Engineering Meets Fashion Design

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Fashion for women engineers

Abigail Messmer’s clothing designs for professional women.

Engineering Meets Fashion Design. It’s not everyday you see the words engineering and fashion used together in the same sentence; they seem to be about as opposite as you can get. Yet, surprisingly, these two seemingly opposite careers have several similarities. We were fortunate enough to speak with Abigail Messmer, a Field Service Technician at Bastian Robotics, who has a passion for both of these disciplines and has found a way to incorporate them into her life and career.

Q & A with Abigail Messmer

Q. Most people might not associate fashion and engineering as two disciplines that intertwine. How does that work for you? Did one lead you to the other or are they two separate passions?

A. Initially my love for engineering and fashion started as two very separate interests. I first became interested in engineering somewhere between watching October Sky in seventh grade and test launching rockets for my 8th grade science fair project. Fashion design, on the other hand, started as a cost effective hobby my freshman year in high school. There were so many formals and dances throughout the school year, I figured I could save some money by making my own dresses.

I never personally questioned why I liked engineering or sewing, but as I began my time in college I was questioned more than once by teachers and classmates about my supposed opposing interests. I realize that on the surface they seem worlds apart because of the masculine (engineering) vs. feminine (fashion) factor, but when you really think about it, they actually are very similar. In both engineering and sewing, you are using a raw material to create something — something better, something more efficient, something more usable. The material you are handling is different, but the process of creating, working around and with physical constraints, is the same.

Q. Where did you attend college? Did you study engineering and fashion design? What made you choose one over the other?

A. I decided to go to school at Mizzou (The University of Missouri) after looking at the three colleges that offered engineering in the state of Missouri. Mizzou was the most cost effective option and it also had a wide range of classes and minors to choose from. It ended up being the best choice because I wanted to focus on both engineering and art. In conjunction with my mechanical engineering degree, I took several sewing classes and ended up minoring in art with an emphasis on textile and apparel management.

Q. What is the biggest inspiration for your clothing designs? Do they share a common theme, or do you treat each piece as its own creation?

A. The first part of that answer is engineering — because it very much inspires my designs. Due to my background, the way that I construct things is very structural and mechanically based. The second part of that answer is that I want my designs to keep a steady balance between having a masculine and feminine tone — not being too provocative, but also maintaining that sense of femininity.

After working with patterns for five years, I’ve recently started constructing my own designs from scratch. I’ve only created two of my own pieces so far, so I wouldn’t say there is a common theme yet, but that overlap between technicality and femininity will definitely remain present.

This article originally appeared on the Helen Wells Agency blog. Read the full story here.

As the assistant marketing manager for Bastian Solutions, I work with the marketing and e-business teams to create advertising and public relations campaigns. I also head up our corporate blog and social media sites as well as develop customer case studies, e-newsletters, and other content. I have been with Bastian since 2010.

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