This Is My Spacesuit blasted off from Ithaca to Milan Fashion Week, one of the world’s most influential fashion showcases.
On Tuesday, the startup — founded in 2019 by Shoshana Swell ’20 — led several workshops focused on broadcasting their fashion-forward mission: making clothing and tech accessible by increasing the adoption of wearable technology.
In Italy, she hoped to build her young brand’s name, tell new stories and connect with a community on the other side of the globe. But the main aim of the trip was to advance the goals that Swell’s had since the startup’s inception –– inclusivity and global connection.
“At the very end of March, NASA cancelled their all-female space mission because they didn’t have a spacesuit that fit a female astronaut,” Swell said, who started her brand with a focus on spreading a message of inclusivity.
Since last year’s launch, that message has caught on, with the brand growing steadily.
First, she created a multimedia pop-up store in Collegetown styled after a space station. Subsequently, she released her unisex, customizable “spacesuits”: black hoodies, crewnecks and sweatpants imprinted with the words “This Is My Spacesuit.”
From there, the brand took off, resulting in an invitation by NASA to a rocket launch with Spacex.
This Is My Spacesuit expanded its reach with hour-long workshops for students at Cornell. And during winter break, Swell brought the workshops to Eswatini and Ghana, collaborating with CodeAfrique and members of Under-Represented Minorities in Computing.
No matter the topic, Swell starts each workshop with the motto “anyone can blast off.”
Now, after having landed at Milan Fashion Week, Swell sees a bright horizon for her company, encouraging other Cornell students to pursue their own dreams.
“You can always find time for creative projects and passion,” she told The Sun. “That’s kind of how I structured my time here: chasing after things.”
Swell launched This Is My Spacesuit through eLab, an entrepreneurship program that fosters the startups of equally passionate Cornell students.
“ELab is this wonderful entrepreneurship program that students get class credit for,” Andrea Ippolito, Swell’s eLab advisor, said. “They get $5,000 to advance their startup concepts.”
Students have launched a vast range of companies through eLab, including Scholar Coin, which helps underserved students gain access to scholarship money.
“There’s just such a huge range of student-run startups that are making a huge impact in society,” Ippolito said. She encourages hopeful Cornell students to take Swell’s example and start their own projects.
“I’d like to work with future brands and organizations to bring these workshops all over the world,” Swell said. “That’s my dream: to teach the world.”