Fatma Baytar, assistant professor in apparel, educational studies, and hospitality management uses technology to create a more sustainable fashion system.
Fatma Baytar, assistant professor in apparel, educational studies, and hospitality management uses technology to create a more sustainable fashion system.

Baytar’s use of technology encourages sustainability in fashion

Sustainability is a buzz word these days, thrown around by “green”  household products or politicians, but rarely by fashion leaders. Fatma Baytar, a new professor in apparel, educational studies, and hospitality management, is hoping to change that. The Turkey native received her bachelors in Bursa, masters in textile engineering from Istanbul, and Ph.D in apparel design at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Baytar enrolled in a class on sustainability that would forever change her academic interests. Now the professor hopes to utilize technology to make the fashion world more carbon-neutral – and inspire her students to adopt a more sustainable and innovative mindset.

“I’m interested in how technology affects garment design and consumers – how technology will change the fashion system,”  said Baytar.

As a graduate assistant, Baytar worked on projects designing functional apparel for firefighters, agricultural workers, and post-mastectomy women using 3D body scanning technology. But until her class on sustainability, Baytar admits not having given much thought to the rate of consumption in the fashion and apparel industry.

“The trend in fashion right now is a high demand for cheap garments which people throw away after little use. The amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted, the way energy and resources are used – it’s so wasteful,”  Baytar said. “It would be better to have a system where we don’t create a bunch of garments, but customize fewer, quality garments for the consumer.” 

Baytar explains how using the 3D body scanner would allow a consumer to engage in a virtual shopping environment by using an avatar with their exact body type and dimensions to try on clothes. A consumer could see how the garment would fit them without having to waste materials and resources required for a traditional shopping experience.

“By using digital technology I hope to alter the overly consumptive behavior in fashion. And I hope to inspire my students to explore the body scanning technology as well,”  Baytar said.

Baytar is teaching computer applications in textiles and clothing where undergraduate students utilize Photoshop and Illustrator to design garments and create a fashion design portfolio. In the spring she will teach digital textile and apparel design technology to graduate students, employing the department’s 3D body scanner and digital printer.

“I don’t consider myself just a teacher or just a researcher. I’m both. I want my students to feel like they can come and talk to me about their ideas and find new ways to approach problems they may have with designing their garments. I want to collaborate and share ideas about sustainability with other departments, and see my students get inspiration from outside sources,”  Baytar said.

  • Quick Look

    While at Cornell, Baytar enrolled in a class on sustainability that would forever change her academic interests. Now the professor hopes to use technology to make the fashion world more carbon-neutral - and inspire her students to adopt a more sustainable and innovative mindset.


  • “By using digital technology I hope to alter the overly consumptive behavior in fashion. And I hope to inspire my students to explore the body scanning technology as well.”

    Fatma Baytar