Erin Mathias knows a sharp cut when she sees one – on and off the basketball court.
Mathias, a Duke University women’s basketball center/forward who dabbles in fashion design when she’s not dribbling a basketball, showed off her latest creation Monday night thanks to Duke women’s coach Joanne P. McCallie. Mathias designed McCallie’s game-day attire for Duke’s matchup against No. 9 Florida State and she was pleased with both outcomes.
“She put all her trust in me,” Mathias said. “I really designed what I wanted so definitely seeing it on her was exciting. I am really, really happy with how it turned out.”
Oh, and No. 20 Duke upset the ninth-ranked Seminoles 79-66 for good measure.
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McCallie said she was excited to wear the outfit Mathias made.
“She’s very creative and it was just a lot of fun to have her make that outfit,” McCallie said. “I enjoyed being her model, her guinea pig model. It was a really neat thing for me as a coach, after 26 years, I can honestly tell you that no student-athlete has ever made me an outfit to coach and so that was a first time thing.”
Mathias designed McCallie’s black sleeveless pantsuit with collars embellished with a silver fashion tape and a trio of draped silver chains. She paired it with a pink tank top to honor former N.C. State coach Kay Yow in the Blue Devils’ “Play for Kay” game that served to raise funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Mathias approached McCallie with the idea in January and she said it was met with great enthusiasm.
“She’s was very excited about this passion of mine and wanted to really showcase it,” Mathias said. “It’s very cool that she felt comfortable with it. We talked about what she might be comfortable wearing and kind of went from there.”
Mathias began sketching her ideas in early February and quickly settled on a plan. She made the pattern, purchased the fabric and gathered the embellishments. It took about two weeks of work before she was ready to start fitting it on McCallie.
“I’m 52 years old, so I think the outfit was probably more suited to, I don’t know a 28-year-old but I enjoyed it immensely,” McCallie said. “And it was comfortable to coach in.”
It took only a few days, a couple of hours each day for Mathias to put it together.
“I wanted to keep it simple,” Mathias said.
Mathias, who is studying visual arts and media, spent a summer interning with New York-based designer Charles Harbison. She launched her own clothing line (Erin Mathias Designs) and last fall before the season started getting busy staged a fashion show on campus with her teammates modeling her creations.
But since then, Mathias has been focused more on basketball as the Blue Devils have battled their way through a rugged season. She is one of two players on the team who has started all 28 games this season.
“I haven’t really designed much of anything until now,” Mathias said. “It’s been hard to really find a whole lot of time to really dive into it.”
Duke (21-7, 10-5 ACC) wraps up its regular season Sunday when the Blue Devils host rival North Carolina.