hi, Smiley here! over at Cornell University, two students have taken apparel design to the next level – creating fashion that has a useful purpose as well a message. Matilda Ceesay teamed up with fiber science major Frederick Ochanda to create a collection that is embedded with insect repellent at the molecular level. both students are originally from Africa where Malaria is a major concern.
the material they use is safer, more durable and more powerful than skin-based repellents. the goal is to have the technology and the material market-ready within two years. the collection includes hoods, jackets, dresses and shirts.
this specific piece- a part of the Njehringe‘ collection – was designed to look like a conventional mosquito net – which is also an important way people protect themselves against disease. however, the nets are easily damaged and can become ineffective after a few months of use. interestingly enough, Ceesay promises that other kinds of materials like collars and wristbands could be treated with the fabric, providing extra protection for children at night.
the idea was inspired by Ceesay’s own African heritage. for her, silhouettes were extremely important in the collection. every textile used was produced and locally hand-dyed in the villages of Ceesay’s home country, Gambia. it’s incredible to see technology being used in fashion to solve important global problems.
she states, ‘I created this garment to remind people to not be complacent with the current treatments available for malaria. the world has been fooled into thinking diseases can only be treated by doctors; I hope to revolutionize the thought process behind finding medical solutions using this garment. this is a prototype garment but with enough research and interest, MOF technology could be readily available to everyone.‘ – Matilda Ceesay