When the URI women’s rowing team competes in the famed Henley Women’s Regatta in England this month, it will be there in classic regatta style – with a twist. The team’s blazers were designed by students in Professor Karl Aspelund’s class in URI’s Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) program and produced by fashion giant Jones of New York. The Jones Group’s CEO, URI alumnus Wes Card ’70, hosted the TMD program’s annual fashion show this year at the company’s headquarters in the heart of the New York City fashion district, where student designers mingled with TMD alumni and Jones models.
Inside the textile testing laboratory, internationally renowned textile chemist Martin Bide is developing a revolutionary wound dressing that combines infection resistance with blood clotting agents.
But design is just the “D” in TMD. If you’re into forensics, archaeology, filmmaking or inventions for better healthcare, you’ll like the “T” and the “M” too.
Inside the textile testing laboratory, students work with internationally renowned textile chemist Martin Bide, who is developing a synthetic arterial bypass graft and a revolutionary wound dressing that combines infection resistance with blood clotting agents. He’s also worked with TMD Professor Margaret Ordonez to help the FBI develop a database of fiber dyes.
“Dr. O.” as she’s called, is an internationally renowned textile conservator called to examine 100 5th Century textile samples found in a tomb in the Copan ruins in Honduras, and to supervise the restoration of a rare, historic 16-star 16-stripe American flag. Students can work with Dr. O. and Professor Linda Welters on archaeological analysis inside the textile conservation lab. Textiles expert Susan Jerome, who runs the 20,000-piece Historic Textile and Costume Collection at URI consulted with filmmaker Ric Burns on his PBS documentary “Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World.”
And our alumni? You can find them designing the latest fashions for such companies as Kenneth Cole, Anne Klein and Talbots. They are also doing fabric research at places like Lauren Dresses and Liz Claiborne, research and development for Saucony, textile conservation at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and working in the anthropology division of the Smithsonian Institute.
At URI, our ideas for fabric go way beyond fashion.