Girl Power! Fashion Design Plugs In

Non-binary gender fashion may be taking off on the runway and gaining recognition in the media, but the gender gap in male dominated fields like technology remains woefully large. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, only 26% of computer jobs in the U.S. were held by women in 2013. The American Association of University Women reported that in 2013 only 12% of engineers were female!

Renn Scott is a user experience architect and strategic innovator who runs Daily Goods Fashion Tech, and she is gathering female fashion designers to ask the important question: how do you get more women involved in technology?

DYSTROPOLIS by Wendy Ng
DYSTROPOLIS by Wendy Ng

Wearable tech is already blurring the lines between engineering, programming and fashion. Critics of early wearable tech noted that it failed from an aesthetic standpoint — it was clunky, utilitarian, and did not integrate well into the wearer’s daily lifestyle. But soon fashion designers began to cross the field into wearable technology, and devices became more tactile, comfortable and elegant.

Women with a background in fashion design face big hurdles getting involved in fashion tech. Jobs target engineers, not designers. In an attempt to create a more level playing field, designers with a love for technology are becoming entrepreneurs. Loose collectives, like Renn Scott’s Make + Wear workshop, are meeting at cowork offices and makerspaces, such as workshop host, Makeworks.

Presentations by Make + Wear participants were a spectacle of girl power. Wendy Ng’s DYSTROPOLIS line glowed, changed colour, transformed, and incorporated 3D printed design elements.

Carly Dawn Cumpson’s evening wear collection entitled Dawn used subtle LEDs and thermal colour changing trim.

Dawn by Carly Dawn Cumpson
Dawn by Carly Dawn Cumpson

Vetruvian Power, graduates of George Brown College’s fashion program and winners of a grant from √Člectricit√© De France designed a solar-powered dress that generates electricity while it is worn.

Vetruvian Power designers Iuliia Kostiuk and Antonina Kostiuk discuss their creation.
Vetruvian Power designers Iuliia Kostiuk and Antonina Kostiuk explain their creation.

Members of Ryerson Fashion Zone, Anesi, have designed 3D printed clothes and a bra that changes shape to the wearer’s specific fit.

3D printed vest from Anesi
3D printed vest from Anesi

At Raw Finery Studio we are creating space where fashion designers, technology developers, engineers, and anyone with curiosity and interest can come together to share creative ideas and build prototypes. We are dedicated to inclusivity for women, men, and those who do not identify with gender binaries. We are excited to provide access to the infrastructure and tools needed to help bridge the gap between technology, fashion and feminism.