Fashion design partners with SILEX, massage therapy

A photo showing the massage therapy tables with new covers. CREDIT: BEN HARRIETHA
The new covers for the massage tables are expected to last for at least five years.

A student team has created new covers for the simulation labs massage tables in a new collaboration.

In a partnership with the occupational therapist assistant and physiotherapist assistant program (OTA/PTA), the Signature Innovative Learning Experiences (SILEX), and the fashion design program, students were given the opportunity to create covers for the OTA/PTA’s massage tables.

SILEX offers simulated experiences for students, such as mock ambulances, nursing labs with volunteer patients, and even a mock apartment for trauma response. Tania Killian, the manager of simulation, said that so many schools use the simulation labs, it can get hard to track.

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“There’s a huge list, I have four schools that I cover. So I have all the nursing programs, PSW, Community Studies, all the Health studies programs, there’s quite a few. And they all use the labs.”

SILEX partnered with the fashion design program in order to create new covers for the massage tables located in the simulation labs.

“To get them redone, would have cost thousands of dollars. And so I reached out to [Fashion Design] and they were super keen on it,” Killian explained. “We can buy covers online but they weren't as good, this material is way better than anything you could buy online and it didn't cost anywhere near as much.”

One of the students who worked on the project, Biz Clarkson, said the experience was great for learning a different way to apply the skills she learnt in fashion design.

“My skill set is just that much more varied and can expand that way. Now that I’ve had experience working with something that isn’t clothing, I could go and work for like an interior company.”

Clarkson added that the overall experience of working with the massage team to be accommodating and friendly.

“The communication was pretty good in the sense that I could ask to come and check something out really quick,” she said. “They really did seem to know what they wanted out of it.”

Fashion Fits, the student run company that was behind the production of the covers, has already received 20 more orders for the covers for the other massage tables throughout the school. Lorrie Dunn, a Fashion Design Technologist at Fanshawe and the lead on Fashion Fits, explained how they hope this project is a continuing one throughout the years.

“The covers aren’t going to last forever, they will break down depending on how much they are used,” Dunn said. “But it sounds like it's going to be a continuing project. So it will have an influence on future students as well.”

Killian’s goal as the simulation manager has always been getting the students to have real-world experience while they’re learning at the college.

“From the beginning I’m like, ‘even if it costs the same or a little bit more, we’re getting the student experience at the same time.’ And that’s part of my mission here.”

Killian was involved in the creative process as well, not just the setup.

“So I picked the material, I came down and showed them what we wanted, they did mock-ups with different materials, and then we gave them some feedback,” she explained.

“When the final products came, I was down here to approve them. That was a good process all around.”

SILEX has multiple other projects on the go as well. The previously mentioned apartment sim is getting an update thanks to second year interior design students. Their work will be presented on Dec. 5.