Taking fashion design to outer space

A good education can take you to some amazing places. But Kaila Bibeau never thought her studies in apparel design would take her to NASA.


Apparel design junior Kaila Bibeau looks through different types of fabric that can be used to insulate space suits for a group project in her apparel design class. Photo: Eric Tanaka, The Minnesota Daily

According to a report by Claire Bramel in the Minnesota Daily, Bibeau and 11 other students have spent the semester working on spacesuit prototypes as part of a 3000-level apparel design class at the University of Minnesota. This summer Bibeau will continue working with NASA in Houston, hopefully contributing innovative ideas based on the research she’s doing this semester.

Bibeau will work in the human interface branch of the Johnson Space Center and will help integrate computer interfaces and other electronics into a garment. Cory Simon, a human systems engineer at NASA, said she will be a “domain expert” in garment design and will also do some user testing.

“I’m developing a garment that can provide wearable displays, controls and sensors inside future space habitats,” Simon said.

Bibeau’s project in [Lucy] Dunne’s apparel design studio correlates well to Simon’s research and what she’ll be doing this summer.

“[I am] exploring placement of different removable swatches on a suit for the astronauts to wear while on missions,” she said.

Her work includes testing different fasteners and modes of application in addition to exploring problems related to the visibility and accessibility of the components.

You can read the full article about Kaila Bibeau’s job with NASA here.

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