The MakeFashion recently travelled to Nashville to produce a runway show for Brother’s “Back to Business” conference. At the forefront of technology and design, we showcased our work to demonstrate what can happen when sewing and technology come together.
Ex Machina for MakeFashion is an entire costume serving as a way to create a cyborg alter ego that is beyond human both visually and in terms of movement and sound creation. Fibre optics, LED’s, micro controllers, accelerometers, proximity sensors, touch sensors, sound sensors, Bluetooth modules will be incorporated as decorative and performative elements.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to become involved as a volunteer, designer, tech enthusiast, or sponsor.