Innovative hangers may soon be lining the aisles of retail stores across the globe as a worldwide manufacturing company looks to expand on sustainable designs created alongside Bangor University undergraduates.

Global hanger maker Mainetti has worked alongside the university to develop new ideas for hangers for use with some of the world’s largest fashion brands and retailers.

The firm, which has more than 6,000 employees across six continents, produces the bulk of its new hanger designs at its factory in Wrexham, where Bangor students had previously undertaken work placements.

Following contact from staff from the university’s School of Computer Sciences and Electronic Engineering, Mainetti provided second year BSc Product Design students with a brief to create sustainable hangers focusing on efficiency, ease of use, and reusability.

The eight-week project formed part of their coursework, with blueprints and prototypes pitched in-person to senior members of Mainetti UK’s team for feedback and the chance to have their work turn into a physical product.

Design manager at Mainetti Matt Harding said: “Ensuring we remain at the forefront of innovation and sustainable manufacturing is core to everything we do at Mainetti, and we are passionate about bringing new ideas and designers to the industry through projects such as the one with Bangor University.

“Given clothes are increasingly being bought and sold online, there has been a shift towards designing hangers which are more efficient and suitable for global transportation, and to meet this we have needed to push the boundaries for clients.

“Working alongside Bangor product design students has been eye-opening in terms of highlighting brilliant new ideas for the industry; we have taken a number of the designs students came up with into our development process, and hope to be able to roll some of these out globally in the near future.”

More than 30 undergraduates presented designs to Mainetti as part of the programme, with proposals focusing on reducing hanger size, transport efficiency, and additional storage techniques.

Lecturer in product design at Bangor University Aled Williams said: “Working alongside global corporations such as Mainetti is a core element of our course, and we are thrilled they have taken some of the prototypes students worked hard on into their research and development processes for wider use.

“For students, working with industry provides them with a great insight into to the day-to-day research and operations required in the workforce, as well as the chance to create those relationships and skills which will allow them to step into employment more efficiently on the completion of their degree.

“Those who have their ideas taken up by companies as part of these live briefs are included on any patents which are granted, a significant achievement which provides a major boost to their CV and may help them get their foot in the door upon graduation.”

The work with Mainetti has been just one of approximately ten live briefs Bangor University product design students work on over the course of the degree, with learners tackling challenges across a range of industries.

Bangor University student Sian Owen said: “Developing my CAD skills in an industrial project context ensured that the quality of my work improved so much, plus we had to present, which developed both my presentation skills and developed my confidence when talking about my designs.”

The partnership will continue in 2022, with Mainetti due to provide a new brief highlighting a different aspect of the company’s work to Bangor students once the new academic year begins in September.