Indiana State University Newsroom

Student-designed wallet debuts at national event

March 5, 2014

An entry into a contest has catapulted students in a beginning clothing class at Indiana State University into the spotlight.

A wallet, the collaborative effort of 15 students, was unveiled by Fort Wayne-based Natril Gear at the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC on March 3.

"This conference attracts some of the biggest names in bicycling and some of the most progressive riders in the industry," said April Reinhard, owner of Natril Gear LLC. "I cannot think of a more exciting place to debut the Clothing I Class's wallet and wristlet!"

The 2013 Clothing I Class's entry, which was named runner-up in the company's first design contest, stood out because of the thoughtfulness of their design and the quality with which their wallet was sewn.

"Natril Gear is an outdoor company specializing in bicycle accessories, and the students' wallet design had several unique elements. We were very impressed," Reinhard said. "We did make a few adjustments, but we made sure the students were okay with all of our design changes before we put the wallet into production. It was truly a team effort!"

The wallet utilizes leftover material from the two types of backpack-like bags the company produces. Indiana State's design, the result of 15 individual designs being merged into one, includes features that would be appealing to cyclists such as:

•A clear pocket on the outside of the wallet that can hold a phone, small map, or other items bikers may need easy access to.

•A wristlet, which is divided into two pockets with a see-through ID window, if a bike rider does not want to carry the full wallet.

•A snap closure with two snaps. If a user chooses the snap socket that is nearer to the center of the wallet, there should be enough slack in the closure strap that they can hang the wallet over the handlebars of their bicycle and still keep all of their wallet contents secure.

•A 4-way closure system ensuring the secure storage of any and all wallet contents.

"We are extremely proud of this women's wallet and wristlet design and all of the designers that were a part of its creation," Reinhard said.

For instructor Edie Wittenmyer, it is a true accomplishment given the time constraints the class faced in even entering the contest.

"They only had a couple of weeks to design and construct," she said. "The class met twice a week for three hours. So you're looking at a total of 12 hours to make it a reality."

Geonna Peden, a sophomore fashion merchandising major from Gary, said the real-life experience was a great way to begin her studies.

"I didn't think I'd accomplish something like this until I got out of school," she said. "To accomplish this as a freshman was awesome!"

Peden said taking 15 individual designs and merging them into one taught her the valuable skills of teamwork and negotiation.

"We were all on the same page, which made collaboration easy," she said. "I'm a bit of a loner, so this experience helped me open up to people."

Rassan Ridley, a junior textiles and merchandising major from Fort Wayne, said the experience gave her a dose of reality.

"I want to design and get them produced," she said. "I learned how long the process can take and how quickly it can get produced."

Ridley said she had never designed a wallet and it was interesting in what people look for.

"It's a big thing in fashion to have something like this in my portfolio," said Ridley. "I would love to enter more competitions to get more experience."

Wittenmyer said she's looking for other competitive experiences for her students to build their portfolios, including the International Textile and Apparel Association's annual conference.

"We've received local, regional and national recognition for our work," she said. "It builds interest and encourages other students to come to Indiana State and be a part of our program."

The wallets are available for purchase on the Natril Gear website. For more information on Natril Gear, visit

Contact: Edie Wittenmyer, instructor, electronics and computer engineering technology and human resource development and performance technologies, (812) 237-3456 or ; April Reinhard, owner, Natril Gear, (260) 454-5316 or

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3783 or