The World Wide Web and other technologies promise to bring rapid changes to the apparel and textile industry. Professor Susan Ashdown's apparel design students are collaborating with students from two other colleges to learn the benefits - and limitations - of working together on-line.
Nate Demarest was having a problem. As his project partner, Jennifer Stern, watched, the human ecology senior repeatedly clicked the mouse of his computer to change the length and contours of the skirt that appeared on the monitor in front of him. After a bit of fine-tuning, and with some comments from Jennifer, he finally got it adjusted to their satisfaction.
Normally, this wouldn't be a remarkable occurrence. Students collaborate on projects all the time. What made it different was that Nate was in a design lab in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall and Jennifer was 150 miles away in a lab at Buffalo State University. As he adjusted the skirt design on his computer, his changes appeared on Jennifer's monitor. With her own mouse, she could make changes as well. As they worked, they could see each other on their monitors and hear each other over their computer speakers.
The students were experimenting with technologies that may soon revolutionize the way the apparel industry goes about the complex process of designing and manufacturing textiles and clothing. They were two of 26 students from Cornell, Buffalo State, and the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science enrolled in a course last fall that's looking at how …