UBC Creates Cool Tech to Help Preserve Languages

It’s not wearable tech, per say, but it’s pretty darn cool technology. I struggle with learning other languages and I know I’m not alone in that. From butchering my way through pronouncing french words, in my beginners French course, to butchering my own mother tongue of Amharic (sorry grandma). I have many friends who also struggle picking up a language either their own or one they want to learn just because.

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Wearables in Sports

Sports are an important part of our society and culture. From on the field to in your house, wearable technology is proving to be vital in the sports and fitness world. Here are a few cool technologies that are helping, or hope to help, world of sporting:

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Video: Absolut x MakeFashion

Take a look at highlights from our 2016 wearable tech runway show, behind-the-scenes, and interviews with designers and founders. Huge thanks to Absolut Canada for their continued sponsorship of MakeFashion and the maker community.

Video: MakeFashion 2016 by Standout Publications

Thanks Standout Publications for attending our 2016 gala and the fantastic video coverage of the event.

MakeFashion Butterfly Dress

The Orange Tip Butterfly dress by Rainbow Winters changes colour in response to water and rain. This wearable technology blends into any garden party, featuring cutting-edge wearable technology innovation.


Rainbow Winters for MakeFashion

Photography by Kelly Hofer:

Rainbow Winters (Amy Winters) is based in London, UK. The Irish/Swiss artist graduated from Central Saint Martin’s in 2006 with a BA in Theatre Design. Rainbow Winters gives the ‘wow’ factor to the entertainment, fashion and advertising industries with interactive wearable design. Rainbow Winters has a radically different approach to wearables, fusing the cutting edge of science with the high-art of fashion to create visually stunning pieces especially made for music videos, rock-concerts, award-ceremonies, advertisements, magazine editorial and red-carpet events. This is Rainbow Winters first year with MakeFashion.

Wearable Tech Wedding Dress for Make Fashion

MakeFashion Spotlight: Biomimetic Bride

Biomimetic Bride was created by Catherine Hazin, Kelly Hofer & Dianne Gibson.


Video by Paul Spenard
Catherine Hazin is originally from Edmonton and moved to Calgary to attend ACAD in 1997.

“I have an interdisciplinary BFA from ACAD, and my major was metalsmithing, and my minor was textiles. I have always had a passion for fashion design, in particular wearable art. I owned a jewellery design business for 10 years, and taught metalsmithing for 3 years before changing careers to work for the Alberta Ballet. I now work as Editor of Luxe, and Senior Writer for Calgary Bride. I am co-owner of Metalabs, an artistic production company.

I have been involved with MakeFashion since approximately November 2013, shortly after Endeavor Arts hosted an art exhibition which I curated for the Canadian Space Society titled “Revolutions”. I happily assumed the role of Fashion and Performance Coordinator for MakeFashion because of my love for performance art, fashion design, artistic direction and of course an interest in technology.

Bride Wearables Dress for MakeFashion

Photos by Andras Schram

Our piece had many sources of inspiration, and it transformed many times from its conception to its realization. It was at an el-wire workshop hosted by Endeavor where I first met and approached Kelly to form a design team. I (a novice to electronics) had a very basic idea for a space inspired garment that used accelerometers and proximity sensors. Kelly, who was more familiar with electronics, had an idea for a dress inspired by jelly fish, roots, and utilized modern fiber optic technology and a pulse sensor. Finally, after many inspired discussions and countless hours researching ideas and modern designs, we agreed that we would both really like to make a wedding dress! We promptly went to Cats Eye Vintage, and also to Cameo and Cufflinks, and we searched for dresses for inspiration, then we hunted down fabrics and other materials for weeks afterwards. Kelly designed 3D printed modules which were printed by Shannon Hoover to connect the high powered LED lights to the fibre optic bundles, and I designed a contemporary wedding gown, with feather flourishes. We asked Diane Gibson to join our team on January 17. She expertly built a beautiful white satin corset and belt for our ensemble, a foundation for us to create upon.


Technology used in this piece includes:

Fibre Optic Cable

High Powered, individually addressable, LED strips

Pulse sensor

LED strands


The final dress design was arrived at by Catherine Hazin, with couture corset and tech belt by Diane Gibson, technology design, assembly, and 3D printing by Kelly Hofer, Leaf shaped bustle by Lia Golemba, model Katherine Mandolidis.

The Biomimetic Bride was modeled by dancer, Katherine Mandolidis, from Trip The Light Dance and Performance Company. I do often love to use professional dancers whenever possible, as I find that they are dynamic and innovative and offer a storytelling element. I am a great supporter of performance art and dance in particular, and I love to find new ways to combine dance with other art forms.

Our biggest challenge was time, and trying to decide between too many amazing ideas. Other than that, we had the ultimate team and could not be happier with the entire process.

It was an amazing experience collaborating with an experienced and passionate technologist and an expert corsettiere on a wedding gown. I learned more in a few months than I could have ever imagined. I think it may have given me a false sense of power however, as I am now convinced that we can make anything….”

– Catherine Hazin is a 2014 designer and the MakeFashion Performance and Fashion Coordinator


The 2014 MakeFashion wearable technology show 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 for information on how to become involved as a volunteer, designer, tech enthusiast, or sponsor.



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.


MakeFashion-SNEAK PEEK-High Res-30

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:

– 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 for information on how to become involved as a volunteer, designer, tech enthusiast, or sponsor.

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