Bellevue College Interior Design student Cammy Davis has placed second in the Retail Design Institute (RDI) annual design competition from a field of 180 international entries. The honor comes with a check for $1,500.

The challenge was how to brand a new customer experience into the design of an outlet store for a department store, including several department areas from clothing to accessories, within an existing commercial space of 24,000 sq. ft.

Davis, who brought technology and interactivity into her design, says of her winning entry, “My concept is to reinvent the way a person shops for apparel; a closet that is interactive. An Equation Screen in the store or an individual app will provide the customers with different options to build a complete outfit. They can also link their personal Equations with images from their current wardrobe and have a virtual closet.”

Some retailers are considering using her concept. Said Davis, “I floated the design project by some business people I knew and it was received strongly.  So now I have a team working on making the idea a reality.  Hopefully retailers will receive it as well as the design competition judges.”

Davis’ design instructor at Bellevue College is Mark Mappala, who earlier this year was named the nations’ most innovative design instructor. Mappala said, “Cammy demonstrated great perseverance, coordination, and conceptual thinking throughout the quarter. Her concept about creating a “virtual closet” as a new means of shopping and how that could potentially change the way we buy as well as creating space all within the confines of the existing program (outlet store) was a great concept. Technology + Retail.”

According to RDI, “The struggle of department store retailers during the recession is a hot topic in the retail design industry, as many operators currently looking for areas of expansion are using value-based channels to open new locations. Several department stores have been redesigning, rebranding and rolling out new outlet prototypes.”

Four students in Mappala’s design class entered the competition. Davis said of Mappala, “His positive approach, flexibility and input is what allowed me to keep working until I came up with an idea that made sense to me. He put in many extra hours meeting with us, even after the quarter ended.”

Davis finished her 3-year associates degree in Interior Design in June, has completed BC’s one year program in Sustainable Design, and has been accepted into the BC Interior Design bachelors degree program which she will begin spring quarter 2012.

“Winning has given me a stronger belief in myself,” said Davis, “It reminds me to be true to what I like and to believe in myself.”

She is also an artist, and said, “It’s helped me reach out to more people in my art business, contact retailers and gallery owners with confidence.” Her paintings are displayed in Seattle and Portland and may be viewed at.cammydavis.com.

RDI has held the annual competition since 1971. A story and photos of this year’s winning entries appear in the July issue of RDI magazine.

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