The 2024 Prevagen U.S. Figure Skating Championships are coming to Columbus on January 22-28. With Columbus' growing reputation as a fashion hub with a wealth of design talent, this was the perfect time to mix fashion and figure skating.
To that end, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and U.S. Figure Skating began working with the Columbus College of Art & Design, one of the nation’s leading art and design schools. The concept was to connect a skater on the rise with a designer on the rise to create a one-of-a-kind costume fit for the championship ice at Nationwide Arena in January.
U.S. Figure Skating selected 2023 women's national champion Isabeau Levito as the skater and the Columbus College of Art & Design identified recent graduate and emerging fashion designer Austin Tootle to design it. Tootle and Levito worked collaboratively for six months on designing a costume that would work for Isabeau’s song choice and performance. She will debut his design on the ice during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Prevagen Skating Spectacular on Sunday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
In a classroom collaborative learning partnership between U.S. Figure Skating, Greater Columbus Sports Commission, and Columbus College of Art & Design, fashion design students participated in a four-week concept design project, in which they developed ice skating costume concepts, fabric swatches, and final technical sketches for an ice skating costume for Levito. The students held a client intake session to learn Isabeau’s style preferences and were mentored by fashion designer and CCAD alum Austin Tootle (Fashion Design, 2022), who is designing Levito’s costume for the 2024 U.S. Championships Prevagen Skating Spectacular on Sunday, January 28. Tootle offered critique and recommendations based on his experience designing for Levito.
Columbus as a Fashion Hub
Columbus is the #1 metro in the U.S. for the concentration of professionals working in the apparel and fashion industry. (Source: LinkedIn data analyzed August 29, 2023.) Among U.S. major retail and fashion markets. Based on relevant skills of professionals working in the Apparel & Fashion industry. National retailers based here include Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, DSW, Bath & Body Works and more. Easton Town Center, the Midwest’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination with more than 30 million visitors per year is also based here. They have been voted the #1 Retail Experience in America by Chain Store Age three years in a row.
About Columbus College of Art & Design
Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States. CCAD offers 11 BFA programs, two Master of Professional Studies programs (Retail Design and User Experience Design), and a Master of Fine Arts that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information, visit ccad.edu. Please always refer to “Columbus College of Art & Design” in official materials as people worldwide won’t know what CCAD is. Or, at least, always spell it out on first reference and put (CCAD) in parenthesis and use CCAD on future references.
About Austin Tootle
Tootle is an emerging fashion designer and owner of TUTEL, based in Columbus, Ohio. Tootle graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design’s Fashion Design program in 2022 and has been showcasing his work during Fashion Week in New York City.
About Isabeau Levito
Sixteen-year-old Isabeau Levito has become one of the U.S. best women’s singles skaters in the last two years earning the 2022 World Junior championship and 2023 U.S. Championship titles. Levito will compete at the 2024 Prevagen U.S. Championships in hopes of qualifying for her second World Championship team. At the 2023 World Championships, Levito finished fourth overall in the women’s discipline.