Fashionable space wear

April 1, 2020

When Virgin Galactic launches an anticipated test spaceflight this year, the mission specialists on board will be decked out in specially designed space apparel. The world’s first commercial spaceline, developed by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, named the performance apparel company Under Armour® to be the maker of its technical space wear. In order to …

Mood art at the Microsoft Research Center

An art installation that smiles back Walk into the atrium of Building 99, a Microsoft Research center in Redmond, Wash., and you can’t miss the two-story architectural installation. Depending on your mood, it greets you with different levels of color and light. The structure is named Ada in honor of Ada Lovelace, a gifted 19th …

Working the airline runway

Remember Tim Gunn’s advice to Project Runway designers to “Make it work”? That phrase takes on a whole new meaning when designing uniforms for United Airlines personnel who literally work the runway. The airline’s 28,000 technical operations, ramp service and catering operations employees need clothing that can handle the demands of their jobs, including exposure …

Revitalizing area culture with a cozy NOOK

In the city of Taitung in Taiwan, there is a lot of history around an old train station, abandoned for more than a decade. At one time, it was central to the region’s growth. Recently, city leaders wanted to revitalize the area by creating an inviting cultural space.  They commissioned Portuguese creative studio FAHR 021.3®, …

Memory quilts from upcycled T-shirts

Sometimes, the idea for a new product comes about in an unexpected way. Take Project Repat, for example. Company cofounder Ross Lohr was stuck in a traffic jam in Nairobi, Kenya. After two hours, he discovered the jam was caused by an overturned produce rickshaw pushed by a man wearing a T-shirt that said, “I …

The Limitless Milk Shirt

That memorable question, “Got milk?” takes on a whole new meaning in today’s technological marketplace. That’s because the Los Angeles-based startup Mi Terro is making the Limitless Milk Shirt, a T-shirt out of the white stuff. The motivation is sustainability. Each year, 128 million tons of milk are dumped as waste worldwide. Mi Terro’s goal …

Technical textiles go bananas

March 1, 2020

When designing a more sustainable future, sometimes the solution lies in unexpected places. That’s the idea behind Bananatex®, a durable, waterproof fabric made from banana plants.  The textile is derived from Abacá, also known as banana hemp, a member of the banana tree family. The brainchild of QWSTION, a Swiss backpack maker known for combining …

An exosuit for any gait

When walking, a person’s center of mass is like a pendulum that is highest at midstance, when the leg is straight. The opposite happens when running. The body moves like a spring-mass system and is lowest at midstance when the hip, knee and ankle are flexed.  This reality of how the body works presents a …

Fabric frustrations for great white sharks

While rare, shark bites can be a serious, dangerous reality for surfers and divers in some parts of the world. Shark bites classically are crescent shaped or result in a series of parallel cuts if the shark rakes its serrated triangular teeth on the person under attack. Blood loss is the leading cause of death …

Fun and funky fabric murals

The latest outpost of the cool, contemporary London restaurant Chotto Matte opened last year in Toronto, Ont., Canada. Known for Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, the restaurant offers a playful dining experience with luxury bento boxes, signature cocktails, a robata grill and a sushi bar. The colorful, immersive interior of Chotto Matte is also part of the …