Design Lecturers at AU Create Clothing for People with Sensory Processing Disorders

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Married couple Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati also happen to be married to their work.  When the Italian duo isn’t teaching architecture and design in the College of Engineering at Ajman University, they’re creating dynamic clothing that serves multiple purposes.

Their remarkable union has produced one child with another on the way, as well as a brainchild known as “Sensewear.” A clothing line that can be worn by anyone, Sensewear garment and accessories are especially relevant for those with Sensory Processing Disorders, often associated with autism and Asperger syndrome. Sensewear has two distinct functions: mute physical sensations or sharpen them, depending upon the needs of the wearer.

The collection includes an inflatable jacket, a chewable necklace, a musical poncho and an aromatic scarf. Some pieces are designed to minimize interaction with the skin via fabric cutouts and external seams; others include textures and accessories to stimulate the senses. Ultimately, Sensewear is meant to suit all those in search of stylish comfort to help offset a stressful world.

“The aim of the project was to design an inclusive collection that could be attractive and wearable by anyone and doesn’t stigmatize a person affected by a disorder,” explains Corti. “We were able to produce the prototype at the Digital Fabrication Labs at Ajman University and submit them to international competitions.”

Sensewear won the Grand Prix at the Lexus Design Awards in Japan 2015, which secured funding to further develop the collection.  Corti and Parati are now collaborating on technological aspects of the collection with a multinational company based in Italy. They’ve since won top “wearable tech” awards at Venice Design Week in 2016 and AXAPPP Health Tech & You in 2017.

Popular lecturers at AU for the last 8 years, the couple are also dynamic leaders in the U.A.E. design scene. Recently featured in Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Corti assessed the expanding marketplace of ideas in the Middle East: “Thirst for novelties at any cost are definitely pushing the expectations of young creators and definitely many opportunities will pop up for UAE-based designers.”

Ajman University was established in 1988 as the first private university in the GCC. More than 36,000 AU alumni are making things happen around the world.