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Fashion icon Iris Apfel on color, quarantine and teaching college students

By Nicole Villalpando, Austin American-Statesman on

Published in Fashion Daily News

AUSTIN, Texas - At 98, fashion icon Iris Apfel has made it to the pages of a coloring book.

"Iris the Coloring Book" goes on sale July 14 and celebrates not only Apfel's life in fashion but also the 10-year connection between her and the University of Texas' textiles and apparel department.

The book benefits the department's UT in NYC experience, created by Apfel and program director Nancy Prideaux. For a semester, students study different aspects of the fashion industry and then take a one-week trip to New York with Apfel as their guide.

This summer would have been the 10th week in New York for the UT program, but with the coronavirus pandemic, the next UT in NYC trip won't be until next summer.

"Iris the Coloring Book" tells the story of Apfel's life with sayings that have made her famous. It's oversize, like a coffee table book, and offers 16 pages to color.

Prideaux says the idea for the coloring book came after realizing that "we need to do better" when it came to the cost of participating in the UT in NYC program.


In addition to tuition, that class comes with a program fee of $3,500, which pays for the hotel stay, some meals and some cultural events like seeing a Broadway play, but not airfare.

Even though the Prideaux has worked to find scholarship money, "your best and brightest may not have the financial means to be able to go," she says.

Prideaux came up with a coloring book because "I've always been a colorer, even before it became a trend." She says it brings a sense of "creativity and joy."

It also seemed appropriate to make a coloring book about "the most colorful woman in the world," she says.


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