Flora Fur

Isabella Bruski, Noah Silva

Flora Fur is a sustainable, biodegradable, fauna-free fur made from milkweed. Derived from hollow cellulosic fibers which surround the seed, furs are both insulative and hydrophobic. By using linen as the binder, the project utilizes native flax and milkweed plants, which grow together naturally to create biodiverse permaculture farms and provide refuges for monarch butterflies. 



Mitchell Henderson, Daniella Koller, Monica Palucci

Though used in 80% of clothing in the US, Spandex cannot be recycled. EcoLastane creates a biodegradable replacement fiber derived from elastin found in post-consumer oysters collected from local restaurants. After removing the elastin, shells are returned to the harbor to benefit New York’s shoreline and estuary.



Evelyn Rynkiewicz (PhD) is an Assistant Professor of Ecology at FIT. Before coming to FIT, she earned her PhD from Indiana University and subsequently conducted research as a postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Edinburgh (National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow) and Columbia University. A disease ecologist by training, Evie’s research investigates co-infection in wild mice, how parasites and pathogens interact within with each other and with the host immune system. She uses ecological theories and approaches to study tick-borne pathogens, such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis, as well as gut parasites. Her research combines sampling and experimental manipulation of parasites and hosts from the field or laboratory experiments with controlled infection, with laboratory assays for parasite infection, microbial community composition, and immune response. Evie collaborates with ecologists, bioinformaticians, and immunologists to address integrative questions of how within-host processes affect population and community scale disease dynamics. She has studied parasites in wild mice populations in the US as well as the UK.

At FIT, Evie teaches classes in ecology and biology. Her overall goal is to increase science literacy among non-science majors and to give students the confidence to bring in ideas of the scientific process and understanding of the natural world into how they think about their careers.


Banner image: Michael D. Beckwith, The Leeds Library