Our students and faculty study apparel design and fiber science through the art of design, the science of chemistry and physics, the application of management principles, and the perspective of history.

The Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) provides an opportunity to study and research fibers, fabrics, apparel, and the apparel industry from design, management, historical, and scientific perspectives. The department faculty in addition to other academic and nonacademic support staff serve approximately 130 undergraduate and 25 graduate students.

The department has a broad outreach effort that includes programs related to the apparel industry, personal pesticide protection, textile programs for youth, and water quality. These outreach efforts take the research knowledge of the department and extend it into the broader community. A significant part of the FSAD outreach effort makes use of the Cornell Cooperative Extension network and partners with a variety of state and non-profit organizations throughout New York State and in New York City.

The department has an outstanding Costume Collection with over 10,000 items, including apparel and accessories dating from the eighteenth century to the present as well as a substantial collection of ethnographic textiles and costume. In addition to being the source for mulitple exhibits throughout the year, the collection is used extensively for teaching and research.

exhibit with white dress

Visit our exhibits

Curated by faculty, staff and students


FSAD Facilities

Apparel CAD labs in the Human Ecology Building on the Ithaca campus include industry standard computer stations for patternmaking, grading, marker making, custom fitting of patterns, product development, and illustration. The Apparel Design Studios are furnished with industrial equipment, including sewing machines, sergers, and a Sonobond machine.

Fiber Science Laboratories in the Human Ecology Building on the Ithaca campus are equipped with modern instrumentation for chemical, physical, and mechanical analysis, microscopy facilities, and a controlled temperature and humidity room.

The Cornell Fashion facilities in NYC includes a variety of fashion design studio space.

The Cornell Body Scan Research Group owns two full body scanners, one permanently installed (Human Solutions Vitus XL) and one portable scanner ([TC]2 NX 12) that can be transported for research off campus. A third high resolution scanner, with a smaller scan volume, is shared with the Department of Design & Environmental Analysis.

The Cornell Costume and Textile Collection includes more than 9,000 items of apparel dating from the eighteenth century to the present, as well as a substantial collection of ethnographic textiles and costume.

Kay Obendorf with Lindsey Boyd ’98 and Gwen Whiting ’98

Kay Obendorf Lecture

Fiber scientist S. Kay Obendorf, M.S. ’74, Ph.D. ’76, retired June 2016 after 50 years at Cornell as a scholar, scientist, teacher, mentor and administrator in the College of Human Ecology.

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Open Faculty Positions

The Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University has openings for two tenure-track Fashion Design faculty positions

Cornell tartan plaid

Cornell's Official Tartan Plaid

Cornell is the only Ivy League school to have its own tartan registered with the Scottish Tartans Authority. Jessie Fair, '09, designed the tartan. Purchase your tartan at the Cornell Campus Store.

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