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.
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. Efirstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to become involved as a volunteer, designer, tech enthusiast, or sponsor.