M-ADE Female Engineers in Fashion July 25 2023

“Engineers carry a set of assumptions based on their own experience. Without women in the mix, we are missing the voices of over half of the population, with serious consequences for society. We need the curiosity, creativity and intellectual rigour of a diverse range of female engineers to create solutions fit for the 21st century.” - Caroline Jay

The fashion industry has long been driven by the skills and talents of women, particularly in the manufacturing sector. However, these skills are often overlooked, especially in the face of manufacturing and cost-cutting measures. It is key to highlight that technology presents us with an opportunity to elevate these skills and empower women in engineering. Our recent event, hosted by the Apparel Design Engineering team (ADE) and The University of Manchester's Digital Futures platform, aimed to shed light on these crucial issues and develop a path towards a more inclusive and innovative future.

The event, held on 25th July at University of Manchester, served as a platform for experts and innovators to discuss and explore how technology can be harnessed to empower women in the clothing industry while revolutionising manufacturing processes. The event's agenda was filled with insightful discussions and engaging presentations that highlighted the need for technology-driven solutions. Speakers shared their expertise and perspectives on the intersection of technology, engineering and highlighted the importance of recognising women's contributions as engineers.

The event kicked off with a refreshments and a warm welcome to all attendees at 10:00 AM, shortly before our presentations commenced. Olivia Vaughan-Fowler from NRDA Studio started the series of presentations, delving into the challenges of achieving accurate fit in clothing patterns. Olivia's talk focused on the journey towards auto-generating 2D mannequins that accurately represent the 3D body, minimising the need for trial and error in fitting.

Kristina Brubacher, from ADE Group then presented her experience in engineering sportswear and the technical intricacies involved in creating performance-oriented clothing. This presentation emphasised the intersection of technology and fashion in designing sportswear that meets both aesthetic and functional requirements.

Tarfah Alrushaydan then presented insights on the development of pattern construction for women's construction for women's trousers using 3D body body scanning technologies.

Kasey Hatch followed with a talk focused on utilising body scanning technology to develop sizing standards for sports compression leggings. This innovative approach involves using 3D/4D body scanning to understand how the female body changes during movement, resulting in improved sizing accuracy. Watch Kasey's presentation here.

Clare Richardson's presentation centred on the concept of apparel engineering within a slower fashion industry. Clare explored how technical advancements in bespoke clothing production could align with sustainability goals, fostering a more ecologically conscious fashion landscape. Watch Clare's presentation here.

Andrea Izquierdo Ruiz​ rounded up the talks over with presenting her own journey in become a female engineer within Materials, Engineering and Chemistry and highlighting the real importance that we should recognise that fashion is engineering.

The morning sessions concluded at noon, allowing attendees to connect and network over lunch. The afternoon session was dedicated to a collaborative brainstorming development session that aimed to chart a course for the adoption of technology-enabled bespoke clothing manufacturing within Manchester.

This brainstorming session focused on four key stages: Body Scanning and Measurement Capture, Data Processing, Pattern Development, and VR/AR and Fit. The discussions were enriched by the resources and insights garnered from ADE's M-ADE Bespoke event on 24th July. The outcome of this session was to shape a strategy for wider technology adoption in the Greater Manchester region, with an eye on investing in high-tech manufacturing.

One of the central themes of the discussions was the importance of skills development at every stage of the process. Participants discussed specifications and training requirements that would empower individuals with the necessary expertise to drive the restoring of fashion manufacturing, while ensuring that the predominantly female workforce is recognised as key players in engineering.

In conclusion, the event was a great success, fostering insightful discussions and collaborations. By acknowledging and amplifying women's roles in fashion engineering and embracing technological advancements, the event marked a significant step towards a more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable future for fashion manufacturing.

Thank you again to everyone who attended this event and we hope to welcome you back to the next M-ADE event shortly. Click the links below to sign up to our community to keep up to date with all the latest events and opportunities.

Yingjun Tian: 3D Body Scanner Demonstration