Functional fashion

Before my injury I was always competitive. I’ve always played sports. So I’ve been playing rugby for about 13 years five years on the Team USA. We’re pretty hard on our equipment and there’s there’s nothing really specific for us out there. A lot of times we’re finding things and modifying them and making our own. This class is called fashion collaboration and the goal of the collaboration class is to get people from different disciplines to interact on a topic related to apparel to clothing to fashion. we really tried to focus on the human and understanding who we were building for before we started to build. I was able to kind of use what I’ve learned as a marketing student here in the Olin Business School in order to kind of explain how we usually do surveys and also how market research is necessary before beginning a project. When you have an injury like mine you tend not to sweat. So for a lot of us I mean it starts with just a simple fact of heating and cooling. It’s really hard for us to regulate our body temperature. In the design we have to put some sort of cooling mechanism into the garment. Initially I thought about a system like a refrigerator but it’s not achievable because for them to do competitive sports there cannot be any attached – like compressors, radiators – to the garment because if any crash happens those attachments would be harmful to the players. This has really opened my eyes to functional and technical design. OTs spend a lot of time helping individuals get dressed. And a lot of times you hear, especially in hospitals or rehab settings, ‘bring your baggiest pair of pants’ to relearn how to get dressed, or ‘bring your baggiest sweatshirt.’ But this class has really showed me that we should be looking at ways to change the clothing that makes it easier for individuals to get dressed and thinking of ways to make clothing that is aesthetically pleasing but also functional for individuals that may have a harder time putting on a pair of jeans or a button-up shirt. When I competed down in Buenos Aires in 2009 it was too hot for a lot of guys to compete. You know, they struggled. And what they’re doing with trying to install the cooling systems and the fabric could help a lot of people. Any extra edge you can ever get, and especially for elite athletes, is an advantage. [Music]

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