Another component of FTC, the Natalie Altieri Apparel Production Lab, is a high-tech sewing studio. Hosting advanced, specialized apparel construction equipment, including an ultrasonic welding machine and industrial-grade equipment that can sew leather goods, here students can produce production-level samples. The lab is named in honor of a fashion design student who passed away in 2015.
Kubley hopes these new spaces and tools inspire even more interdisciplinary work between fashion students and industrial and communication designers, engineers and others. She’s already working with UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science on a project involving smart nanotube textiles and is working with UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub’s commercialization incubator.
“It’s beneficial to have these two different kinds of brains in the room together,” she says, “and those collaborations have been really dynamic. We are disrupting the way that researchers have traditionally worked in their own silos.”
When planning the new vision for the fashion design program, Endowed Chair and Director of DAAP's Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design Gjoko Muratovski looked back at the school's history for inspiration.
"Our design school was established with a clear mandate to drive innovation for industry, and Cincinnati is a city with strong manufacturing heritage and a tradition of making," he says. "From the very beginning we had a study program that specialized in textiles design and have worked closely with industry on creating new ideas and capabilities. Now is the time for us to introduce the next stage of our development. With the industry-grade equipment in the new Fashion Technology Center we can now operate on a very advanced level. More importantly, the new capabilities that we have created allow us to push the boundaries further and drive innovation on a level that sometimes even our industry partners can not deliver on their own.”
The world is taking notice. DAAP was named one of the Best Fashion Schools in the World 2019 by website Business of Fashion. This year Tessa Clark, a 2010 graduate, became DAAP’s third alumna to compete on the fashion design reality competition “Project Runway,” coming in fifth place while building her sustainable luxury brand Grind and Glaze here in Cincinnati. Fellow fashion alum Hannah Beachler made history at this year’s Academy Awards as the first black person to win a production design Oscar for her work on “Black Panther.”
“Fashion students from UC will be able to imagine the future of wearable technology. Not only are they are already equipped with the skills to predict what consumers will want, they are now able to prototype and test those concepts using the resources that the new FTC provides. Those skills will give them a critical edge in the fast-moving professional world of fashion technology.”
Featured image at top: A fashion design student uses soldering equipment in the Fashion Technology Center. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services