High Tech Meets High Fashion: The College's Newest Institute Aims to Tailor the Next Generation of Smart Clothing by Joining Designers and Scientists with the Fashion Industry

By Berkowitz, Kenny | Human Ecology, Fall 2013 | Go to article overview

High Tech Meets High Fashion: The College's Newest Institute Aims to Tailor the Next Generation of Smart Clothing by Joining Designers and Scientists with the Fashion Industry


Berkowitz, Kenny, Human Ecology


Standing by a workbench in his second floor lab, Huiju Park is building better boots for firefighters, which reduce the stress that comes from wearing more than 100 pounds of turnout gear on every call. Down the hallway, Anil Netravali is creating nanocomposites out of rice starch and cellulose, Juan Hinestroza is developing cotton transistors for the next generation of smart clothing, and Jintu Fan is using custom-built manikins to study the physiological effects of fabric on the human body.

Welcome to the newly launched Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation (CIFFI).

"When I first came here, I saw a department that was well-positioned at a major university and doing excellent fundamental research in fiber science," said Fan, Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow and chair of the Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) department, who came to Cornell from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. "The time has come for the department to build stronger partnerships with industry, translate great ideas in the laboratories into commercial products, and make a real impact in the industry and in communities."

Fan's vision is for department researchers to foster collaborations between academia and industry and lead innovations in fashion, fiber science and technology, and textile testing. As members of CIFFI, companies can tap into Human Ecology's knowledge base and gain access to everything FSAD has to offer: state-of-the-art fashion and textile studios; the apparel performance lab's 3D body scanners, thermal infrared imaging, manikins, and motion capture system; a prototyping facility with a fiber extruder, laser cutter, and sample loom; and the nanotechnology lab's atomic force microscope and electrospinning machines.

CIFFI is beginning to work closely with retailers in New York City and manufacturers around the world to develop new materials, streamline product development, and promote smart, sustainable fashion.

"If we can bring the parties together, doing the research at Cornell, and scaling up the innovative ideas with the manufacturers and retailers at an earlier stage, we can eliminate an enormous amount of wasted resources," said Fan. "It makes perfect business sense because if you can work well with industry, industry will want to work with you. By founding this institute, we raise the potential for what we can do in design, research, and scholarship."

Thinking green

Before coming to Human Ecology, Netravali worked in Cornell's College of Engineering, first in materials science and then in mechanical engineering. In the 25 years since, as a professor in the FSAD department, he's built an international reputation for his work on fiber-reinforced green composites. He has relied on banana, hemp, jute, kenaf, ramie, and sisal to create biodegradable materials that can be used as an alternative for most anything that can be made out of wood. Now, with his first sample spool of liquid crystalline cellulosic fibers, he's entering a new world of "advanced green composites."

"They're much stronger than any conventional natural cellulosic fibers, almost twice the strength," said Netravali, while sitting across from Park, an FSAD assistant professor who specializes in protective clothing. "There is no waste coming out of the manufacturing process, and the molecules are all very organized with the highest stiffness and the greatest strength possible. And because they stretch much more than Kevlar, and require more energy to break, if you made a bulletproof vest out of these fibers, it would actually perform better than Kevlar."

Park, who has bullet-tested composites in the past, leaned forward. "That's a huge potential to replace Kevlar ..."

"... In certain applications," Netravali interjected.

"If you can make a large sample, we can easily prove the concept," said Park, as the conversation bounced from engineer to designer and back again. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

High Tech Meets High Fashion: The College's Newest Institute Aims to Tailor the Next Generation of Smart Clothing by Joining Designers and Scientists with the Fashion Industry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.