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Kwantlen design student lauded for innovation

By Don Fennell

Published 12:58 PDT, Mon June 29, 2020

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

The Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University has quickly earned a reputation as a leader. Now, one of the grads from its Richmond campus has wowed judges at a prestigious annual design contest.

Riley Scott, who graduated from the technical apparel design program last December, was recognized at the Core 77 Design Awards for his innovative ski jacket that adapts to temperature and exertion levels. Scott was student runner-up for the sports and recreation award for his creation of the Stratus ski touring mid-layer, which varies its insulation to the thermal needs of the user.

“The initial inspiration for this jacket came from my own ski touring expeditions and being frustrated with the amount of time and energy that was wasted while altering my layering system,” Scott explained.

Those experiences inspired him to create an invisible layer that could adapt to conditions.

“To realize this goal, I took inspiration from window blinds as they transition from a two-dimensional object to a three-dimensional object,” he said.

The jacket was Scott’s capstone project at the Wilson School of Design. But he was quick to give some of the credit to instructors who never left any of his questions unanswered. The instructors say the jacket reflects a commitment to the design process they teach.

“Riley did a fantastic job not just in what the jacket became as a prototype, but in the whole approach to understanding the context of use, defining the problem and technical design requirements, material and construction exploration, and iterative prototyping and testing of possible solutions,” said instructor Dan Robinson.

Robinson noted the jacket is also sensitive to other context-specific requirements such as carrying a backpack, providing more traditional vent zips usually absent in a mid-layer jacket, and for keeping sleeves in place during arm movements.

Robinson also praised Scott’s engineering tests to show changes in insulation and user tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of the jacket. 

Now working at Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Scott said he felt “honoured” to have been recognized for his creation.

“I put so much time and passion into (the project),” he said. “It has been incredibly validating to realize that judges from Jacksonville, Luxembourg and Stockholm are all discussing my design as it is something I have thought about every day for months.”

This marks the second time in as many years that a graduate of the design school has been recognized at the Core 77 awards. Philip Siwek’s autonomous vehicle cycling jacket won the strategy and research student category in 2019.

The only program of its kind in Canada, the technical apparel design program was developed with, among others, employees at local apparel companies like Arc’teryx, lululemon, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, and Mustang Survival.

“Our graduates are amongst some of the best design grads in the world,” said Andhra Goundrey, dean of the Wilson School of Design. “This program engages our students in research, design process, business and leadership skills to develop innovations that challenge boundaries to maximize human performance.”

The Wilson School of Design offers seven unique programs through certificate, diploma, bachelor’s degree and post-baccalaureate qualifications.

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