Meet Dr. Hall’s student, Farha. I had the pleasure of chatting with Farha over a video call. Learn about the skillset she brings to Dr. Hall’s lab and the products she is creating with the rest of Dr. Hall’s team.
Tell us About Your Educational Background.
I’m earning my master’s degree at the University of Delaware in Fashion Design and Merchandising. My undergraduate degree is also in fashion design and merchandising. My first master’s degree is in marketing related to the fashion industry, specifically, how people connect with marketing, marketing perspectives, and consumer behaviors.
How Did You Start Working with Dr. Hall?
I have been working with Dr. Hall since 2019 as a researcher in her lab. When I applied for my degree program, I didn’t know anything about functional apparel.
Tell me What Functional Apparel Means to You.
Functional apparel and adaptive clothing help people with disabilities by utilizing function, fit and aesthetic sense. What we have in commercial retail clothing does not provide specific functions for certain groups of people. Adaptive clothing is something specially designed for a particular group of people who have a need.
What Drew You to Work With Dr. Hall?
The Fashion Design and Merchandising department head encouraged me to reach out to Dr. Hall because of her exciting research with functional apparel. When I looked up her work online, I was immediately inspired and wanted to learn more.
I contacted her, and she interviewed me to work in her lab. We started working on different projects. I learned to take new perspectives that I never had in my life. My studies in my undergrad and my other master’s program are related to commercial fashion design. But fashion design can have another perspective. I didn’t know that. And after coming to Martha’s lab, I found some innovations are resulting in unique creations. I discovered how adaptive clothing could help people in a life-changing way! I am so lucky to have her as my advisor. I am experiencing a different world now.
Tell us About the Work You are Doing with Dr. Hall.
I’m working on fashion designing to help people with disabilities. It’s a different scenario. I never thought that, as a fashion designer, I could help so many people.
I’m from Bangladesh; in my country, we have so many children in the street who are helpless. There is no way that they could get adaptive clothing there. Nobody even knows about adaptive clothing because it’s very new, even in the U.S… And a few retailers have it in their stores. So, that intrigued me to have this knowledge and experience this different design thinking.
Currently, we’re doing market research. As I mentioned earlier, we do not have enough designing information on adaptive clothing in the market right now. People do not have that perspective, especially retailers. Where’s the perceived audience for this kind of clothing? This research will spread the knowledge and enlighten people about the fullness of adaptive clothing and the need for functional apparel in our industry.
What Drives You?
I want to work for humankind. This morning, I was even thinking about how much more I should have done, by now, something for the people because I want to help people. The last time I went back to my country, I found a boy on the street, and he needed help. That touched me. And then, I thought I should do something. I got emotional. I want to do something with my knowledge by bringing it back to my country.
What is Dr. Hall like as a Mentor?
Martha has opened new doors for me. She’s a fashion scientist, and she knows how to handle fashion from a fashion designer’s perspective. Martha directs me. Every time I struggle with my research or writing, she magically helps me out of that struggle. Whenever I’m having trouble with something, I don’t wait; I go to her and ask questions. I feel comfortable with her; she is always so friendly. I have never had this experience with my other professors. She’s different, totally different.
When was a time Dr. Hall Helped you Problem Solve?
For example, today, I was making a model for my physics project. I was having trouble finding the relationships between the variables. She said, “Oh, okay. You just have to move this variable to that variable, and it relates to each other.” And then, I saw the relationship! I couldn’t find it for the last two or three days. She helped me find it in five minutes!
What are your Favorite Qualities About Dr. Hall?
She is so patient. She never gets tired. She’s so positive.
How has Dr. Hall Removed Blocks from Your Work?
When the pandemic started, we were in the middle of a project. We couldn’t work on our project remotely because we needed tools that are only in the lab, like sewing machines and special software. During that time, we didn’t have permission to come to the University. So, she sent all the large but necessary equipment to my home.
And it was so easy for me to work from home now that I had the machines and software. At first, I thought I wouldn’t have possibly completed that project at that time because of the pandemic. But Martha made it easy for me. That’s how she gets the job done!
Farha brings a vital perspective to Dr. Hall’s team as an expert in fashion and marketing and growing up in Bangladesh. She adds to the diversity of the lab, adding value to all the projects she touches. Learn more about Dr. Hall and other students in her lab by subscribing to our blog.