2019 Wearable Tech and Maker Gift Guide

It’s the season of giving: which can also mean the season of stress over finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Our 2019 gift guide offers ideas for the tech-savvy makers and fashiontech fans on your wishlists. Wearable tech gifts for everyone! As a bonus, these gifts support independent creators within the MakeFashion community.

How Wearable Tech Helped a Little Hockey Fan See Her First Hockey Game

Every so often I’ll come across a wearable tech story while scrolling through my Facebook, that tugs at my heartstrings, a story that shows why so many people are invested in creating tech that can improve the quality of someone’s lives. Read more

Wearable Translator for Travellers

My head is always in the clouds, I love to travel. Meeting new people, exploring new lands, tasting new food, immersing myself in a new culture has always driven me to travel more. One of the largest problems that arise when I travel, besides the state of my bank account, is language barriers.

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MakeFashion 5.0 Sneak Peek

Make Fashion 5.0 will be held on April 1st, 2017 at the TELUS Spark in Calgary, Alberta. We have our submissions in and teams are busy creating their intricate designs. Enjoy a of a sneak peek on a few of the pieces that will be showcased at the gala and background on the makers behind the project.

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Best of the 2016 MakeFashion Gala

Submissions and sketches for the 2017 MakeFashion Gala have been collected and we are preparing to release our teams and the designs within the next few weeks.  But before we getting ready for the new show, we want to take a moment to look back at some of the incredible pieces at last year’s gala. Here are a few of those amazing pieces.

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Video: Livestream “Work in Progress” Highlights

We recently live streamed the “making of” Illuminated Textiles – a projection-mapped dress that features pico projection technology concealed in a hat. Watch MakeFashion Co-Founder Chelsea Klukas and Chris Corner test out v1 of the prototype.

2015 Gala Sneak Peek: Eos and Nyx

Video by Paul Spenard

Emerging designer Zoe Klintberg and engineer Kevin Loney team up to create this beautiful garment that will be featured at the third annual wearable technology fashion show.

Borrowing from Greek mythology, the Éōs & Nyx project embodies the ancient story of transformation from the night sky into the dawn. When both pieces are worn together the Nyx (night) cloak twinkles with real-time constellations and moon phase, while the Éōs (dawn) dress remains lightless and asleep beneath. But once Nyx is removed, the stars and moon go dark and Éōs slowly begins an awakening from dark purples and reds, to brighter pinks and oranges, until finally the sun pendant bursts into golden life and the dress glows with animations
of real-time weather.

Be the first to see this live! Purchase tickets to the 2015 gala now.

MakeFashion Spotlight: Medusa Fabulosa

MakeFashion Spotlight is an insider’s look on our 2014 gala pieces. Follow us as we showcase each of our designers and the inspiration and technology behind their work. Photos by Edward Ross photography.


Video: Paul Spenard


“I was born in London, England and moved to Calgary with my parents when she was was five so I guess you could say I grew up in Calgary. After high school I moved around a lot spending time on both the East and West coasts of Canada. I moved back to the Calgary area in 2003 and now live in Black Diamond, a small town south west of Calgary. What I like about Calgary is the mountain views, our western heritage, the Chinook winds, the creative innovation that seems to be present here in all sorts of art and business ventures.

I first began working with wearable technology when I was working in film in Vancouver. My first exploits involved incorporating LED’s, fiber optic fabric and animatronics into special effects costumes.

In 2012 I was designing costumes for the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede and we did a number of costumes that involved LED’s and Arduino micro-controllers for the evening Grandstand show.

I found out about MakeFashion in 2012 when I went to a Meet and Geek at Protospace. I was in the midst of building the costumes for the Grandstand show and was really excited about all the new technology that was coming out and wanted an R&D project to work on to further this. I designed the Chameleon Cocktail dress for the first MakeFashion show in January 2013.


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Photo by Edward Ross photography.


The biggest inspiration for the 2014 piece was Jellyfish. I wanted to create a wearable art piece that reflected the essence of a Jellyfish. Technology in the piece included Fiber optics, Litex LED ribbons, Lilypad arduino, individual RGB LED’s, LED strip lighting, Synthesia custom LED controller, and rechargeable Li-Poly batteries.

When starting a piece I like to do a sketch of what I want the final piece to look like and then work to achieve that goal.

When we started Medusa Fabulosa there was myself, Vlad Lavrovsky (the technician) and a glass artist involved. My sketch came out of a couple of discussions between the three of us last spring. We had looked at a number of materials and techniques that we wanted to use in the piece.Unfortunately the glass artist became really ill and had to bow out of the project but Vlad and I stuck to the original concept and I tried to find ways to still incorporate glass or glass-like pieces into the work.
The outside fabric was dyed and/or airbrushed to get the effect I was after. The prop jellyfish and headdress base were heat shaped and molded from thermoplastic fabric and then decorated. The neckpiece was made from knitted copper wire, glass pieces, marbles, beads, crystals and ribbons.

Creating the inner frame for the Jellyfish skirt required some engineering as this was also going to support all the LED strips we were using for lighting the skirt. I also wanted the skirt to “bounce” so it took a couple of mock ups to perfect the “bounce” factor.

One of the hardest things to predict is what will go wrong. There is always something that comes up that does not go as planned and it seems like one of the biggest challenges is dealing with this or trying to find an alternative usually at the last minute.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a dancer on pointe to model the piece and present it in more of a theatrical dance performance on the runway.

Working on this piece I learned that there are never enough hours in the day! For new designers, I recommend to research, experiment with materials and techniques, go to Protospace and the workshops offered at Endeavor Arts.

You can see more of my work on my website: http://fabricadabra.ca/

– Angela Dale, returning designer for MakeFashion two years in a row.

The 2014 MakeFashion gala brought to you by OnConference in March 2014 had over 400 attendees and showcased an inspiring collection of local and international wearable technology. E-mail info@makefashion.ca for information on how to become involved as a volunteer, designer, tech enthusiast, or sponsor.

MakeFashion Spotlight: Dragon Queen

MakeFashion Spotlight is an insider’s look on our 2014 gala pieces. Follow us as we showcase each of our designers and the inspiration and technology behind their work. Photos by Justin Poulsen and Edward Ross photography.

Video by Paul Spenard


Elle Nguyen, creator of “Dragon Queen” with Aman Dhalay was born and raised in Calgary.

“I love how Calgary is filled with big city dreams and plans but still has a small city mindset. My first experiences with fashion and wearables was through creating cosplay projects. Last project was a simple lighting design using acrylic line and LEDs to creating different effects on a Starcraft inspired jumpsuit and modifying a dollar store gun into a much larger gun but adding a speaker, on/off switch, and aluminum facing. When I was a young as four, I always got in trouble for taking apart any electronic to see the inside workings – not all were put back together in working order again…

I discovered MakeFashion when a writer from my online blog team attended the last show. This was my first year participating in the event.

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Dragon Queen by Elle Nguyen and Aman Dhalay of Javeda. Photography by Edward Ross Photography.


The dress designer and I drew from our own cultures to create a fusion of Chinese and Indian styles. Aman and I sat down to create design and came up with a quick idea, inspired by the creative designs of past Victoria Secret Wings on the runways, but were unhappy with it. We created another design that was closer to the Javeda brand – a bridal design. Then we met up with Yeats Wong of Yeats Magic Co, an illusionist who has built some of his own illusions to come up with a more interactive design. He also helped with deciding what materials to use to keep the design lightweight.

Technology used in the dress includes:

  • EZ Robot controller with WIFI connection powered by a Li-Po battery
  • A wired speaker
  • LED strip & LED lights
  • 3D Printed Eyes

One of the most interesting technologies used in Dragon Queen is a mobile application can be downloaded from the EZ-Robot mobile website and installed on any mobile device. Then, when the mobile device connects to the dragon via WIFI, the mobile device can control the movements of the dragon.

“We both work in the fashion industry and wanted to build something that would not only push us into the world of wearable technology but also share our individual brands to the world. We wanted to show that we were more than just a fashion designer and a website technician. We wanted a challenge, but we still wanted our project to reflect our work.”

The initial movement was powered by flexinol. I had purchased a learning kit but when I applied the concepts to the dragon, the movement was subtle and I was worried that it would not be noticeable from the runway. Then, Shannon Hoover teamed me up with Jeremie of EZ-Robot and then the movements for the dragon became perfect.

One thing I learned this year was to create a piece that is directly interactive with the audience. My advice to inspiring designers is to create something that is more than lights – something that the audience can tell that is obviously controlled by sensors.”

– Elle Nguyen, first-time designer for MakeFashion. Read her recap of the event here.


The 2014 MakeFashion gala brought to you by OnConference in March 2014 had over 400 attendees and showcased an inspiring collection of local and international wearable technology. E-mailinfo@makefashion.ca for information on how to become involved as a volunteer, designer, tech enthusiast, or sponsor.