Girl Scientist Superhero


The design was featured at the Desicence runway show in Cambridge, MA in 2014 and at the juried exhibition during the Gender and Fashion Symposium in Minneapolis, MN in 2015.


Gender inequalities present throughout our society, particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) areas informed this design.  This design was created for a young girl between the ages of 6 and 7 to get her thinking about, interested in, and motivated to pursue activities in the STEM fields. 


Research from a plant biologist served as the inspiration source. The biologist conducts basic research on mucilage, which is a substance produced in certain plants and seeds. I utilized 8 of the scientific images created a repeat pattern using Adobe Illustrator. This pattern was then digitally printed on a linen/cotton-blended fabric and used for the jacket and suspenders. I used these realistic scientific images in order to inspire curiosity in the wearer regarding what the images are and how they were produced. The patch pockets on the jacket and the knee patches of the pants are abstract representations of the mucilage images made from different wool fabrics. I also incorporated abstract images of the mucilage in the custom 3D-printed buttons found at the center front of the jacket, the fly of the pants, and the back waistline securing the suspenders. To create the buttons, a computer vision script was used to translate six of the 2D images into 3D images. These STL files were then opened in OpenSCAD where the images were manipulated to the desired sizes and sew-through holes were added. Lastly, they were 3D printed using an ABS plastic and then hand painted.


On the exterior of the jacket, a clear-plastic pocket was attached.  The word “specimens” was hand embroidered on the pocket. This pocket was designed for the emerging scientist to collect specimens in and to expose the child to new science-related vocabulary. Two other words, “pectins” and “mucilage” were also hand embroidered on the other patch pockets on the jacket. A cape was attached at the top center back of the jacket with snaps and can snap up at the bottom, too. I added the detachable cape to promote fun and movement for children.