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My Fashion Week with the Engineers

A few years ago (2011), when I lived in Dubai and DFYnorm was nothing but a seed of an idea that I chased, I got myself into a pattern-making class !! I was surprising myself at the turn I was taking with my life!

On the one-side I cringed with my cultural ego-conditioning. “Is this tailoring??” Not quite the white collared track I was raised to aspire towards! My folks didn’t make it easy for me either, pulling my leg at every turn.

On the other side, I was impressed with the level of precision and engineering in creating patterns in fashion- garment manufacturing… That’s a story for another time.

Today I want to catch you up quickly on some of the impressive engineers I have met recently and how they are changing the world.

Matthew Hubble

Yesterday, I spent a delightful afternoon with Matthew Hubble, the civil engineer turned luxury fashion designer and a dedicated world-changer. Unbeknownst to you, he turns out to be a master story teller.

Matthew had a long full time career as a civil engineer (still does on occasion) on some impressive sites in London including the Cross Rails and spent his evenings mastering pattern-making and creating fashion. To him it is all connected and science is super cool just like arts and when they work together, magic happens! Like us, he works with role models to spread his ideas and fashion. His models tend to be PhDs from Cambridge and Harvard and he also has Nobel Prize winners on his list.

With Matthew Hubble at the Science Museum. That's a radio behind him! (C) DFYnorm 2015
With Matthew Hubble at the Science Museum. That’s a radio behind him! (C) DFYnorm 2015
The Apollo Capsule, from 1969 that went to the space and came back

We walked around the Science museum; he was endlessly fascinating and introduced me to so many cool stories- We saw the first Apple computer that The Steves made in their garage, the Apollo capsule that got sent to moon in 1969, the first particle accelerator that was made in Cambridge, Charles Babbage’s first ginormous calculating machine, the Watson and Crick’s original DNA model, and the technology Germans developed to land bombs in Britain under Hitler that was then used by the USA to send out the first rocket to space and much much more!

It was story after story, history and science lessons rolled into one. People if you still think Science is not cool or it is too intimidating, you should have a walk with Matthew! He will blow your mind and convert you instantly.

"A dress for neuroscience": Matthew with his Nobel Prize winning model May-Britt Moser (C)Matthew Hubble
“A dress for neuroscience”: Matthew Hubble with his Nobel Prize winning model May-Britt Moser (C)Matthew Hubble

Roma Agrawal

The other engineer I met is a Structural Engineer Roma Agrawal, who was integral in the landmark project The Shard.

Roma introduced me to Matthew.

I’ll be writing a lot more about Roma in the upcoming months as we are collaborating with her on a very exciting project! 😉 She is one of the role-models who we are creating a story-dress for. We ransacked her wardrobe and gathered inspiration for the project.

Wardrobe Ransack with Roma Agrawal!
Wardrobe Ransack with Roma Agrawal!

Roma is currently authoring a book to be published by Bloomsbury (!!) that tells “stories” of engineering structures of the world in layman language to inspire and excite everyone.

I’ll leave you with one story that Roma shared that inspired me. When I asked about her role models, Roma shared the story of Emily Warren Roebling who she said is a big inspiration for herEmily was the wife of the chief engineer Washington Roebling who was behind the famous Brooklyn bridge project. Washington had developed the caisson disease, was paralyzed and unable to do the job. Emily, with no background in engineering, carried the project forward to completion. How remarkable is that!

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