ITHACA, N.Y. – With his idea for 3-D-printed, custom-fit activewear, Cornell senior Eric Beaudette hopes professional young men can go from the workplace to the gym without breaking a sweat.
It could be the next breakthrough in sustainable fashion: convertible, multipurpose clothing that wearers alter seamlessly by adding or removing collars, sleeves, hoods, pockets or other accessories depending on the occasion. What’s more, he says, the fully recyclable garments would virtually eliminate waste found in the typical apparel design and manufacturing process.
For his concept, “Recycl3-D,” Beaudette, a student in Cornell’s Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design in the College of Human Ecology, received one of four $30,000 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarships from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund at a gala in New York City this month.
“As a graduating senior entering the workforce in a short time, winning the award reassures me that I have the skills needed to make a difference to solve real-world issues,” Beaudette said. “Receiving this award as well as interacting with industry leaders has made such a positive impact on my confidence and will help me with everything I set out to do in my life.”
For the competition, Beaudette created a full-scale prototype garment based on his measurements taken in Cornell’s 3-D Body Scanner. Everything was 3-D-printed at Cornell. Subscribers to his brand would create custom looks by choosing colors, patterns and accessories; when finished with a garment it would be returned to Recycl3D and converted to raw material for apparel, packaging or other uses.
“The real perks of 3-D printing have not been used to their full potential. I brought together recycling with synthetic blends, customization from body scanning and optimization of the manufacturing process to drastically reduce production waste,” Beaudette said.
Beaudette’s honor completes a fashion three-peat for Cornell, as he joins Justine Lee (class of 2014) and Blake Uretsky (class of 2015) in bringing the prize to campus in consecutive years. In addition this year, a record 11 Cornell students earned $5,000 awards for their YMA Fashion Scholarship entries.
“Having a hybrid education between science and design allows me to investigate any one aspect of a product through two unique perspectives,” Beaudette said. “True product design, especially for apparel, has to be a perfect marriage between design and materials. My dream is to be a product developer and innovator, and bring new perspectives to materials and technologies specifically made to interact with the human body.”