Summer Program Structure & Schedule

Give me a 160 word summary of the OSL 2017 Summer Program:

Open Style Lab’s ten-week interdisciplinary research program teams designers, engineers, and occupational therapists to create  wearable solutions with and for clients with disabilities. Teams will be given resources to carry out user studies in their client’s daily physical and social contexts, then fabricate and test prototypes with their clients. By the end of the program, each team will be required to produce a garment that thoughtfully uses technology and purposeful aesthetics to meet their client’s need. Teams will also receive feedback from guest lecturers, mentors and judges from academia & industry (e.g. Council of Fashion Design of America, PVH Corp, Reebok, Woolmark).  A final showcase at the end of the program gives teams the chance to share their work with the public, and compete for an award to further their work.


Why is the 2017 theme Wearable UX, and what does that mean?

Open Style Lab aims to pave the way for socially conscious, user-centered design in wearable technology. We know that the technology exists not just to help healthy people to track how healthy they are, but truly address existing health and wellness needs. Our 2017 program invites participants to dive deeper into the complexity of the dressing experience. The act of wearing can be examined through a variety of methods at the intersection between fashion and technology. Emphasis will be placed on integrating seasonal fashion trends, garment construction, and technologies.


How many participants will be chosen?

15 participants, totaling four or five  teams; Each team will comprise a designer, engineer and occupational therapist.


Who is eligible to apply?

Current design, engineering and occupational therapy students, or recent graduates (up to 4 years post-graduation) are eligible. Following are specific eligibility requirements for each participant category:

  • Engineers: Experience with 3D modeling, sensors, Arduino/Raspberry Pi or other electronic prototyping boards, circuit design and fabrication and/or 2D/3D CAD experience. Must be able to work with wearables or body-related projects.
  • Designers: Garment construction experience, some experience in wearable technology OR material science.
  • Occupational/ Physical therapists: each fellow needs to have robust list of clinical experience and volunteer. A desire or work that reflects the arts, design, or engineering are welcome such as skills in sketching, prototyping, building etc.
  • All fellows must have at least 1 year of work experience in their field and be able to commute to Manhattan, New York. Engineer and Design Fellows will be asked to share a portfolio & CV.


What is the time commitment for OSL 2017?

This year’s program runs every Saturday, 9am-5pm, from June 9-Aug 12, 2017. Participants are expected to be present every Saturday from 9am-5pm during the program. Additionally, you can expect 5-10 hours of team work outside of the core Saturday programming. Most participants also manage a full-time internship or job during the weekdays.


Where does OSL 2017 summer happen?

New York City. Parsons School of Design.


Is there an application fee?

Nope! However, if you are accepted to the program, there will be an application fee to confirm your participation. 


What resources are provided to participants?

The bulk of our program’s costs are generously funded by donors and sponsors. The space is equipped with a fablab with laser cutters (different building), 3D printers, soldering stations etc., Open Style Lab will further provide a station, and standard dressmaking equipment and supplies, e.g. industrial stitchers, dress forms, muslin etc. Each team is also provided with $1000 to spend on project-specific supplies at their discretion. In addition, functional fabrics, unique technologies, and materials particularly provided to this program will be given to all teams.

For more information, please look out for specific application instructions this Saturday 2/25 at 12:00pm noon or email us!  Applications close on March 19 (Sunday).


What can I expect from for 10-weeks? 


Forming Teams & Brainstorming with the Client

Program Timeline: Weeks 1, 2 and 3

Client and student teams will be matched based on student preferences and skills. Students will survey accessible apparel, learn to evaluate clients’ needs from OT, design and engineering perspectives, and visited clients at home to define their project scope.

Identifying Design

Opportunities with Mentorship

Program Timeline: Weeks 4, 6 and 8

Guest lectures and mentoring sessions help frame each team’s decision making process. Fellows are mentored by top industry professionals and experts in fields of universal design, assistive technology, material sciences, or therapy.

Fabrication, Construction, and Testing Action-able Research Questions

Program Timeline: Weeks 5,7 and 9

OSL offers a collaborative space for hands-on prototyping with fabrication tools, industrial sewing machines, laser cutters, 3D printers, wood-shop, printmaking center, and ceramics space. Fellows will be able to utilize a space to test prototypes with clients inside and outside the facilities.

Final Public Showcase

Program Timeline: Week 10

A final showcase will be open to the public with select guests, media, and experts from industry to inclusively engage with the community. Students may be invited to present final designs at platforms. Past such platforms include: MIT Museum, Museum of Science, Boston, Makerfaire-New York, and DisArt Festival.

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Our Sponsors 2017

Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundations

Our Partners 2017

Parsons School of Design
MIT Museum
The Boston Museum of Science