This page is now archived and unchanged since June 2010 to allow D&Tteachers and students to follow the process of the Engineering Elegance commission.
The Engineering Elegance Challenge ran in the summer of 2010 when I asked textiles students from KS4 and KS5 to design a ‘technical’ textiles dress for me.
I developed a brief with the Design and Technology Association and a team of textile technology experts, who helped me assess the entries, and choose a final design. Many thanks, and congratulations, to all who took part and sent in their designs.
The dress I chose was designed by Abigail Williams from Amman Valley School. Cute Circuit, the London based wearable technology fashion house kindly contributed their time to help turn the concept into reality. I wore the dress for the first time at the British Engineering Excellence Awards in September 2010, with Abigail and her mother in the audience.
The dress has since been seen at numerous functions, including the Design and Technology Annual Awards and the National Science and Engineering Awards at the Big Bang Fair, co-hosted by Brian Cox. I also wore it at the portrait photo shoot for the UKRC Women of Outstanding Achievement Awards – many thanks to Robert Taylor for capturing the essence of the dress!
Three short TV programmes have been made for teachers about the Engineering Elegance project.
And a DVD of resources to help teachers incorporate smart materials and technical textiles in their teaching. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have archived the webpages that were available to support the original project, in case teachers would like to run the challenge as a classroom activity, then showing the videos of how it was all carried through.
At the start of the project, I also recorded a video blog, which can be used as a teaching resource.
It has been an absolute pleasure to contribute to a project which has so many facets – creating teaching resources, making TV programmes, highlighting the role of technical textiles to students, working with a top fashion house, promoting the role of D&T to audiences of British Engineers, and ending up with a dress that is being invited to appear at numerous events …. to which I usually accompany it!