Open Style Lab’s founder, Grace Teo, was recently featured on the New England Cable News (NECN) morning newsroom and will soon be interviewed on WBNW-AM’s Money Matters radio show. Open Style Lab (OSL) is a 10-week program based at MIT consisting of student engineers, designers and occupational therapists to create clothing for people with disabilities which limit their clothing choice. This is Open Style Lab’s first year and the lab has 24 students and 8 clients this summer. Most of the engineers are from MIT, but the designers and occupational therapists are from other schools, such as, RISD, BU, Harvard, Tufts, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Each client is teamed up with an engineer, designer and occupational therapist, and has a unique clothing challenges relating to the disabilities which ranged from arthritis and paraplegia, to sensory processing disorder and amputations.
Students in the Open Style Lab get 2 weeks to spend time in clients’ homes and workplaces to understand their lifestyles and challenges better and identify their daily clothing challenges. Then for the next 6 weeks, they design and prototype clothing, under the mentorship of industry professionals. They come from organizations such as Eileen Fisher, Ximedica, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, MoMA (New York). The Open Style Lab has also partnered with South End Technology Centre, a makerspace in Back Bay, where the student can build their prototypes.
Open Style Lab received funding through MIT’s Council for the Arts, MIT’s Community Service Fund, ODGE Graduate Student Life Grants, and the Arthur Smith Memorial Student Life Grant. Moreover the lab was also sponsored by Eileen Fisher and Danen Venture Capital.
For those interested in seeing student designs made in the 10-week program, the Open Style Lab will have a public showcase of the summer projects in MIT on Saturday, August 16th, from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm, in W20-306 and W20-307 (the Stratton Student Center). Additionally, OSL will be presenting the designs at the Museum of Science, Boston, every Saturday in October. This is in conjunction with Boston Fashion Week, and National Disability Awareness Month. To read about Teo’s appearence on television visit NECN. To see the Open Style Lab in action, visit the lab’s Youtube account.