#MondayMaterials Episode 2 – Sophie Miell
Meet the Department 22nd June 2015
Hey everyone – thanks for coming back for more from #MondayMaterials!
The interview with Aravind seemed to go down a storm two weeks ago, so I’d like to thank him again for his input. What a cracking start to the series.
From talking graphene with a senior lecturer, we now move to discussions of garment fit with one of our first year PhD researchers. It’s a big jump, but that was planned. I think it’s a brilliant representation of the fantastic diversity here in the School.
Anyway, onto Sophie. I met Sophie while doing some filming for a materials facilities video we made for the open day. Well worth a watch if you’ve got a minute. Sophie seemed not only very clued up and on the ball, but she also struck me as indicative of the buzz that surrounds the Design, Fashion, and Business research area here.
I made sure she was next on the list for an interview:
Hi Sophie! Let’s start with the one everyone loves to answer. Could you please explain your research, for the layman, in ten sentences or less?
So, I look into consumer responses to garment fit using virtual product technology.
That’s looking into avatars and body scanning technology for online fitting rooms.
Consumers can then use these platforms to try on clothes before they receive them through the online platform.
How do you see your research benefiting the general public?
My research is helping the general public by addressing their fit issues, which they can look at on personalised avatars of their bodies by entering their body measurements and fitting the garment.
So there are ways of looking into this by using tension maps and heat maps, and also size recommendation and fit recommendation.
This will help consumers to make a better decision before they receive the garment from the online purchase.
Can I ask how you first got interested in your research area?
During my final year I did a module called Ecommerce which was supervised by the person who is now supervising my PhD; Dr Delia Vasquez.
It was really interesting. It was looking into new technologies and consumer behaviours and looking at how we can innovate and create new technologies. So, things like beacons and personalised apps and things like that. The kinds of things that are benefiting the fashion industry in 2015.
Do you have any heroes or inspirations in the industry?
Since I’ve been doing my PhD, I’ve had the opportunity to go to a Marks and Spencer’s fashion show.
While I was there I met their star director, Belinda Earl. She actually asked me to come to London, so I’m really excited.
She’s definitely an inspiration to me. She was one of the first FTSE 500 women – one of the first women to earn that much money that she ended up in FTSE.
So yeah, she’s definitely an inspiration for me.
Could you tell us a bit about any of your other interests?
Well, at the minute my free time is taken up by playing with my puppy and going to the gym.
What else do I do? I suppose I just like to hang out with my friends.
How has being here in Manchester benefited your work?
I think because it’s such a big textiles hub and there’s a lot of ecommerce here, it’s been really interesting to just get in touch with some retailers.
And the science behind my PhD is really interesting, so all the technology that we get to use, along with all the supervisors and the knowledge of the staff – it’s just brilliant.
Thanks, Sophie! And what a positive note to end on. I tend to agree with Sophie so far – there’s seems to be some great knowledge around.
Sophie’s just finished the first year of her PhD and is off to Glastonbury in a couple of days. As jealous as I am, she deserves a good celebration so let’s hope it doesn’t rain.
#MondayMaterials will be back in a couple of weeks with Head of School Professor Paul O’Brien. In the meantime – look out for my thoughts on the University Open Day and my experiences of the Women in Materials event.
See you all soon!