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July 20, 2019

Wearable Technology Made in Calgary

More than 40 fashion designers, electrical engineers, programmers and jewellery designers have collaborated on designs that will go down the runway at the second annual MakeFashion gala. The event is brought to you by founders Shannon and Maria Elena Hoover and Chelsea Klukas and, this year, the show has moved…

More than 40 fashion designers, electrical engineers, programmers and jewellery designers have collaborated on designs that will go down the runway at the second annual MakeFashion gala. The event is brought to you by founders Shannon and Maria Elena Hoover and Chelsea Klukas and, this year, the show has moved venues to the Westjet campus to accomodate a larger audience. Avenue went behind the scenes as the design teams prepared for the event to bring you a sneak preview.

Pumping Fashion Lit

The Makers:

Dee Fontans, designer
Eric Willis, designer
Dave Hrynkiw, engineer, Solarbotic

The Wearable Technology:

Fontans, Willis and Hrynkiw joined talents to create a piece made entirely from up-cycled – no pun intended – bike parts, including tires, gears and reflectors. The piece, titled Pumping Fashion Lit, uses pressure sensors that control interactive lights. As dancer and performance artist Maya Lewandowsky moves down the runway the lights are activated by pressure points built into the garment and shoes. Look out for the reflective accessories that blend fashion with safety functionality.

Tech Tie

The Makers:

Jeff de Boer, Calgary-based multimedia artist
Grant McKee, engineering technologist

The Wearable Technology:

de Boer is well known for his cat and mouse suits of armour and CrossIron Mills cowboys. For MakeFashion 2014, de Boer collaborated with electronic engineering technologist Grant McKee to create the Tech Tie. Made of 16 LCD OLED screens similar to the technology used in a cell phone displays, this tie (the first of its kind) has the capability to hold information or simply display eye-catching imagery. Add a camera and the tie can record your day, or program the tie to detect movement and respond with various colours or patterns.

Bio-mimetic Bride

The Makers:

Kelly Hofer, designer and wedding photographer
Catherine Hazin, writer, MakeFashion’s fashion and performance coordinator
Diane Gibson, bodice designer

Imagine a wedding dress that lights up with over a kilometer of embedded fiber optics and strategically placed LED lights. Hofer, who is also behind the electronics and fiber-optic execution, has collaborated with Hazin and Gibson to actualize his Bio-mimetic Bride concept. Inspired by the Tree of Life in the hit movie Avatar, a heart rate sensor built into the dress responds to the model/bride’s pulse and movement and changes colour accordingly. There are also plans to add a touch a colour chameleon element to the dress.

Orange-Tip Butterfly Dress

The Makers:

Rainbow Winters, London-based, Irish and Swiss artist

The Wearable Technology:

Winters fuses cutting edge science with the high art of fashion. As one of the world leaders in wearable tech fashion, her work has been featured in music videos, rock-concerts, awards ceremonies, advertisements, magazine editorials and red-carpet events. Working with meta-materials, Winters experiments with technology creating fashion pieces that use interactive textiles that change colour and pattern in response to sound, sunlight, water and stretch. Her MakeFashion piece, Orange-Tip Butterfly Dress, changes colour in response to water and rain.

Illuminated Vintage

The Makers:

Kenzie Housego, designer
Amie Mae, designer
Stavey Morgan, designer
Dan Damron, robotosist with Scoperta and an embedded developer at SAIT

The Wearable Technology:

The team worked on a collection entitled Illuminated Vintage. Inspired by classic vintage and vintage classics like The Great Gatsby, My Fair Lady, Rococo, Art Noueau and Art deco the collection features dresses, hats and accessories that are equipped with pulse and music sensors and techniques that play on the persistence of vision phenomenon.

Bonus – Common Experience

The Makers:

Husband and wife team Kathryn and Ryan Blair

The Wearable Technology:

The couple split design, programming and hardware skills respectively. Last year Kathryn, a public programmer at Telus Spark, unveiled her mood-sensing lab coat, Somatic System, which used temperature and pulse sensors to extrapolate the wearer’s mood and respond in a positive way. This year she continues to explore biofeedback using a neurosky headset, which measures brainwaves and attention levels with EEG. Incorporating light and origami, the piece is a wearable do not disturb sign.

Other designs to look out for are Bloom Flower Dress, a glass and fibre-optic fabric design by Kyle Nylund, Tony Grimes and Shawn Ayerst, a dragon creation by Elle Nguyen, Aman Dhalay and Javeda and Flower Fairy by Jiyi Rhee and Janet Mader.

The 2014 MakeFashion Show and Gala takes place on March 1, at the Westjet Campus, 22 Aerial Pl. N.E. Visit makefashion.ca for tickets and info.

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