The U.S. Military is seeking help from fashion designers.
The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, a division within the U.S. Department of Defense, is looking for help redesigning the suits soldiers wear to protect themselves against chemical and biological attacks, WWD reported. To get people involved and encourage them to come up with innovative new designs, the department has launched a competition called the "Proof-The Chembio Suit Design Challenge," which comes with a monetary prize.
The issue with the current suits is that they're heavy and bulky, which restricts a troop's range of motion, agility and maneuverability, so the new designs would need to address these issues and increase the wearer's mobility, dexterity and tactility.
The competition will feature a panel of judges who are experts in design, military and the sciences. Judges include Douglas Bryce, the joint program executive officer for Chemical and Biological Defense, Dr. Matthew Trexler, director of technology validation at Under Armour, Mark Sunderland, CEO of Boathouse, and Dave Strum, president of Velocity Systems.
Three semifinalists can win up to $25,000 each, and three finalists will win a prize between $50,000 to $150,000. Five small-prize winners will also be awarded $5,000 each.
To kick off the program, there will be an event on Thursday at the Museum of Science in Boston. Soldiers will be in attendance to talk more about how their suits need improving, and guests will be able to inspect the current suit. The event will also include a panel discussion on industrial design trends and wearables, and attendees will also get to network with Pentagon officials and design industry leaders.
Those interested in applying can submit designs at Proofchallenge.com before Ovt. 28. Winners will be announced in January 2017. For more information on the challenge or how to apply, click here.