Open Style Lab teams designers, engineers and occupational or physical therapists to create clothing solutions for people with disabilities or their caretakers. This 10-week, Saturday-only program in partnership with The New School, Parsons School of Design, takes place on campus.
APPLICATIONS open - FEBruary 2019
We are inviting 18-24 research Fellows to be part of the 2019 Open Style Lab at The New School, Parsons School of Design Summer Program. Over 10 weeks, we will design and prototype functional and stylish clothing solutions for clients with disabilities. Many events, physical locations and social groups have spoken and unspoken dress codes. While wheelchair accessible ramps have made their way to many of our building entrances, ‘accessible style’ is a concept which has not even crossed the minds of most people today. The goal will be to create clothing, accessories, or wearables that are compelling objects of design and fashion that people of all abilities can wear.
Fellows have the opportunity to be deeply connected with meaningful problems in the disabilities community through user-centered design. They will be able to work in a cross-disciplinary environment to address lifestyle choices through wearables or the immeidate surronding space where dressing occurs. Final outcomes for the project will be presented to a panel of industry professionals, academics, disability/ aging communities, government groups, and/ or artists.
Designer Fellow | Occupational/Physical Therapy Fellow | Engineer Fellow
about the fellowship & summer program
Multidisciplinary Approach to a Complex Issue
Designing clothing for people with disabilities is a complex challenge, requiring style, functionality and an understanding of healthcare considerations. Hence, we invite design, engineering and occupational therapy students to combine forces, and synergize their unique perspective and skills.
User-Centered Design Project with Social Impact
Teams are paired with clients who had specific apparel needs. By spending time with clients in daily life settings, fellows gained a full understanding of clothing-related challenges for someone who may have cerebral palsy or spinal cord injury. Fellows and clients design and prototype functional yet stylish clothing solutions together in a user-centered design process. Each team is given a stipend to develop their clothing solutions.
Mentorship and Professional Development
Teams are not alone in this process: Expert mentors, also comprising designers, engineers and occupational therapists, will provide guidance over the course of the project. Students hear from leaders in wearable technology and adaptive design, and be immersed in workshops on developing a business plan and assembling a technical packet. These concrete skills will help equip teams, if they wish, to have a better understanding in making their designs accessible to the broader public.