Gaining the skills and tools to find solutions
Ryan Mario Yasin (MA Global Innovation Design, 2017) is the Founder & CEO of Petit Pli, a company engineering innovative outerwear that grows with a child from age nine months up to four years.
Since graduating from the Global Innovation Design programme, like a third of RCA graduates who set up their own businesses or are independent professionals, he has been on an entrepreneurial road to grow his company from the ground up. Studying at the RCA enabled Ryan to unlock new skills and apply those he gained studying aeronautical engineering in new ways, it also gave him the grit and confidence to found his own company during his studies. Petit Pli was awarded the UK James Dyson Award in 2017, the 2018 Dezeen Award for best wearable design and was supported by InnovationRCA, the College’s centre for enterprise.
Why did you apply to Global Innovation Design at RCA?
Before joining the Royal College of Art, I had studied aeronautical engineering at Imperial College London. That gave me a really strong technical foundation and I felt I could build upon that by developing my creative approach at the RCA; in order to grow as a creative problem solver prepared to tackle society’s largest challenges. The RCA offered the perfect opportunity to merge design and engineering together, and Global Innovation Design (GID) was the ideal programme because it applies a multidisciplinary approach to design and is run by both Imperial College London and the RCA.
How did the RCA inform your practice and equip you for setting up your own business?
The RCA allowed me to build upon what I had already learned. It didn’t take away from all the technical skills that I’d acquired in engineering, but it gave me a new insight into how to use them. No one can give you the solution but they can give you the tools in order to work out the solution yourself. I think that’s what was so special about being at the RCA.
My training at the RCA allowed me to build a minimum viable product of Petit Pli, to put that out there in the world and to also help protect it. InnovationRCA gave me guidance and support in actually putting in place a patent structure to help protect the concept and the idea.
How did GID challenge you?
The GID programme arms its students with grit without minimising imagination. My cohort was made of experts in different fields. Being surrounded by inspiring peers with different approaches and perspectives helped each of us build the internal tools that we needed to cope with whatever challenges we were going to face in the future.
What was it like visiting partner institutions as part of the GID programme?
Part of the GID programme involved living in different countries, to study in different institutions. Being immersed allowed for unparalleled insight into how different people approach design and problem solving. Getting that insider view has paid dividends in truly understanding different perspectives and I apply these lessons in everyday work at Petit Pli.
Could you give us a summary of Petit Pli?
Petit Pli is utilising human-centric methodologies within the wearable sector to develop creative solutions to a complex industry filled with many dependencies. Wearable technology has so much potential to add value to everyday lives. The first solution we’ve come up with is clothes that grow with your child. Our garments grow through seven discrete sizes to mitigate the waste resulting from the fashion industry. We are offering the most advanced childrenswear in the world. We use technical fabrics, recycled fibres, cutting edge manufacturing processes. Petit Pli has a beautiful architectural form, a form which follows its function, much like in aeronautical engineering.
How much of your success with Petit Pli is rooted in what you’ve learnt at the RCA?
I definitely think that the success of Petit Pli has foundations that stem from the RCA. The RCA gave me the confidence and the skillset to jump into an industry for which I had no prior knowledge or skills. And it also gave me the drive to have a positive impact through what I created. Coming from engineering I was quite a risk averse person, the RCA made me understand that risks were worth taking.
What are your goals for the future?
Petit Pli is going to clothe the future of humanity and we’re just starting with the next generation. The fashion industry is the world’s second largest polluter and we have a product here which satisfies an equation which is, ‘how can we increase the longevity of clothing by reducing our consumption?’. The next step is to continue to find problems along the entire industry, along its entire value chain, and develop innovative solutions to those challenges by using different perspectives from our growing team.
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