September 1984 // Volume 22 // Number 5 // Ideas at Work // 5IAW2

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Made in Alabama


Lenda Jo Anderson
Clothing Specialist
Cooperative Extension Service
Auburn University - Auburn

Developing and cultivating Extension support groups is an important challenge. Traditionally, agriculture and 4-H have developed these resources more extensively than home economics. Home economics has worked primarily with consumer groups that haven't generally been organized to contribute financial support.

A program called "Made in Alabama" has been successful in breaking our home economics unit out of the traditional mold. The program consists of a fashion show of garments manufactured within our state. It has provided a direct relationship between Extension, the apparel industry, and Alabama consumers.

A proposal for a fashion show was sent to all manufacturers listed in a state industrial directory. Manufacturers were asked to contribute garments representative of their line. Twenty-four firms responded positively to the idea and donated 61 garments to the show. Garments in the show include something for everyone ... men, women, and children ... activewear and sleepwear.

These garments are packaged in a trunk show that Extension agents can request for county programs such as mall shows and Extension Homemaker Days. Special presentations have included invitations to legislators and media tapings. Before receiving the trunk, agents are sent a packet of information detailing how to plan, present, and evaluate the program.

The informative script for "Made in Alabama" helps educate consumers to industry-related information about plant locations and numbers of employees. Further, consumers understand the relationship between consumer decisions and the economic health of the textile/apparel industry in Alabama.

Blending the interests of industry and the educational concepts of Extension heightens consumer awareness of Alabama products, taps community pride, and offers a positive approach to economic awareness. Because of interest shown in "Made in Alabama" by consumers and the media, manufacturers are enthusiastic about continued cooperation with Extension educational programs.