FORM Fashion: Making Math Wearable

Developed by architect Anne Trelease, the Cartesian scarf has an innovative design that fits the wearer’s body without adding bulk. Super chic, it can be worn multiple ways and even double as a head wrap. Image via Kickstarter/Cartesian.For architect Anne Trelease, designing apparel and designing buildings are not so far apart. “It’s very similar to architecture,” she points out, “in that even the most mundane decisions involve time-consuming research and painstaking mock-ups, drawn, built or otherwise.  And you either have to finish it or shelve it.” She should know. Her newest project is the Cartesian Scarf, an innovative take on knitted neckwear that’s design to bend and twist and to conform to a wearer’s body without being bulky.

A knitter and sewer since childhood, Trelease has always “jotted down and sometimes attempted apparel and accessory items, furniture—I have numerous partially constructed things in storage,” she says. This time, though, the project took on something of a life of its own, with the “ah ha” moment coming with a “kind of math image involving 3D meshes.

In the process of creating the scarf, “I hand knitted about four dozen to try to figure out stitches, tension, proportion, et cetera,” she recalls. “I tried many types and gauges of yarns. I got a great response to early prototypes that I wore, from both women and men, of different ages, personal styles. A friend in retail told me I could sell millions.”

“One thing led to another in what seems now like a natural evolution, and ended up with two patents,” says Trelease.  “I segued to machine knitting to see if it was even possible to mass produce, and then looked at production costs, reality.”

The end result is a scarf, which is now available through Kickstarter. Offered in dreamy, soft extra-fine merino wool, the pieces are about more than keeping warm. They’re stylish and just plain cool to see.

To learn more about the scarf and participate in the campaign—there’s just another day to go—visit Trelease’s Kickstarter site

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