Monthly Archives

April 2015

Inspirational women

Rocket Woman Dolly Singh, From SpaceX to Shoe Design

30 April, 2015

As a woman working in engineering, I for one don’t think that fashion should be compromised simply because I work in a typically male work environment. On the contrary. As a woman your wardrobe gives you an edge and for some women gives them that extra boost of confidence. I’m sure to wear a blazer and heels when I want to boost my height and professional look, making me feel more classy and confident. I also, like many women, wear my flats to work (or snow boots in Canada during far too long of the year..) and change into one of the pairs of heels that I keep under my desk once in the office, especially for important meetings and to meet customers. Working in engineering whilst wearing heels, does have it’s limitations, say being aware of safety whilst I’m in the manufacturing department and after a long day on my feet I’m glad to slip into my flats. However this doesn’t have to be the case.

Thesis Couture CEO Dolly Singh [Bloomberg]

I’m beyond excited to hear about the work being done by Dolly Singh and her team at Thesis Couture, an excellent group including an astronaut, a rocket scientist, an orthopaedic surgeon and a fashion scientist. CEO Dolly Singh, a Space X top recruiter for 5 years, states in her recent Bloomberg interview that she’s loved high heels since she was young, however after walking the Space X factory floor everyday, “a 550,000 sq ft industrial space with beautiful clean shiny white floors”, her relationship with shoes became “a personal and intimate one”, becoming unpleasant. Her options were to downgrade her heels and wear “uglier shoes”, or “keep wearing really pretty shoes and have ugly deformed feet”. This concern got to the point for Dolly where it was an important enough problem in her actual life that she decided to “stop complaining and actually do something”! Dolly mentions that surprisingly there is essentially no R&D in fashion, a $40 Billion a year industry. She decided to gather a diverse group of people and allow them to design from a clean sheet of paper to solve the problem.

Shoe design has been the same for centuries, she continues, starting from a metal plate, with a shoe built around it. As you can imaging standing on a metal plate all day isn’t the best idea, or the most comfortable. Therefore Dolly states that “from an engineering and design standpoint, it’s a physics problem”. The team at Thesis Couture are using advanced polymers to create a new shoe design, instead of metal structures, with the shape and material distributing the wearer’s body weight across the structure itself. They can also control the amount of stiffness and strength of the polymer material. Dolly emphasises that it’s  important “for comfortable and sexy to work together”, with them being mutually exclusive essentially the problem. Millions of women have been essentially been standing on uncomfortable metal plates for hundreds of years, but hopefully not for much longer with this amazing team bringing a unique perspective to the shoe industry.

Learn more about Thesis Couture here.


Featured in TechGirls Canada’s Portraits of Strength

8 April, 2015

Vinita Marwaha Madill featured in TechGirls Canada’s Portraits of Strength

I’m honoured to be featured in TechGirls Canada’s Portraits of Strength, stories of role models across Canada to inspire young women.

“I am proud of contributing to a spacesuit programme at the European Space Agency (ESA) that will be worn on the International Space Station (ISS) next year to prevent bone and muscle loss in astronauts, with the potential to be used for long-duration exploration.”

“The biggest obstacle I have faced was overcoming preconceived ideals. I’ve always known that I wanted to work in the space industry, however it wasn’t a career path that was expected. I had to prove to others and myself that it was possible.”

I hope that the work I do inspires girls globally to follow their dreams to study and consider a career in STEM.

TechGirls Canada is a fantastic organisation that provides national leadership and community to the hundreds of non-profit and industry groups working to encourage more girls to consider tech as a career.

Read more of the feature on the TechGirls Canada website: