Susan Ashdown


Susan Ashdown

Helen G. Canoyer Professor
133 Human Ecology Building (HEB)
Phone: (607) 255-1929 Fax: (607) 255-1093
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Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Susan Ashdown joined the Cornell faculty in 1991 on completion of her Ph.D research in perception of apparel fit at the University of Minnesota. Previous to this she completed her MA degree at Cornell, where her research was in functional apparel design.  Overall the questions that inform her research and teaching focus on the interactions between apparel design and technology, and the changes that are occurring in the way that apparel is designed, produced, and distributed using new and developing technologies.

More specifically, her research and teaching are in the field of technical apparel design, with a concentration on sizing and fit of both fashion and functional apparel, and the use of full body three-dimensional scanning in the apparel industry. Issues in patternmaking, automated custom fit, judging apparel fit in research and industry settings, virtual fit, anthropometric measures, anthropometry of the active body, mass customization, interactions of materials and design, and functional apparel design are addressed in her research program. She is also investigating the use of half scale dress forms developed from body scans in academia and the apparel industry.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

Susan Ashdown teaches technical apparel classes, with an emphasis on the conceptual basis for understanding interactions among the body, materials, shape and silhouette, and the environment (both physical and social) in which clothes are worn. The design of apparel is a creative activity unlike any other, and she attempts in her classes to reflect both the craft and the concepts behind the multitude of decisions made throughout the design process.

Current Professional Activities:

Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Fashion Practice; The Journal of Design, Creative Process & the Fashion Industry

Objective 1 leader, NC-170 Regional Research Group

Member, International Textile and Apparel Association

Current Research Activities:

The focus of current work includes sizing and fit of apparel and the use of three-dimensional body scanning in the apparel industry, apparel sizing systems for target markets based on anthropometric data, anthropometry and changes in surface measurements in active positions, the fit of clothing in active positions, the design, sizing, fit, and function of protective clothing, and the development and use of half scale dress forms in academia and in the industry. 

Current Public Engagement Activities:

 In partnership with Charlotte Coffman, Denise Green, Lucy Dunne, and Kristen Morris, the website has been launched to introduce middle school girls to STEM concepts through their interest in Fashion.

  • Ph.D. 1991 - University of Minnesota, Apparel Design
  • M.A. 1989 - Cornell University, Textiles: Apparel Design
  • B.A. 1971 - Grinnell College, Theater Arts

Courses Taught:
  • FSAD 2640 - Draping
  • FSAD 4010 - Empirical Research 

Related Websites:

Site with activities for middle school girls introducing STEM concepts linked with Fashion

Site introducing the Halfscale Forum for apparel professionals  
Body Scan Research: Description of the work of the Cornell Body Scan Research Group (with Suzanne Loker), 2002
Apparel Sizing: Reference list of publications on sizing and fit of apparel, 2001
Draping Instruction: Teaching support for apparel patternmaking/draping (with Richard MacPike), 2004



Selected Publications:


Kim, YS, Song, H. K., & Ashdown, S. P. (2016). Women’s petite and regular body measurements compared to current retail sizing conventions. International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology. , 28 (1).

Dunne, L. E., Morris, K., Reich, J., Ramaswamy, H., Ashdown, S. P., Kozen, F., & Coffman, C. (2015). Fashion Meets Space Travel: Engaging Girls in STEM through Functional Apparel Design. 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems.

Baytar, F., & Ashdown, S. P. (2015). An exploratory study of interaction patterns around the use of virtual apparel design and try-on technology. Fashion Practice, 7(1), 31–52.Song, H. K., & Ashdown, S. P. (2015). Investigation of the validity of 3D virtual fitting for pants. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 33(4), 314–330.

 Ashdown, S. P., (2013) ‘Not craft, not couture, not ‘home sewing’: Teaching creative patternmaking to the iPod generation’, International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, 6, (2), 112-120

Petrova, A. & Ashdown, S.P. (2012). Comparison of garment sizing systems. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal 30(4), pp 315-329. 

 Ashdown, S.P. (2011) 'Improving body movement comfort in apparel,' book chapter in Comfort in Clothing, editor Song, G., Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, UK.

Ashdown, S.P. & Loker, S., (2010) ‘Mass customized target market sizing: Extending the sizing paradigm for improved apparel fit,’ Design Practice, 2(2), pp. 147-173.

Ashdown, S.P., Editor. (2007) Sizing in Clothing: Developing Effective Sizing Systems for Ready-To-Wear Clothing, Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, England.

Ashdown, Susan P. (1998) An Investigation of the Structure of Sizing Systems: A comparison of three multidimensional optimized sizing systems generated from anthropometric data. International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology. Vol. 10, #5, pp 324-341. 


Selected Keywords:
3D Body Scanning, Apparel Fit, Apparel Sizing, Virtual Fit, Anthropometrics, Technical Apparel Design, Creative Patternmaking, Half Scale Dress Forms

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.