Open Style Lab, Creating Wearable Solutions For Those With Disabilities

Open Style Lab, are paving the way for socially conscious, user-centered design in wearable technology.

Taking their ‘Fashionable Technology’ theme to another level, we are currently in awe of Open Style Lab. They are responsible for running a ten-week interdisciplinary research program, where they team up designers, engineers, and occupational therapists to create wearable solutions for those with disabilities.


With official sponsors Polartec & St. Peter’s Hospital Seoul and partners Council of Fashion Designers of America, Museum of Science, Boston SADI Samsung Art & Design Institute, Woolmark and Bemis, Open Style Lab will be delving deeper into the complex interface between fashion and technology. 2016 for them will be all about putting emphasis on integrating seasonal fashion trends, garment construction, and technologies such as soft circuits or novel material/fabrication technologies.

students designing for disabilities in slovenia

This year, their 2016 program, which is taking place at MIT International Design Center, has been made up of 12 participants who have been divided into four teams. Each team is comprised of a designer, engineer and occupational therapist. Believing that technology exists not just to help healthy people to track how healthy, but to also tackle the array of challenges faced by the disability population, this year Open Style Lab is challenging its participants to produce a garment that thoughtfully uses technology and purposeful aesthetics to meet their client’s need.

ALSO READ: When ‘Functional Fashion’ Takes a Whole New Meaning

As part of their program, there has been four mentors at hand to assist the fellows throughout the process. They include, research fellow in the Harvard Biodesign Lab Vanessa Sanchez, who works on soft, textile-based exosuits and Dino Kasvikis, of DinoK Designs. He runs a design consultancy that guides companies throughout the design process to developing emphatic and human centered medical devices.

Designing Adaptive Clothing

The chosen applicants, current design, engineering and occupational therapy students, and recent graduates, have been busy dedicating 5-10 hours of teamwork outside of the required core Saturday programming since starting on 11th June 2016. Now, as the end draws near, we find ourselves looking forward to finding out how the talented teams interpreted Open Style Lab’s ‘Fashionable Technology’ theme. Have they successfully executed functional yet stylish, wearable solutions for people with disabilities? All will be revealed at their fashion show at the MIT Museum on 13th August 2016.

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