Striking A Pose

Sept. 29, 2006

By Lara Boyko

Lara Boyko

Lara Boyko covers a variety of sports for
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Ever look in your closet in the morning and wonder what to wear that day to help you get noticed?


For most people this is a daily struggle. For Ashley Fidler, a 5-11 senior outside hitter/defensive specialist on the Penn State women's volleyball team, the only dilemma she faces when getting ready each day is trying to figure out which of the fabulous pieces of clothing she has designed and made for herself will get their chance to be seen on campus.


"I have this red top that was an extra large silky night gown I found at a thrift store," Fidler described of her favorite piece of clothing she has made. "I took the material and made it into one of those longer shirts that is fitted, but it has a split in the back and I put lace on it."


After taking a home economics class at Mundelein High School in Mundelein, Ill., Fidler has turned her love for designing and making clothes into an attention-getting hobby.


"After I got to college is when I really got into making my own clothes," Fidler said, who mainly indulges in her hobby during the off-season when she has more free time. "There are not any classes at Penn State that teach you about clothes design and I didn't really have any money to go out and buy clothes, so I would make clothes for going out in or when the team goes on road trips."


This team seamstress does not rely on patterns to keep her stitches straight, instead she possesses the patience and skill to put her designs together from scratch.


"Two Christmases ago while I was home, my dad and I went through my mom's closet and I found this one dress that was buttoned-downed with long sleeves, a collared shirt and had big blotchy grandma-print flowers all over," Fidler said, who does not have a favorite designer, but can't pass up bringing along or buying a fashion magazine when the team is on the road. "I messed with it by taking out the collar, cutting off the sleeves and turned it into a cute little wrap around dress. It ended up being very modern, but very back-in-the-day looking."


While Fidler primarily makes clothes to fit her own body, she has been known to help out her teammates with more than just repairing a tear here or applying a patch there.


"Last year the entire team brought their Halloween costumes to her for help," Cassy Salyer said, a 6-5 senior opposite side/middle hitter who has been roommates with Fidler since their freshman year. "I remember her being pretty stressed out, but she can do just about anything and it doesn't seem to take her very long."


Her fashionable talent may be envied on the team, but even Fidler knows her limits to creativity.


"I've tried to knit before, but (junior middle hitter) Melissa Walbridge is the big knitter on the team who has made hats and scarves," Filder said. "I just don't have the patience for knitting."


Just as Fidler knows what she wants from the clothes she makes, she also knows what she wants on the court during the current Big Ten season.


"We went undefeated in the Big Ten last year, so repeating that again this year and winning the Big Ten tournament is one of our goals as winning the tournament always falls through the cracks somehow," Fidler said, who started playing volleyball when she was 11 years old after giving up figure skating. "We have the talent to go places this year. Going to the Final Four and winning it all would be amazing. To do this, we are working on keeping our energy high all of the time as having lots of energy even when we are losing or having a bad practice is one of the things that make a good team."


While being selected for Project Runway on Bravo may be a few years away, right now Fidler is hoping for coach Russ Rose to listen to some of her fashion advice this season for both himself and so she can use her designer touch make some improvements to their uniforms in the near future.


"Coach Rose has this one green polo that every time he wears it, I remind him that it is my favorite and he should wear it more often," Fidler said, who answers to the names Ashley, Fid or Fiddy. "I like our jerseys the way they are, but if anything I would make them longer so they stay tucked in."



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