Thursday, November 5, 2015

Making Wearable Tech Fashionable: A Techie Fashion Show at IU's Statewide IT Conference

E-textiles and wearable tech are starting to become commonplace at Indiana University! Last month IU's Statewide IT conference, an annual conference for IT professionals from across the state, hosted a Wearable Tech Fashion Show for the first time, featuring sparkling skirts, light-up shoes, and even an illuminated umbrella!

Statewide IT's Wearable Tech Fashion Show. Image source: UITS Facebook page

The event was completely independent of us educational e-textile researchers, which goes to show how far these ideas are spreading and being taken up across campus. It was a collaboration between two staff members from IU's University Information Technology Services (UITS) and a fashion design class in the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, as part of UITS's new Wearable Technology Working Group--another site to watch for socially relevant developments in e-textiles and other wearable tech!

The UITS member who led the event was Nitocris Perez, an Emerging Technology Specialist in UITS's Applied Technologies Lab, and a friend of both our Creativity Labs in the School of Education and of IU's Center of Excellence for Women in Technology. She emphasized how innovations in wearable tech these days are cool--but do not necessarily always look like things she'd want to wear. Like us, she believes e-textiles and other wearable tech that can be easily integrated into fashionable apparel is a way to broaden participation in technology and broaden the horizons of the very nature of technology in our society.

For more, check out this article from IU's IT newsletter, and this video segment from WISH-TV 8!