fund the development of Fashion FUNdamentals: STEM enrichment program for girls. Dr. Hyllegard and her colleagues have continued to be funded for this Summer program by the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grant (2017) and are excited to offer this program for the fourth consecutive year.
Dr. Hyllegard received the Vice President for Research Bright Spot Award in 2013, and the Emerald Citations of Excellence Award for her winning paper in 2015.
She is a member of the International Textile and Apparel Association and a Fellow of the Center for Retailing, University of South Carolina.
Dr. Katie Knowles
Dr. Katie Knowles is an Assistant Professor and the Curator of the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising. Her interdisciplinary research combines object-based study with fashion studies, material culture studies, feminist theory, and methods of historic archival sources.
She has published articles and book chapters related to her dissertation research on enslaved peoples’ clothing in the antebellum U.S. South and is currently working on a book manuscript from that research.
This project was supported by a Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History, as well as the Ida B. Wells Graduate Fellowship from the Coordinating Council of Women in History and the Stella Blum Research Grant from the Costume Society of America.
As Curator of the Avenir Museum, Dr. Knowles is responsible for directing the exhibition program in the museum’s four galleries. Since joining the museum and department in 2017, she has curated exhibitions on African kanga fabric, the influence of Christian Dior’s “New Look” on American fashion, and the use of the museum’s permanent collection in the classroom.
She teaches courses in Historic Costume, Historic Textiles, and Collections Care and Exhibitions, which are held in a classroom in the museum building and regularly involve hands-on student experience by examining and researching collection objects.
Dr. Yan Vivian Li
Dr. Yan Vivian Li joined the Department of Design and Merchandising at CSU in 2013. Dr. Li obtained a Ph.D. from the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design at Cornell University and a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in Materials Science and Engineering from Donghua University in Shanghai, China.
Prior to joining CSU, Dr. Li had her postdoctoral training in the Kaust-Cornell Center for Energy and Sustainability (2009-2013) where she developed nanostructured material technology for enhancing oil and gas exploration and production.
There is a constant need to upgrade the functions and performance of textiles and apparel for the improvement of protection and living conditions. Dr. Li is aimed at addressing this need by focusing on the development of multifunctional textiles and apparel through the application of nanotechnology. Her research seeks to fundamentally understand, assess, and control the functionality and performance of fibers and fabrics at the nanoscale.
Dr. Laura Malinin
Dr. Laura Malinin, a registered architect (Texas) and cognitive scientist, joined the Department of Design and Merchandising at CSU in 2013. Her research is at the intersection of environmental design and cognitive psychology focusing on the role of the designed environment (from artifacts to architecture) in human creativity and cognitive well-being.
At the core of her research program, she examines embodied creativity from a trans-disciplinary perspective by examining physically-situated cognitive processes involved in design creativity (psycho-spatial dynamics), from both process and place perspectives. She has published on topics ranging from theoretical models of embodied creativity and perception to place-based education and service learning.
Her place-focused research considers the psychological, physiological, and sociological impacts of designed environments on creative resilience and includes school design, workplace design, and designs for healthy aging. Dr. Malinin was appointed as the inaugural director of the Nancy Richardson Design Center in January 2018.
Dr. Nancy Miller
Nancy J. Miller, professor in the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University, has made numerous contributions to the field of textiles and clothing through research involving small businesses and entrepreneurship, rural marketplace exchange, family-owned businesses, minority owned businesses, business networks, older consumers, and international marketing of apparel products.
She is the author of more than 50 journal publications and has received more than $2M in funding for multi-state, multi-disciplinary research from agencies such as USDA’s National Research Initiative, Fund for Rural America, and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Miller’s research has been integrated with teaching and outreach in a variety of ways.
She has developed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Apparel Merchandising with emphasis on small business and entrepreneurship opportunities. Research findings have served independent apparel store owners in rural communities and several former students have started small apparel store businesses.
Dr. Miller was recognized by the International Textiles and Apparel Association as the 2010 Pearson Prentice Hall Lecturer for Outstanding Contributions to the Field, and made an ITAA Fellow in 2014
Dr. Jennifer Ogle
Dr. Jennifer Paff Ogle is a Professor of Design and Merchandising and a Faculty Affiliate of Women’s Interdisciplinary Studies at Colorado State University.
Her research interests include the body, appearance, and self as situated in the socio-cultural context. Specific inquiry streams include body image and satisfaction, appearance socialization, dress, and appearance as components of subject formation/identity/self, dress and appearance experiences of marginalized populations, and apparel and merchandising as a vehicle for girls’ STEM education.
Working in collaborative, interdisciplinary teams, she has generated over $615,000 in funding to support her work and has published in a variety of scholarly journals from diverse disciplines, including textiles and clothing, sociology, consumer behavior, marketing, youth/child development, and family and health studies.
Since 2015, she has co-directed Fashion FUNdamentals, an educational enrichment program that invokes fashion as a catalyst to ignite middle school girls’ interest in the STEM disciplines and to support their self-esteem.
Dr. Ogle is a Fellow of the University of South Carolina, Center for Retailing. She has been invited to share her research in presentations at universities in the US and abroad and has earned “Paper of Distinction” awards at the International Textiles and Apparel Association conferences in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2017.
Ms. Megan Osborne
Megan Osborne is the Assistant Curator and Collections Manager of the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising. Megan is a graduate of CSU, and also holds an M.A. in the History of Decorative Arts from the Corcoran College of Art and Design.
She has worked with numerous clothing and textile collections around the country including the collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, as well as a selection of local history museums and private collections along the east coast and in the rocky mountain west.
Megan oversees the day to day management and maintenance of the Avenir collection as well as a growing program of student and community volunteers.
She has also curated Avenir exhibitions, including three inaugural exhibitions to celebrate the Avenir Museum re-opening in 2016; Mr. Blackwell Artist of Subtle Witchery, Tiny Bits and Pieces: Miniature Quilts From the Lucile Hawks Collection, Layer of Meaning: Color and Design in Guatemalan Textiles Parts 1&2.
Mr. Conrad Rathmann
- Liminal conditions
- Haptics of materials
- Conditions of support
- Building and dwelling
My research interests orbit elliptically around twin poles of emotion and rationality. While there is no denying the emotional impact of great spaces or novel forms, these needs must be realized through actual materials that have both enormous potential and definite limitations.
In my research I seek to align and connect the thinking of Phenomenology and Anthroposophic philosophy with the technical analysis of Kenneth Frampton and the and expressive design of Rudolf Steiner.
The touchstones of my interests lie in the Phenomenology of philosophers, theoreticians, and practitioners such as Martin Heidegger, Christian Norberg-Schulz, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Steven Holl. This is expressed through a study of the boundaries of built space as an analogue to the boundaries of natural space.
How these boundaries are expressed is grounded in Gottfried Semper’s Four Elements of Architecture. These provide a bridge between the emotional/expressive and rational/constructional approaches to architecture. As a nonspatial, programmatic, element, the hearth provides support to our emotional as well as physical needs.
By its physical cutting, moving, and shaping of the ground, the earthwork indelibly marks a place on the land. Through clearly articulated, or carefully obfuscated, material connections the framework shows the ways in which load and support interact.
The physical act of connection expressed in the weaving, tiling, or attachment of piece to piece, forming the enclosing membrane and attaching the enclosing membrane to the frame grows out of our oldest craft traditions.
In his “Studies in Tectonic Culture”, Kenneth Frampton outlines the split between earthwork and framework as essentially a split between stereotomic and tectonic methods.
He has described this split as essentially a conversation between earth and sky. Stereotomic materials are those that tend toward the ground and find their usefulness in stacking and compression. Tectonic materials are those that tend toward the sky and find their usefulness in framing and tension.
In the early part of the 20th Century, the German theologian and philosopher Rudolf Steiner also sought to categorize our existence as tending either toward earth or sky. Steiner categorized our thoughts, actions, and emotions into two categories: the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic.
In the Goetheanum he designed and built for his Anthroposophic community Steiner placed a sculpture of his own making that shows a representative figure of man, balanced in pose, with figures of Lucifer being absorbed into the earth, and Ahriman rising to the sky.
Steiner intended these to show the balance between earthly and spiritual, between rational and emotional, that we must achieve if we are to be our best selves. It is my contention that we can also ascribe these qualities to materials themselves.
Much as Frampton categorizes certain materials as essentially stereotomic, we can say that there are materials that are essentially Luciferic (earthbound). As Frampton categorizes certain materials as essentially tectonic, we can say that there are certain materials that are essentially Ahrimanic (rising).
Further, like Steiner’s representative figure of man, who maintains balance, great architecture is that which maintains an interplay and balance (though perhaps at times dynamic) between Luciferic and Ahrimanic tendencies.
It is with this categorization, that my research looks to close the loop. By introducing a spirituality of materials, it supplements Norberg-Schulz’s genius loci and Pallasmaa’s feeling for space. In taking from the earth and the sky, it is situated in that place that Heidegger calls dwelling, the world, on the earth and under the sky, as the house where mortals dwell.
Dr. Leah Scolere
Dr. Leah Scolere (Ph.D., Cornell University, Communication) is a designer and an assistant professor of interior architecture and design in the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University.
As a designer and media researcher, Dr. Scolere’s interdisciplinary focus exists at the intersection of communication technologies, designed environments, and well-being.
Her research interests include connective technologies and interactive environments; creative labor; visual communication, and the future of design work practices. Scolere holds an M.A. degree and a B.S. degree in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University.
Dr. Diane Sparks
The main thrust of Dr. Sparks’ research has been cross-cultural design transposition from traditional Asian sources to contemporary American wearable art.
Asian aesthetic has been the main source of inspiration for the apparel design creative scholarship that has been exhibited in juried international exhibitions.
Design work by Dr. Sparks has combined use of a traditional Japanese technique for pleating fabrics (Shibori) with digital textile printing.
Current work investigates the surface of metallic textiles as they are disrupted in the pleating process.
Designs have been disseminated primarily at the annual juried design competition of the International Textile and Apparel Association.