Putting the Tech in Textiles

If your vision of a fashion designer is someone holding a sketchpad, you need a different image.

“Design is not about how well you can draw,” says Susan Hannel, associate professor of textiles, fashion merchandising, and design. “It’s about the ability to recognize and create good design. That ability can be taught. With the technology and equipment here at URI, students are able to realize their designs and ideas, regardless of their artistic ability.”

Apparel magazine has named Hannel its All Star Educator of the Year, in part for her efforts to improve technology in URI’s apparel lab and bring it up to industry standards so that students are prepared for fabulous careers.

According to Apparel, under Hannel’s guidance, the apparel lab was transformed from a “sea of home sewing machines to a true-to-life production floor, replete with industrial machines and sergers, professional steam irons, industry-standard dress forms, and professional worktables.”

Hannel was able to achieve that transformation with the help of two Champlin Foundations grants and with equipment donations from Lectra, a worldwide textiles industry leader in integrated technology solutions.

In addition to teaching apparel classes, supervising internships, and winning grants, Hannel also leads students on fashionable study tours to London and Paris.