Texas Tech University

Design Alumna’s Sustainable Fashion Designs Spotlight Environmental Concerns in First Friday Art Trail Exhibit

Hannah Fields

March 24, 2020

Mona Maher

Sustainable hat and dresses created using biodegradable fibers

Fashion merged with sustainability in Texas Tech Environmental Design alumna Mona Maher's project, "Wearing Many Hats: A Green Approach to Accessory Design."

The project, featuring a sustainable hat made from biodegradable fibers accompanied by sustainable dress designs, was displayed as part of an exhibit hosted at the collaborative studio of Apparel Design and Manufacturing's assistant professor, Rachel Anderson, and Hospitality and Retail Management's instructor, Valerie Hlavaty. The studio is part of the Charles Adams Studio Project, which holds fashion and art exhibitions that involved the support and promotion of West Texas and the cotton industry. The exhibit debuted at Lubbock's First Friday Art Trail.mona maher

Mona said her project journey began in the spring of 2019 when she began working with Apparel Design and Manufacturing assistant professor Ashley Rougeaux-Burnes learning the aesthetic analysis of apparel. It was in this class that Ashley mentored Mona's biodegradable dress designs. Her idea for the hat design followed in Fall 2019 when she began working with Rachel Anderson, who taught her sustainability in apparel design and mentored the hat design.

To obtain the overall design of the hat, Mona grew local grass roots and used them as an innovative sustainable textile fiber. Additional decorative design for the hat inspiration from the flower, rafflesia arnoldii, the largest existing flower on the planet with petals that can grow to be three feet in length and weigh up to 15 pounds. It was implemented using superfine merino wool, wool slubs, 100% silk fabric, and silk cocoon waste, and felting techniques.

dressesThe hat was also a demonstration in developing a sustainable, functional, wearable, and artistic hat to propose a green product and draw attention to environmental concerns and endangered species.

"I have researched and found that designers should wear many hats because of their significant role in different stages of product development," Mona said. "I came up with the idea to make a hat with ecological concern and promote the sustainable culture in society."

Mona graduated from the Environmental Design master's program at Texas Tech in Fall 2019 and will begin her Ph.D. program this fall, where she will continue to study sustainable fashion.

"In my Ph.D. program, I will learn about functional aspects of clothing, application of 2D and 3D CAD systems in product development, and design for special populations," Mona said. "In those areas, I am going to apply sustainable strategies to protect our environment and benefit people all around the world."

Mona will also be submitting her hat design to the 2020 International Textile Apparel Association Conference.