Cassandra Matalas

See it On Campus: Level 2

Visitor Info

My work can be found at the sculpture gallery, the large glass space at the end of Level 2.

ECU Award Recipient

ECU Health Design Award for Innovation – Winner

Your fashionable and discreet tool for managing anxiety, wherever you are, whenever you need.

CalmThreads –

A self-soothing, sensory-rich garment designed as a wearable coping tool for affected individuals with low-grade anxiety to more comfortably navigate through their daily lives.

This project began from the recognition that many individuals struggle to find accessible and socially acceptable coping mechanisms for anxiety, particularly in public settings. By exploring the therapeutic tactile principles of fashion design and combining it with common anxiety symptoms, CalmThreads aims to bridge this gap, offering a discreet and fashionable tool that empowers individuals to prioritize their mental well-being while managing their anxiety with confidence, acceptance, and ease, wherever they are.


CalmThreads comes in the form of a blazer – a versatile and widely accepted piece of clothing that can be worn in a variety of settings, from professional meetings to social events. It looks like your traditional blazer at first – but it’s not. A range of different soothing tactile elements are subtly hidden among different areas of the jacket.

The discreet design of CalmThreads promotes inclusivity and social awareness. This allows individuals to manage their anxiety without drawing unwanted attention and causing more mental discomfort. It hopes to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and create a more supportive and understanding environment.

How CalmThreads Mitigates Symptoms of Low-Grade Anxiety

CalmThreads designs for the demographic of high-functioning anxiety.

The use of traditional textile manipulations provides a subtle sensory experience suitable for aiding in low-grade anxiety symptoms.

Anxiety arises from an imbalance in the brain’s emotional centers, particularly involving neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Fidgeting has been shown to be an effective method of regulating focused attention and reducing anxiety. It does so by increasing even a little bit of physical movement and blood flow to the brain, which helps to provide relief to the sympathetic nervous system, reducing the physiological symptoms of anxiety.


Based on the common action of finger fidgeting with clothing on the body when distressed, CalmThreads takes those sensorial experiences with fabrics and accentuates them through exploring textural play with textiles.

Sensorial Points of Interaction

Interaction 1: Pintucks

Very fine pintucks run along the bottom front bodices as the first point of physical touch exploration while staying within modern aesthetics.

Interaction 2: Hidden Pleats

Beaded Surfaces are hidden inside the pleats, comes in two different 2 different styles for 2 different sensations.

Interaction 3: Oversized Pockets

Minky Surfaced Pockets expand over the entire front bodice area to create a large, explorative safe space for the hands to rest and discreetly fidget.

Interaction 4: Minky + Satin Lining

The combination of brushed, furry minky with slippery satin creates a balanced sensory experience, offering both warming and cooling sensations. This combination allows for direct interaction with the minky fabric against the body without the risk of overheating, addressing a common concern among users with anxiety.

CalmThreads is designed to effectively mitigate anxiety symptoms whether you are standing or sitting. Unlike traditional blazers, CalmThreads offers a unique experience. With its weighted and pillowy design, it doubles as a holdable fidget tool, providing comfort and relief to the wearer in any situation, any position.

Cassandra Matalas

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Cassandra is a Vancouver-based designer. Her practice includes a wide range of materials, but finds particular passion in textiles. She finds her excitement in design from elevating clothing beyond their mere aesthetics, crafting stories into them that create long-lasting and meaningful bonds with those who wear them.

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