Designer Of The Week

With eight of her clothing designs already being sold in stores, 21-year-old Caitlin Moore said her recent success with Belk clothing is still surreal beyond belief.

“My family and I went to the store while I was home last and to see them hanging on the rack with my picture next to it, it was just weird,” Moore said.

Moore said around the same time last year she had just won the denim runway competition that Tech’s apparel design and manufacturing does annually, and after receiving that award, her mom suggested she enter a competition Belk was putting on at the time. Moore said the contest winner would ultimately have the opportunity of having their clothing showcased and bought for Belk online and in stores.

Caitlin with her denim dress design. She won last year's denim runway competition that Tech's apparel design and manufacturing puts on every year.

Caitlin (on the right) with her denim dress design. She won last year’s denim runway competition that Tech’s apparel design and manufacturing puts on every year.

Moore said she had two weeks before the deadline to come up with 10 designs for the company, but she only submitted four she had made previously because she didn’t have time to complete the requested number.

Moore said after sending off four pictures of her designs she received an email congratulating her for making it to the next round of the competition. The email showed that Moore had to go to North Carolina to continue competing.

She said she and her family have extended family in Kentucky, so they made a road trip out of it. Moore said she had completed six more pieces to complete the 10 Belk originally wanted for the competition. She said she was really nervous to show the judges her garments.

Moore said she gave a pitch about her design inspiration in front of Belk buyers, the vice president, and president. She said she had no idea they were going to be the ones judging that round until she had already completed her presentation.

“I didn’t hear back from them for about a month,” she said. “Then I got another email saying ‘Congratulations, you’re moving on to the next round.’ I was like, how many rounds are there?”

She said Belk paid for her flight to go back to North Carolina at their headquarters in Charlotte, her hotel and all other expenses. Moore said 15 other designers had also been invited to the next round.

Moore said a limo came and picked she and the other 15 designers the following morning to Belk and when they arrived to headquarters, they had a carpet rolled out for them. She said after eating breakfast all of the designers went into a room that had a large crowd waiting where they were told all of the incentives they would possible receive.

“I started thinking to myself, this could really happen,” she said. “Then, they called all 15 of us on stage. I thought to myself ‘Oh my gosh…they’re going to eliminate us.’ But, the woman ended up announcing that everyone was a winner. The girl next to me started crying like she had just won Miss America. It was really exiting.”

She said all of the designers’ tastes and categories varied. Moore said other contestants designed children’s wear, shoes, jewelry, bags, and women’s wear.

Moore said seven of her pieces were selected for production for Belk out of the 10, and then she designed another garment upon Belk’s request. She said since then Belk has flown her back and forth for meetings and they recently flew her up for the first April fitting. Moore said she got to see the garments after they had been made over seas.

She said that her experience with Belk has been eye opening and very beneficial.

Caitlin, with another of her designs. This was for "Wear Your Chair."

Caitlin, with another of her designs. This was for “Wear Your Chair.”

“They’ve really been guiding me through it all because I really don’t know what’s going on,” Moore said. It’s been such a learning experience that you wouldn’t get unless you’re out there in the real world.”

Moore said she has one more year at Tech, but she knows that she will definitely miss the university when she graduates. She said that she would never trade Tech for any other school, and she is especially appreciative of the apparel design and manufacturing program, especially after competing in the Belk competition.

She said after graduating she would like to go to New York, but it also interested in pursuing continuous collaboration with Belk. But for now, she said, she’s just enjoying what’s in front of her.

“I have my own garment tag, so it’s all under my name, which is incredible,” she said. “Most people will never be able to design under their own name. I’m 21 and in school, it’s unreal.”

*You can buy Caitlin Moore’s clothing online, or at Belk retailers.

About Lauren Estlinbaum

Entertainment Director    —    Journalism major, Class of 2014
Lauren Estlinbaum grew up in Pearland, Texas, south of Houston (go Texans). She is a journalism major with a minor in apparel design. Lauren would like to work for either a fashion or lifestyle publication post-graduation. As she likes to say, she considers fashion magazines survival guides.

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