Having a fashion show at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science might seem out of the ordinary, but it exactly models the close relationship between STEM and fashion. 

Yeohlee Teng, right, discusses her designs.

Sustainable fashion appears to be a recent trend, with the goal of moving towards environmental and social sustainability. Yet, zero-waste, efficiency and style seem to be words that have been in Yeohlee Teng’s vocabulary since the 1980s. 

Not only is Yeohlee Teng’s style minimalist and timeless, but she truly believes in the policy of zero-waste. Her idea of “the perfect garment” is a sarong, a piece of cloth you can wrap around you. Some of her designs have even been created using scraps.

Design by Yeohlee Teng.

Design by Yeohlee Teng.

Her designs are not only resourceful, but are innovative. Teng does not follow trends, but rather draws inspiration from architecture and more. My favorite piece she showed was her memory dress, which sought to display the impression left on a chest after a hug. 

Teng’s designs are often described as suited for the “urban nomad”. Although they seem stiff, she created them to be comfortable and move with the body. 

Design by Yeohlee Teng.

Design by Yeohlee Teng.

So how does all of this relate to STEM? Why have a fashion show in a science museum? Well, the intersection of sustainability, design, and material are completely related to STEM. This is as much an idea of STEM as a biology lab is. Yeohlee Teng should be a person we envision when we think about STEM. As a high school student, I know that if Yeohlee Teng was perceived as someone who falls under the category of science, the interest in science and design classes would increase drastically. 

Sonia Dhingra is a high school sophomore who is passionate about journalism, music, painting and experimental photography. Click here to read her article in the Scientific American and here to read her article in the Dallas Morning News.

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Dr. Koshi Dhingra has dedicated her career to STEM education and is passionate about having every child live up to their potential. Seeing a lack of girls and other underrepresented youth in STEM programs, she founded talkSTEM in 2015 to address the imbalance. She has a doctorate in science education from Teachers College, Columbia University, has years of experience teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs, and has held leadership roles in universities. She advises and collaborates with a broad range of educational institutions globally. Dr. Dhingra began her career teaching science in middle and high school in New York. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs.


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