student cutting out shoe mold


The partnership’s goal is to accelerate innovation in high-tech, U.S.-based manufacturing involving fibers and textiles, and has the potential to create a whole new industry, based on breakthroughs in fiber technology and manufacturing. To facilitate the intersection of design and engineering for products made of advanced functional fibers, yarns and textiles, a brand-new workforce must be created and inspired by future opportunities. This workshop is a pilot education module to do just that. By bringing design and science together, the teams demonstrated the possibilities when the integration of mindsets from each area act and think as one.


Similarly to last year, the workshop brought together the knowledge and experience of the FIT and MIT faculty, industry professionals, and guest speakers. This year, students had the opportunity to develop product concepts for New Balance, a member of the AFFOA network. The students spent their first week at MIT and the second at FIT working on projects and prototypes, and on Friday, June 28, the teams presented their final projects at the headquarters of Lafayette 148 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, with New Balance Creative Manager of Computational Design Onur Yuce Gun in attendance.

One of the teams presented a concept to develop a biodegradable lifestyle shoe using natural material alternatives, including bacterial cellulose and mycelium, capable of integrating future technologies sustainably. The project grew out of the challenge of addressing the fact that more than 300 million pairs of shoes are disposed of in landfills annually. Team members included: Giulia de Garay (FIT, Textile Development and Marketing), Rebecca Grekin (MIT, Chemical Engineering), · Kedi Hu (MIT, Chemical Engineering/Architecture), Nga Yi (Amy) Lam (FIT, Textile Development and Marketing), Daniella Koller (FIT, Fashion Design), and  Stephanie Stickle (FIT, Textile Surface Design). 

Another team explored the various ways that runners get hurt, sometimes from acute injuries but more often from overuse. Their solution is to incorporate intuitive textiles, as well as tech elements such as a silent alarm and LED display, into athletic clothing and shoes for the entry-level, competitive and expert runners. The goal is to help runners at all levels to eliminate distraction, know their physical limits, and be able to call for help. Team members included Rachel Cheang (FIT, Fashion Design/Knitwear), Jonathan Mateer (FIT, Accessories Design), and Caroline Liu (MIT, Materials Science and Engineering), and Xin Wen (MIT, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science).

FIT and visiting students from MIT look at shoe design during presentation at the Brooklyn Navy Yards
Student from FIT and visiting students from MIT present projects from the Advanced Fibers and Fabrics workshop during presentation at the Brooklyn Navy Yards
student holding tray of fabrics for the FIT Advanced Fibers and Fabrics workshop
dye with syringe held by student with a testing tray

Status Update

After a successful second iteration, FIT, MIT, and AFFOA are searching for ways to expand and improve the workshop for 2020.

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