Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
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SoHE Design Students Learn from Local Street Wear Shop Owner Rob Bowhan

Image: Students show off the garments they designed in Professor Angus’s Printing & Dyeing class, with Rob Bowhan.

In early November, a dozen-plus fashionably clad students were gathered in Nancy Nicholas Hall’s third-floor atrium, sunlight spilling through the 100 Women Wall of Honor as each prepared to present the results of a weeks-long design project. They were students in Professor Jennifer Angus’s “Printing and Dyeing” textile design course, and they were presenting not just to their fellow students and Angus, but also to a special guest: Rob Bowhan, owner of August, a sleek, high-end street wear shop on Madison’s State Street shopping corridor.

Bowhan watched as each student presented a mood board, two finished garments, and a branded hang tag, describing their process and inspiration. He and Professor Angus then offered feedback on the students’ work and passed around the items for a closer look and for other students to engage with the pieces.

Bowhan’s visit continues a project he initiated last year in an effort to connect with budding young designers and offer them his expertise and guidance. Several weeks prior to the students’ presentations, he had invited them to visit his shop and ask questions about his own curation process and business experience.

“I love the ideas and energy these creatives bring to the table, and I firmly believe in the value of mentoring and leadership,” Bowhan said of his own inspiration for starting the partnership. “I wouldn’t be where I am to day if it hadn’t been for some great mentors I had in my own life.”

The students appreciate the opportunity, too.

“It’s just great to hear directly from someone doing the thing I’m interested in,” said one. “While it was intimidating at first, I really took a lot from his feedback and questions, and also from his experience that he shared.”

The class wrapped up with a series of group photos and smiles all around.