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Rhode Island School of Design Launches Designer in Residence Program



Designers from Levi Strauss & Co. to Participate in Wintersession 2013 Studio


PROVIDENCE, RI - This month Rhode Island School of Design's Career Center is launching a formal Designer in Residence program for selected artists and designers to share their expertise in an educationally-based workshop series for students. The new program aims to expose students to critical skill sets needed to apply for internships or jobs while also offering hands-on demonstrations and tutorials focused on new techniques, materials and software in a particular industry.

Building on its ongoing relationship with Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.), RISD has partnered with the San Francisco-based company for the first Designer in Residence experience being offered during Wintersession, an intensive five-week term between fall and spring semesters. In fall 2011, LS&Co. reached out to the RISD Career Center to let them know that the company had selected RISD as its school of choice for design recruitment. This has led to campus visits to meet with students and faculty, along with valuable internship opportunities for students at the company.

This winter, Levi Strauss & Co. is sending Nada Grkinich, senior director of Levi's ® Global Footwear and Accessories, and Paul Dillinger, senior director of Dockers® Color and Concept Design, to RISD to work closely with students in the Wintersession 2013 studio Fabric Transformation Takes Form. The interdisciplinary course is offered through RISD's Apparel Design and Textiles departments and is co-taught by adjunct faculty members Suzanne Mancini and Jill Theirbault.

"The Designer in Residence program provides leading designers in key industries with brief, but very meaningful exposure to RISD through interaction with students and faculty," notes Catherine Andreozzi, head of Apparel Design. "We are honored to have Levi Strauss & Co. designers working alongside our students. It is a wonderful learning opportunity for all involved."

The intensive Wintersession workshop focuses on the development of ideas, color, texture and pattern in relation to the human form. Students from diverse majors are exploring hands-on techniques including fabric manipulation, stitching and cutting. The designers from LS&Co. are, in turn, complementing the curriculum by offering perspective on a niche area of real-world design and lending insight on issues that influence the creative process and outcomes.

As part of the Designer in Residence program, Grkinich and Dillinger will speak about Sustainable Design Methods being employed at Levi Strauss &Co. in a presentation open to all RISD students. His talk takes place on Thursday, January 17 at 5:30 pm in RISD's Tap Room.

"The Career Center is particularly pleased to build upon our relationship with LS&Co. since it's a company likely to hire students from a range of disciplines - Apparel Design, Textiles, Graphic Design and Interior Architecture," notes Assistant Director Susan Andersen. "We also have a number of students from San Francisco, which is a city that's very attractive for our alumni to look for work after graduation."

"Levi Strauss & Co. is committed to innovation and fostering the next generation of design talent. We are honored to be the first partner in an exciting new program that allows our designers to engage with rising talent in a hands-on way," said Michelle Williamson, Head of Global Talent Intelligence & Executive Search, Levi Strauss & Co.

About RISD

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned an international reputation as the leading college of art and design in the United States. Recently ranked #1 in Business Insider's survey of The World's 25 Best Design Schools, approximately 2,400 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor's or master's degree programs in a choice of 19 studio majors. RISD is known for its phenomenal faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on, studio-based approach to learning - one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand. Required courses in the liberal arts provide an essential complement to studio work, enabling graduates to become critical and informed individuals eager to engage with the world. Through the accomplishments of its 26,000 alumni, the college champions the vital role artists and designers play in satisfying the global demand for innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced "RIZ-dee") and the RISD Museum of Art help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit or


About Levi Strauss & Co.

Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world's largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear.  The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi's®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™, and Denizen® brands.  Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites, and a global footprint of more than 2,300 franchised and company-operated stores.  Levi Strauss & Co.'s reported fiscal 2011 net revenues were $4.8 billion.  For more information, go to

At RISD there's nothing unusual about suddenly finding a doorknob on a tree trunk, shown here across from Carr House,
the charming home of Student Life offices and the student-run Carr Haus Café.