Thanks for an Amazing 2014 Gala!

photo credits: Doug Wong

Thanks to everyone who attended, sponsored, supported, and volunteered for our 2014 MakeFashion gala. We were thrilled to have over 400 attendees at the WestJet Campus.

We will be posting follow-up notes and details on some of the pieces you saw soon, in the meantime have a look at some local coverage and photographs. Please send your coverage, photos, or questions to

MakeFashion by Fashion Calgary

CBC: Wearable Technology Featured in Calgary Fashion Gala

Life of Elle: MakeFashion 2.0

Hackaday: RFID Jacket Flashed the Crowd at MakeFashion 2014

Video: MakeFashion 2014 by Paul Spenard

Proxima by the SAIT RADLab


NUTV Covers MakeFashion 2013 Launch

Thanks to everyone who attended our successful launch. We had a great time announcing our 2014 artists. For those of you who missed the launch, we have now posted our 2014 designers and will be posting sneak peeks of the projects in the new year!

NUTV covered our launch, check it out here:

Shannon and Maria Hoover win Top 40 Under 40 Award.

MakeFashion Co-Founders Shannon and Maria Hoover were recently awarded with Avenue Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 award.

Avenue Calgary‘s Top 40 Under 40 celebrates Calgarians under the age of 40 who excel in their respective fields, give back to their community and raise the profile of the city.

See the Avenue article here.

2014 Designers Announced!

We are excited to announce our designers for the 2014 gala.

The gala runway show celebrating wearable technology will take place in Calgary, AB. Venue TBA. Tickets available December 2013.

Our designers were announced at our launch event. Learn about our 2014 designers here.

Looking for Design Innovators!

People often ask me why wearable technology matters; perhaps the assumption being that putting blinky lights on an outfit might be a cool fad, but it doesn’t go much beyond that.  Well, that’s not the whole story by far!

We are currently engaged in a mobile technology revolution, but as we are also in a time of exponential technology advancement it means that the next revolution is just around the corner.  There have been advancements in processing power, reductions in size, improvements in power consumption and innovations in battery technology – all of these things converging means that technology as we know it will begin to disappear, both in physical size and interface; and by doing so it will begin to integrate seamlessly and invisibly into our lives.  Even now computing is shifting away from ‘devices’ and into everyday objects, and equipped with sensors these objects are beginning to gather information and provide value to our lives.

Alongside the disruption of computing we’re seeing huge changes in materials – 3d printing is happening on a micrometer scale allowing for the creation of incredibly detailed weaving of plastics and metals, and many new futuristic and meta-materials are on the horizon as well – everything from light as air insulators like aerogels to products that bend light around objects.

The most amazing thing of all is that these advancements are happening at once, converging on us from all directions which will inevitably lead to huge changes in the way we live and interact with the world around us.

Here’s a great video of designer Laura Dempsey’s piece, modeled by the always graceful Sara Bella!

And 10 new materials, coming to you from the future!


2014 Call for Submissions

MakeFashion is looking for designers for our 2014 show!

MakeFashion is Calgary’s fashion and tech festival. The gala runway show is scheduled for January 2014.  To see previous events, see our 2013 gala wrap-up or our video of the event here.

MakeFashion is looking for designers, artists, and tech enthusiasts to participate in the event. Applicants can be individual designers or teams. (for teams, please provide one point of contact per team)

Whether you’re an established fashion designer looking to expand your horizons, an up-and-coming creative, or a digital genius: MakeFashion is the opportunity to showcase your creativity and ingenuity.

If you don’t have a team already formed, we will work with you to create a team. We have a number of committed individuals who are passionate about making ideas come to life!


Applications should be in digital .pdf form and include:

-Piece title

-Brief artist/team biography and previous works (also include website if applicable)

-Description of design, concept and sketch of finished piece

-Outline of materials, resources, and approximate budget required


If you are an individual looking to join a team, a proposal isn’t necessary, please list your skills/interests and we will pair you with a team.

Designers/teams will receive a $500 artists fee and compensation of all materials up to $1000 per piece. Artists are eligible to discounts on certain materials ordered through the MakeFashion organization. Applications are competitive and will be reviewed based on creativity and innovative use of materials.


Applications should be sent in .pdf form to and are due Wednesday May 1st at 8:00PM


In order to answer questions and go over ideas we will be scheduling info sessions over the next few weeks.  If you’re interested in attending or meeting separately just email us and we’ll arrange it.

The next info session is:

Monday April 15, 6 – 7pm at Endeavor Arts: 1209 1st St SW. Suite 200.

Feel free to bring your preliminary concepts. We will help you build your proposal and answer any questions about the submissions process. We will also go over the materials and possibilities and provide examples and inspiration, so this session is highly recommended for application success.




Can I have multiple pieces in the show?

Each designer/group is welcome to have as many pieces as they’d like in a series: however the artists fee and material compensation remain the same. Each proposal should adhere to one title/concept. Artists are welcome to submit multiple proposals and work with multiple teams.


What if my piece requires over $1000?

You are welcome to go above and beyond $1000, but $1000 is the maximum that MakeFashion will compensate per project.


What are my responsibilities/rights as a designer?

You designer contract gives you full ownership of your work and intellectual property. MakeFashion reserves the right to use your piece (when reasonably available) for showcasing and promoting the event for a time period of one year after the 2014 runway show. After this, you have full ownership of the piece and the rights to sell or repurpose it. MakeFashion reserves the right to use photography and video of the pieces for the promotion of MakeFashion. Designers are also responsible for assisting in promotion and ticket sales of the gala event and fundraisers.


I’m a designer but I have no idea how to integrate technology into my work.

No problem, part of MakeFashion is that we pair you with Calgary’s tech/maker community to give you the support you need. In your application please outline your skills  and the missing pieces: we will pair you with a tech-savvy partner who will help you make your dreams come to life! (Some sharing of artists fees may be applicable)


I have a concept, but I don’t know if it’s possible to execute or what materials and budget I’ll need.

Our designers information sessions on March 11th and March 16th will allow you to talk to our team and get an idea of the materials, skills, and resources you will need to make your project happen. We will work with you to build a team.


I’m not a designer or an ideas person, but I’d love to help with sewing/technology/materials/etc.

Contact us and we will pair you with a designer/team: we’d love to have your help!


I’m a performer/model/dancer/makeup artist and would like to be involved.

Contact us and we will pair with you a team or designer.


I already have a wearable technology product in market: can I still apply?

For the 2013 runway show applications we are focusing on new projects and pieces. But we will have a place for showcasing pre-existing product lines. Contact us and we can discuss a way to feature your work at one of our events.


Applications should be sent in .pdf form to and are due Wednesday May 1st at 8:00PM



Gala Wrap-Up

Wow! What a night!

Our first Gala and Runway show was an amazing night. Our event sold out days before the show and our fabulous designers amazed the audience with their skill and creativity.

Designer Kyle Nylund's "Grandstand" features performer Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz in a two-hoop performance. Photo: Jeff McDonald Photography

Designer Kyle Nylund’s “Grandstand” features performer Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz in a two-hoop performance. Photo: Jeff McDonald Photography


The show began with performances from La Gogue and Hoop Around. The go-go dancers sported light-up corsets and glowing hula-hoops as they warmed up the audience for the evening. Throughout the event, served their signature Make Cocktail molecular cocktails selections.

The runway show began with Ferro Fuse by Melissa Skowron and Casey Hughes, showcasing beautiful jewellery infused with ferrofluid technology. Maria Orduz’s runway piece was next, a gown enhanced with sparkling LEDs that brought to mind a sky full of stars.  Night Envy followed with exciting club wear including light-up fedoras, ties, and apparel. Vlad Lavrovsky’s Synthesia launched a never-before-seen innovative wearable accessory, appropriately matched with an upbeat soundtrack and light show.

Laura Dempsey amazed the audience with her motion-sensitive runway dress. Designed with a dancer in mind, the dress responded to the dancer’s movements as she danced and leaped across the runway.

Laura Dempsey's motion-sensitive dress. Photo: Zev Vitaly Abosh for Fashionsign Magazine

Laura Dempsey’s motion-sensitive dress. Photo: Zev Vitaly Abosh for Fashionsign Magazine


Kath Blair’s mood-sensitive garment took the stage next, followed by Angela Dale’s awe-inspiring “Chameleon Cocktail Dress”. Both dresses were a hit with the crowd and photographers as they showcased the exciting capabilities of programmable LED strips within clothing.

Angela Dale's Chameleon Cocktail dress was synched to the music and fully-programmable. Photo: Jeff McDonald.

Angela Dale’s Chameleon Cocktail dress was synched to the music and fully-programmable. Photo: Jeff McDonald.


The next segment of the show featured an unexpected live keyboard/vocal performance to launch the “Dori” shine collection jewellery designed by Dorian Kominek. As the singer  proclaimed “shine bright like a diamond”, Dorian’s models walked the runway with beautiful light-up earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

Kyle Nylund continued the performance theme with a breathtaking show by hoop artist Geoffery Szuszkiewicz. Kyle’s piece featured hand-dyed fabric, leather and a primal headdress contrasted with a two high-tech hoops that seemed to multiply as they spun.

The finale of the show was a third piece from the Night Envy team from designers Betsy Hinze, Felicity Hard, Carsen Kendall, Vlad Lavrovsky and Shawn Grover. A regal figure in a ball gown appeared on the runway paired with two male models. The crowd cheered as the models ripped off their shirts to reveal luminescent “tattoos” across their chess. This edgy and innovative finale left everyone with a smile on their face as the models and designers walked the runway for a final bow.

Fairytales come to life with Night Envy's performance. Photo credit: Zev Vitaly Abosh/Fashionsign magazine.

Fairytales come to life with Night Envy’s performance. Photo credit: Zev Vitaly Abosh/Fashionsign magazine.


Huge thanks to everyone who attended the event: we hope you had as much fun watching as we did putting it on! The pieces from the runway show will be on display at events throughout the year: keep checking our website or like us on facebook to keep in the loop.

Another huge thanks to our sponsors and community partners:  Awesome Foundation CalgaryVictoria Park BRZ, WestJet,, Chelsea Klukas Creative, 22nd Century Social Club, Beakerhead, Yelp, Calgary 2012Endeavor Arts, Evolved ProductionsProtospace, EGroup Canada furniture, Ingenuity Couture, La Gogue, Hoop Around, and Make3d!

We would also like to thank Solarbotics for all of their technical help, Designing on the EdgeArti CAL and Personalize it Fashion for their garment expertise.  Thanks to Ben Reed for his late nights with the laser cutter, Arielle Land for her tweeting expertise, Kevin Loney for his beautiful box making expertise, Vlad Lavrovsky for going above and beyond with his help on the catwalk and lightwall (the lightsmabob!) and Jason Bedard for volunteer help.

We also couldn’t do it without our amazing volunteers – thanks everyone!

Thanks again Calgary for your support, we can’t wait to start planning for next year!

See more photos of the event at these galleries:

Zev Vitaly Abosh for FashionSign

Jeff McDonald

Faby Martin

Anthony Yuen


We will have more photos and videos to share soon!



Introducing the 2013 MakeFashion Designers

We are pleased to announce our designers who will be presenting in the  2013 runway show.

Ferro Fuse: Melissa Skowron and Casey Hughes

The concept of Ferro Fuse is to provide the Calgary community with a new, functional way of interacting with ferrofluid technology – as fashion and art. The properties of the ferrofluid contained within a display vessel, and embedded as part of an ensemble of other fashion designs serves to solidify the connection between art, fashion, and technology. Website: Casey Hughes / Melissa Skowron

Maria Orduz
Maria Orduz is a Colombian Born Fashion Designer. She discovered her love for the industry at an early age, often watching international runway shows and attempting some sketches of her own. This love took her to Toronto, where she graduated Top 20 in the Fashion Techniques and Design program at George Brown College.

Maria has been involved in the Calgary fashion scene since 2009 participating in Alberta Fashion Week, Designing for local film “ The Subliminal Rabbit Presents” and “ The Golden Ticket Charity Gala”. She has also been recognized for her participation in “Triumph’s international Inspiration Award” placing Top 10 ( Featured in Elle Canada), Metro News “Wearable Art Contest” ( second place) and has been recognized by  Avenue Magazine ( Calgary) as one of the Top 10 Designers to watch.

Maria hopes to portray her love for creativity with the MakeFashion Project, creating a beautiful garment with elements foreign to the designer. Web: Maria Orduz

Project: Second Skin: I have based by design idea in the concept that Fashion and Technology make such an essential part of our daily lives, that they both feel as close to us as our skin.

Kathryn Blair

Kath has lived all of her life in Calgary except four years she spent in Vancouver studying visual art at the University of British Columbia, and is now spending her days as an arts marketer and her evenings, nights and early mornings as a visual artist. .She likes art because she likes having her mind blown, so she likes exploring ideas that tie her brain in knots, confuse, or fascinate her, and the intersection between technology and art is a great way to do that – so she’s super excited to be part of make:fashion. Web:

Project:  Somatic System is a device – a theraputic clothic accessory, which responds to you to help you respond to the world! Equipped with sensors, it will provide positive stimulus in the form of light and sound.

Somatic System will explore themes of how we use technology to control and monitor ourselves (and how we use technology to think we can control ourselves), the extent to which wearable electronics could break down our conceptual division between mind, body and environment, and the way in which we can respond to programmatic responses the same way we’d respond to considered responses from another human (which are, to some extent, programmatic responses themselves).

Laura Dempsey

Laura Dempsey is a designer with a degree in architecture from Dalhousie University and a particular interest in light and its many incredible qualities. She has lived in London (UK), New York, Halifax, and Boston, but is happy to be back in Calgary and to have the opportunity to immerse herself in the city’s vibrant design community. Her previous wearable artworks were presented at the NSCAD Wearable Art Show, where she was awarded the Juror’s Prize. Web: Portfolio

Project: Laura’s piece will combine light, movement and performance to highlight the unique nature of wearable art and the connection that inevitably forms between the art and its wearer.

Angela Dale

Angela Dale is a costume designer with over 25 years of experience working in theatre, film, opera and dance. She is intrigued by the marriage of technology and design and excited about the possibilities this creates.

Project: The “Chameleon Cocktail Dress” and headdress uses LED’s and micro controller technology to create an animated color changing high fashion garment.


Kyle Nylund

Kyle Nylund is a practicing artist and designer working in the Calgary area. He holds a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design. Kyle is very inspired by contemporary fashion and aspects of gender. His work often reflects these influences using a wide variety of materials to create art on the body. Web: Portfolio

Team Night Envy

Night Envy was forged from the glowing aspirations of our very own Carsen Kendel. Two years ago he recognized a need for high end illuminated clothing. Night Envy pushes the boundaries of fashion each and every day. Through our unique collection and intimate connection to electronic music sub-culture, we have been able to light up much of Western Canada. The future is most definitely looking bright for Night Envy.
Night Envy’s MAKE fashion project will astound. Man has often gazed toward the stars for answers, for guidance and for inspiration. We have harnessed the very power of the cosmos in order to bring this vision to you. Classical style augmented with new age technology has been the focal point of this project and represents the natural beauty and wonder that we sometimes take for granted. Naturalistic allure and humanistic application will stimulate your senses and open your mind.
Night Envy, in Light we Live and Love!

Shawn Grover
Shawn Grover is a jack of all trades and can chat comfortably on topics such as network engineering, desktop development, web application development, the pros and cons of various frameworks, server installations and maintenance, end user support, and even electronics and business. He has been active in the Open Source community for quite a while and enjoys sharing information whether instructing formal classes, doing informal presentations, or one on one discussions. When not working, Shawn enjoys spending time with his daughter and his friends, and learning new things. For MAKE Fashion, Shawn has pioneered new 3D printed parts that greatly improve the assembly of complex fashion items.

Felicity Hart
Felicity Hart was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At a young age, she recognized her interest and talent in visual arts; and recently felt the need to further this interest. In 2007, she was accepted into the School of Performing and Visual Arts at Central Memorial High School. She graduated high school with a Certificate in visual arts with a specialty in drawing. She is currently going into her third year at the Alberta College of Art and Design for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Print Media. She works in many mediums, including watercolours, oils, etching, and sculpture. She is currently exploring themes of religion, iconography, and the taboo within her work.

Betsy Hinze
Betsy Hinze is more than just your typical glass-blowing, pie-baking, nature-walking art student. She also knows how to create a compelling piece of art. Born in 1991 in Idaho, Betsy started doing art at a young age from finger-painting walls to sculpting mud pies. Today, Betsy is attending Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary specializing in glassblowing and interactive installations, and perfecting her baking skills in her (rare) spare time.

Carsen Kendel
Carsen Kendel is Founder and President of Night Envy Inc. Visionary behind the initial Night Envy line and aficionado of all things glow. Poised to complete his Bachelor of Business Administration with a marketing major and a minor in entrepreneurship this spring. He seeks to personally deliver glowing clothing to all those who need it!

Vlad Lavrovsky
Vlad Lavrovsky is a programmer, biochemist and whimsical light addict. He is constantly pushing the boundaries of wearable electronics with a focus on illuminated pieces. With a degree in Bioinformatics and a skill-set that includes embedded system design and genetic engineering, he can never seem to do just one thing. He is the technical lead of the Night Envy MAKE Fashion team. Known for cursing continuously as he often glues and solders himself to his own work. If it looks like a fingerprint, it probably is.

Web: Night Envy


About the Materials

The designers for the MakeFashion fashion show and the public workshops will utilize a number of materials.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)



Electro Luminescent wire and Tape

Fibre Optics


LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are small, efficient light sources that can be wired or sewn into clothing. Adding micro-controllers and sensors to the mix you can have them change intensity, flash or react to external forces like sound or motion.
There are a huge variety of sensors that allow electronics to react to their environment – temperature, motion, humidity, sound, range, touch and flex to name a few.

The effect of LEDs can be modified with diffusers and channels.  Acrylic rods are often used for this purpose, but there are hundreds of materials (including tape, feathers and fabric) that can provide an interesting effect.
Micro-controllers are small, cheap computers that are often used to control wearable electronics.  These range greatly from very cheap and basic to highly complex micro-computers.

The most basic micro-controllers allow for sensor input and trigger effects like fade, blink or twinkle.  Programming them can be as simple as selecting menu items from a drop down list on your iphone, then pointing it at your micro-controller.

EL Wire (electroluminescant wire) is commonly used in costume design and as accent lighting.  It provides a cool Tron-like effect and is very easy to use.
While it isn’t a hard and fast limitation, EL Wire controllers typically have 2 (or so) states – on and blink.  Since they require alternating current to activate, it is harder to integrate EL wire into other electronics like sensors and micro-controllers.  EL Wire can be spliced and split up, but it isn’t trivial, and the controllers aren’t tiny  – both issues that need to be considered in the design stage when using this product.
Fibre Optics provide a very pleasing, subtle light source, and can be woven into fabrics – however this is a time consuming process which results in a higher cost of these fabrics.
Fibre Optics work by bundling the fibres and connecting a light source (generally an LED) – this means that:
  • the light source can be small
  • if you want multiple colours you have to have multiple light sources
  • the design has to account for each fibre running the entire length back to the light source

Examples of pieces using LED lights, Fibre optics, and EL Wire


Designers Info Session

Join us on Thursday, February 23rd at 6PM at Endeavour Arts Gallery for an information session on becoming a designer for MakeFashion’s wearable art show.



Endeavor Arts Gallery Address:
Suite 200, 1209 First Street SW
Calgary, AB T2R 0V3
(Located above Forbidden Clothing
entrance between Forbidden & Giuseppe’s Market.)