Interview with Sara Urasini

1. When did you realise you wanted a career in design?

My interest in art and languages began at a young age. Growing up in Italy everyone starts to decide their career paths at sound 13 years of age. I thought about pursuing languages as my best career option. I started language school but after my first year, I realised that I was neglecting my passion for art. My decision to learn languages in my own time allowed me to move to an artistic school where I was introduced to interior and product design. I enjoyed studying product design, and later found myself in a trilingual university, writing exams in Italian, English and German. All of my passions were fused together in one place, and I was lucky enough to find ease in applying for jobs abroad.

2. You’ve worked in fashion – what made you decide to move into Wearable Technology specifically?

I worked as a textile designer in Italy and learnt how to sew from my grandmother when I was younger, but I always knew that fast-fashion was not the industry for me. I wanted to work on meaningful projects with more purpose, and I felt all my knowledge of yarns and fabrics that I had accumulated could be applied differently. When I joined Design Partners in Ireland in 2015, there was a growing demand in wearable technology products. This led me to slowly transition from industrial design and CMF, towards soft goods and wearables, allowing me to combine my differing expertise and skills I have accumulated over the years.

3. Which sectors do you think will benefit the most from wearable technology?

The healthcare industry has seen a huge advantage in the last few years as health treatments are transitioning and advancing towards homes. Wearables and artificial intelligence are reshaping healthcare in three large ways – early diagnosis, personalised treatment, and management of chronic disease. Each of these promises to lower costs and save lives.

Other areas for wearable technology to expand are high performance sports, wellness, and workwear, where wearables or smart garments could prevent injuries, help with rehabilitation or simply enhance human performance.

4. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your career?

I’ve been very fortunate to have found a profession that I’m very passionate about and that is at the forefront of new technology and user experience. There is an inherent challenge in working at the cutting-edge of wearable technology design. That is in demonstrating the full potential of wearables to clients who may be wedded to existing, traditional methods of delivering new products to market. As an emerging sector, its value can be easily underestimated. We are working towards changing people’s mindsets to view wearables as more than simply smart watches, but a future of smart garments where meaningful technology is woven into textiles.

5. What’s your biggest success to date? Any particular projects you’re most proud of? Any ideas you initiated that you’re particularly keen to share?

There are many projects that I am proud of, but without the dedicated Wearables Lab we have to work on these projects we wouldn’t have been able to achieve some of our most important results. I would say that the wearables lab is my biggest personal success to date. Having built the working area, hiring people and building the team, creating relationships with material suppliers and manufacturers – seeing this system work in achieving great results is a huge victory.

6. What does your typical work day look like?

Typically my day begins at 6:45am with yoga, followed by a good breakfast, and a 20 minute cycle to the office. My day at the office is a mixture of desk-work, client engagement, mentoring younger designers and hand-work in the workshops and wearables lab (which includes modelling, pattern making, sewing, and laser cutting). All work is done in collaboration with engineers, model makers, researchers, HFE experts and other designers. I like to take a walk at lunch time as it allows me to elaborate ideas or approaches and I prefer to not work too late as my brain doesn’t function well in the evening.

7. Any advice / words of wisdom you’d like to share with upcoming designers?

Live with a sense of wonder.

Be curious and explore new territories.

Listen to the wisdom of other people and cultures.

Connect with
Sara Urasini

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Sara Urasini, wearables expert at product design and innovation agency Design Partners, part of PA Consulting

Sara collaboratively works on projects where technology meets the human body using smart materials and emerging electronics embedded into textiles. Sara’s background is in fashion, CMF and product design, having worked in Italy as a textile designer; creating new collections from ideation to final production, as well as industrial design for clients around the world to bring new products to market.

At Design Partners, Sara’s latest investigations involve incorporating highly complex monitoring and communication systems into wearables for high-performance sports, healthcare and workwear. In an interview, Sara can also go into detail about upcoming trends in the wearable space and how design needs to adapt to keep up with trends.

Interview published on: Mar 26, 2023

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