UW Students Win National Fashion Awards, Appleton Auto Shop Run By Women, State Democrats Say Blue Wave Is Coming

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An auto-repair facility in Grand Chute aims to give an educational experience to its customers, explaining the problems and demonstrating repairs. We talk to two of the team members on the all-female team about the clinic and how they support survivors of domestic abuse. We learn about several UW-Madison students who have won prestigious national fashion awards and hear about the ‘blue wave’ we might be seeing this fall.

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  • UW-Madison Student Wins $10K At National Fashion Competition

    The way Adina Barrientos looks at it, designing clothing is about more than just fashion.

    A pair of children’s leggings with glow-in-the-dark dots around the ankles encourage the wearer to explore the world at night.

    A rain jacket that changes colors as it gets wet is a testament that it doesn’t need to be sunny outside for you to enjoy the day.

    “One of my biggest interests in design is the functionality that apparel can bring,” Barrientos said. “And how designing certain aspects of an apparel piece can actually improve the wearer’s life.”

    Barrientos is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Those designs helped her win $10,000 in prizes at a prestigious national competition for college students sponsored by the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund.

    Her winning entry was a clothing collection for Patagonia called “Climb On,” which encourages kids to get outside while learning about environmental sustainability. The collection features organic and recycled materials.

    Designs from Adina Barrientos’ winning collection. Adina Barrientos

    She was one of a group of UW-Madison students competing at the awards. Three others from the university took home cash prizes. UW-Madison is a mainstay at the competition, Barrientos said.

    “It’s definitely really cool to go to New York and see all the different students there,” she said. “But one thing that does stand out is there’s always a group of Wisconsin students congregating and having a great time, because it’s definitely something we’re known for.”

    Each year, the competition involves a retail challenge. For the 2018 competition, students had to design a hypothetical clothing line, and create an in-store experience to drive foot traffic to the brick and mortar retailer.
    Barrientos designed her clothing collection to be functional and durable. But because it was a children’s line, she also wanted to acknowledge that clothing does tear sometimes.

    So, her collection includes patchwork giveaways at the Patagonia retail stores, with a goal to both help children learn to sew and get them involved in repairing their clothing.

    “That’s to get children to understand that life goes on after a tear in clothing,” Barrientos said. “And that you can keep using clothes, you don’t have to throw them away after they tear, and children’s clothing tears a lot.”

    For this competition, students didn’t actually physically make their clothing lines. It’s all hypothetical, told through sketches and storyboards.

    But UW-Madison students are trained in apparel construction. Barrientos said that real-life, hands-on experience helped when it came to designing for the competition. They get a better sense of what’s possible.

    “You really get that hands-on experience that not everyone gets, which I truly appreciate,” she said. “And it’s just really great to see something that you designed come to life.”

  • UW Senior Wins Award At National Fashion Competition

    We hear from a senior at the UW-Madison who recently won a national award for her work designing a clothing line for Patagonia that encourages kids to explore nature while learning about environmental sustainability.

  • Helping Women And Domestic Abuse Survivors Through Auto Repair

    For some women, a working vehicle is the key to independence. It can be the difference between staying in an abusive relationship and leaving it.

    That’s one of the ideas behind JumpStart Auto Repair in Appleton, an automotive shop run entirely by women.

    The shop, a project from Harbor House Wisconsin and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, opened in January 2017, with a dual mission: to provide low- or no-cost car repair services to survivors of domestic abuse, and to provide a more transparent, comfortable car repair experience for the general public.

    “I’ve been working with automobiles and working in customer service for over 20 years, and I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Katie VanderWielen, JumpStart’s general manager. “Something as simple to me to fix a flat tire or change their oil, and … to know that I just changed a life. To know that they have somebody that they can depend on whenever they need.”

    One woman who visited the shop recently had been relying on her abuser to transport her to job interviews.

    “(She) would just get torn down on the way to these interviews and arrive crying, her confidence just going nowhere,” said Jenny Krikava, development and marketing manager for Harbor House Wisconsin.

    The woman finally found a vehicle, and Harbor House referred her to JumpStart to make sure it was safe to drive.

    “She was so grateful, the confidence that she was exuding,” Krikava said. “And being able to have this independence, and being able to go into that next job interview with the confidence she needed to secure that job and really find her own way ahead.”

    Those free or low-cost repairs are paid for by proceeds from repairs done for the general public, Krikava said.

    But even for those paying customers, the experience at JumpStart isn’t routine. The entire way the shop is run flips the script.

    VanderWielen said the emphasis is on transparency. According to one study, women are typically quoted higher prices than men at auto repair shops. That’s why it’s so important for female customers to be comfortable, she said.

    “I think they just are scared, they don’t know enough about vehicles. And I think this goes both ways for men and women,” she said. “When you don’t know, you have to put that trust in somebody, and I think it’s easier for a female to trust another woman. To give them honest answers and know that they’re not going to be taken advantage of.”

    JumpStart takes customers back into the shop to see what they’re physically doing to a vehicle as it is repaired.

    VanderWielen said they operate with the promise that they’ll be honest about what a vehicle needs and how long customers can get by without a repair.

    The shop has already made an impact in the community. VanderWielen said groups of young girls have stopped by to visit and learn about the operation.

    She hopes seeing a group of female mechanics encourages more women and girls to enter not just this field, but any non-traditional role.

    And, as Krikava points out, when women enter so-called “non-traditional” career fields, they have access to greater economic stability.

    “It’s limitless to what we can actually do out there,” VanderWielen said. “When you have the resources, and you know deep down that you can do this.”

  • Appleton's Jumpstart Auto Repair Helping Women And Domestic Abuse Victims

    Jumpstart Auto Repair in Appleton is one of the few automotive shops you can find that’s staffed entirely by women. It’s working to make auto repair a better experience for female customers and offer discounted service to victims of domestic abuse. Two members of the shop are with us to talk about its dual mission.

  • State Democrats Hoping For A Wave Election In November

    After Rebecca Dallet’s state Supreme Court win and an earlier Democratic victory in a conservative state Senate district, Wisconsin Democrats are hopeful for a “blue wave” in the fall midterms. Our guest says Republicans have good reason to worry and that Gov. Scott Walker’s “con job” has worn thin.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Dean Knetter Producer
  • Bill Martens Producer
  • Adina Barrientos Guest
  • Jenny Krikava Guest
  • Katie VanderWielen Guest
  • Eugene Kane Guest

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