Students

Erin Winick Makes It Work

THERE IS ANOTHER ENGINEER/FASHION DESIGNER/WRITER in the world!  Beth had the pleasure of meeting Erin Winick during a talk she was invited to give in Florida as a guest of our former FibSeq star, Ming Yang.

Immediately, Beth realized she needed to profile this brilliantly creative maker on all of the things….

Tell us a little about you.

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I am a 4th year mechanical engineering student at the University of Florida and the founder of Sci Chic. At Sci Chic we used advanced technologies, like 3D printing and laser cutting, to make customizable science and engineering inspired jewelry and accessories. All of our products are also paired with science descriptions to help spread science literacy.

I love 3D printing, sewing and working with my hands (YES!!!!!). I even sew and create costumes in my free time (WHAT?!!!). I am a huge proponent of the maker revolution and love encouraging other to make as well. This is largely what inspired the creation of Sci Chic.

You can also find me hiking, reading, watching Project Runway (are you my soulmate, Erin?) or listening to Bruce Springsteen or musical cast albums. The Hamilton and In The Heights cast albums are currently on repeat on my phone

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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I am definitely a budget shopper and snatch up deals where I can find them. My trench coat is a classic from Banana Republic, but I actually got it at Goodwill for $15. My black flower sweater is from Ann Taylor which I also got on sale. I love Ann Taylor and Loft because of how simple and elegant their pieces look. My skinny jeans and boots are from Target, where I am definitely a loyal shopper as well.

I actually designed and sewed my blue galaxy dress. The galaxy fabric is from Joann Fabrics and really inspired me when I saw it. I made the whole dress in one weekend (that’s some mad skills–geez) and originally wore it for the launch of Sci Chic. I love learning new sewing techniques and showing off the beauty of science in my clothes. The black heels paired with it are from Rack Room Shoes.

All of my jewelry is by Sci Chic. The DNA Necklace and Suspension Bridge Ring are 3D printed in bronze steel. It often surprises people that you can 3D print metal, but you can get some amazing results! The white Small Atom Necklace and Blue Moon Phase Earrings are both laser cut from acrylic on a CO2 laser. Sci Chic offers all of these pieces in a variety of options on our website so you can customize them to what you want.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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I used to not really pay much attention to my clothes and my fashion in high school, but as I started college I wanted to make a good impression on the people I meet and interact with and decided to step-up my fashion game a bit.

When I started watching Project Runway, I slowly felt more encouraged to branch out to new styles.I love doing more layering and finding really versatile pieces I can wear with a lot of outfits. My style has become a greater mix of fun with professional; I am not afraid to rock some bolder patterns and pieces like the DNA necklace or galaxy patterned shoes.

Additionally, sewing my own pieces has given me complete freedom to make exactly what I want to wear. This has really allowed me to express myself through my clothes like never before.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

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I am a huge proponent of the maker movement (a 1000x YES!). I believe so much of what STEM consists of is creativity and problem solving. If you are considering on of the STEM fields, get as much experience having fun with it and getting involved as early as you can. Get hands on experience making things or solving problems.

If you enjoy this, STEM is definitely the field for you. STEM is so much more than just working on cars and building bridges; it can be the gateway into almost any industry.

Do not limit yourself or be afraid to pave your own path.

What is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

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Taking the leap and actually starting Sci Chic is definitely the thing I am proudest of doing. It took a lot for me to actually take the huge step of forming this company – it’s honestly really scary putting yourself and your idea out there. You face a lot of judgement in addition to adulation and your success or failure is very public.

However, I am so happy to have done it. The past 6 months that Sci Chic has been operating have given me some incredible experiences that I couldn’t have gotten any other way. I am so excited to see where it goes from here as we expand into new designs, more precious metal and into the retail market.

Are there any misconceptions about STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?

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It always bothers me when people expect engineers and scientists to be antisocial. To be honest, most of the best scientists and engineers are fantastic communicators. Being able to express yourself, your ideas and your creations to others is an extremely valuable skill and allows you to do well in the STEM fields. Personally I love writing, meeting new people and connecting with different groups of people.

I hope more people embrace this side of them – I think this will create a better public understanding of what engineers really do.

How do you see fashion and the STEM fields combining in the future?

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With wearable technology on the forefront of everyone’s minds I think science and engineering and going to become and increasing part of the fashion industry.

Obviously I am a huge fan of 3D printing. As 3D printing gets faster and cheaper I think more companies are going to take advantage of it. I love using it because it allows me to make the same piece of jewelry in both plastic and 14k gold. This type of customization is not something easily available out there to jewelry makers right now without 3D printing. I am also really excited by Electroloom, a company working on 3D printing fabrics.

I think in the next 10 years the people in the fashion industry that fully embrace technology are going to be the ones that win out.

Anything else you’d like to share with the audience?

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Do not be afraid to take an untraditional path. I never thought in a million years I would be able to combine my loves of fashion, 3D printing, making, writing, communication and engineering into one project, but somehow it worked out. There is something perfect out there for you. Do not stop until you find it.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

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I’m most active on Sci Chic’s social media pages which you can find here:

Facebook/ Instagram / Twitter / Tumblr / Pinterest / Youtube

Snapchat: Scichic

You can also follow my personal social media: Twitter / Instagram

You tell ’em what’s up Erin! We, too, did not think there was a way to connect our loves for fashion, writing, communication and engineering together and yet…here we are, making friends everywhere we go and celebrating these amazing lives people are leading.   Go buy yourself some SciChic!

Love,

Dona & Beth

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