Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
News & Events

Textiles & Fashion Design students and alum win top spots in NEXTILE design challenge

Maia Rauh x’24, Lucy Weber ’23 and Emma Stavenhagen x’24 swept the competition in the inaugural NEXTILE: The Soy in Textiles Design Challenge. Working as a team, Rauh and Weber won first place, while Stavenhagen won second place for her individual project.

One image features three headshots of women smiling. Woman on left has curly light brown hair and is wearing a light blue sweater. Woman in center has wavy brown hair and is wearing a black T-shirt. Woman on right has long wavy hair and is waring a white sweater with a green scarf.
From left to right: Textiles & Fashion Design student Maia Rauh x’24, alum Lucy Weber ’23 and student Emma Stavenhagen x’24

Applicants from across the country competed to create the next great innovation in soy-based products. Students in Marianne Fairbanks’ — Audrey Rothermel Bascom Professor and associate professor of Design Studies — classes were invited to leverage their creative and problem-solving skills to produce the next sustainable innovation in textile design.

Rauh and Weber created a soy-based candle that takes on multiple forms after its last burn. With this candle that can become a glass, bookmark, compostable paper lid and coaster — Rauh and Weber hope their product invites consumers to appreciate the handcrafted appeal of each element and discover functional uses to incorporate into their lifestyles. As first place winners, Rauh and Weber advanced to compete for a scholarship prize in the NEXTILE national finals.

A sketch rendering of the soy-based candle. The hand-drawn sketches show the different elements of the candle used as a cocktail glass, coaster and bookmark.
Rauh and Weber’s Three Bean candle invites consumers to discover the many functional uses of the product after its last burn.

Stavenhagen created a quilted bedding collection that uses sustainable properties of soybean fabric. Soy is machine washable and non-toxic — perfect for bedding products geared toward eco-conscious consumers who want luxurious, environmental-responsible options. Stavenhagen designed digital illustrations to show how soybean fabric can be beautifully incorporated into functional, everyday bedroom linens.

Digital illustrations of quilted bedding products. Patterns include gray, brown and multicolors with tan, yellow and black.
Stavenhagen created digital illustrations of fabric samples using Polytex, Maiwa natural dye, and roving.

Congratulations to the winners – human ecologists making an impact in the textiles and design world.