The students from KPU’s technical apparel and design program in Richmond have graduated, virtually, taking with them a whole host of inventions that have a specific purpose.
Some of their creations included a personal flotation device to paraclimbing pants for people with spinal cord injuries.
Hanae Yaskawa, who designed the pants – called “Resilience Climbing Pants – said the name is a nod to the abrasion-resistant quality, as well as a recognition of the spirit of athletes who find creative ways to navigate a world is not designed for them.
“I was inspired by athletes who train and perform with the added challenge of living with a disability,” said Yaskawa, originally from California, before moving to Boston to study physics and Italian.
“Through chats with para-athletes, coaches, and sports organization representatives, I discovered many apparel challenges.
“I chose this project because the apparel solution could not only allow paraclimbers to climb more freely and for longer, but also allow more people living with spinal cord injuries to start engaging in the sport.”
Another student, mechanical engineer Joel Maerz, designed the “Chinuuk,” a weatherproof, alpine-capable pack built from a repurposed waterproof shell.
“Simply put, waterproof breathable shells are not recyclable. The inspiration for my design comes from just asking the question ‘okay, but what can we do about it?’” said Maerz.
Originally from Calgary, Maerz now works for the development team at Vancouver-based Stoko Design Inc. and says he is exactly where he wants to be - designing supportive apparel.
Other project designs included:
• Support device for yoga and meditation
• Flexible and breathable body protection for boxing
• Inflatable vest for deep water soloing (climbing)
• A personal floatation device for rowers
The post-baccalaureate students spend three to four months working on the projects, from brainstorming to creating prototypes.
They also work directly with local industry including Arc’teryx and Mustang on their capstone projects.
Unlike past years, when the public was invited to view the designs and meet the designers, this year the graduation and showcase took place online.
"Year after year, the students from the…program leave us in awe of their innovative design solutions for the performance issues they address. Congratulations to the graduating class,” said Andhra Goundrey, dean, KPU’s Wilson School of Design.