Fashion Gets Technical at MakeFashion

A dress featuring a playable video game and a sound and light suit are just a few of the innovative pieces you’ll see at MakeFashion this year.

Technical fashion designed by Erina Kashihara.

Photograph by Kelly Hofer

Not often are technology and fashion considered part of the same industry – one term evokes blinking computers, wires and futuristic inventions, and the other runways, glossy magazines and haute couture.

However, Calgary-based MakeFashion seamlessly bridges the gap between the two fields by connecting members of the local and international design community with tech enthusiasts. MakeFashion sponsors the design teams to create wearable technology, which is showcased at an annual fashion show.

A trio of Calgary natives – Chelsea Klukas and Maria and Shannon Hoover – founded MakeFashion four years ago. The organization has worked with Maker Faire and New York Fashion Week, enabling MakeFashion to showcase its collections to a global audience.

“Wearable tech is one of those things that can mean a lot of different things,” says Klukas. She adds that, when MakeFashion receives submissions for its shows, the team looks for innovative wearable technology.

“So [it’s] going beyond just lights on a dress, although we’ve had a few [submissions] that used lights in an innovative way,” says Klukas.

Some examples of work that will be shown at MakeFashion 2016 include a dress created by Kenzie Housego, Stacey Morgan and Sophie Amin that will feature a playable video game with more than 100 LED lights. The upcoming show will also see a “sound and light suit” created by costume designer Angela Dale. The suit interprets the wearer’s gestures and translates them into light and sounds.

Not all of the submissions to MakeFashion are on the artistic side of design. On the practical side, says Klukas, one of the previous year’s submissions was a pair of leg prosthetics “that were designed in a beautiful, fashionable way.”

Klukas adds that making technology beautiful and fashionable also makes it more accessible to a broader community, including the average consumer and individuals who are interested in fashion – especially women.

“What we were seeing was that there is this cool stuff, but no one would want to wear it because it is not beautiful or inspirational. To get to the bottom of it, it is just geeky,” says Klukas, with a laugh.

Indeed, Klukas says she thinks wearable tech is the next innovation in fashion and will provide a market for the work produced through MakeFashion.

MakeFashion will be held at Telus Spark on April 2. For more information, visit

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