e-fashion salon @ Mediamatic

On: April 18, 2008
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About Laura van der Vlies
Laura van der Vlies is currently a New Media master student at the University of Amsterdam. After finishing the New Media bachelor program and finishing the propedeuse year CMD at the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam, this is the year to finally really learn the inside of new media today. This summer I participated in the Digital Methods Initiative. This really made me learn to use knowledge in a different way. With interests in the topic of journalism on the web and certain forms of censorship I hope to make valuable contributions to this blog.


efashion-day @ mediamatic. 17th of april, 2008.

After an introduction on Elfriendo, Leah Buechley gave a presentation on computational textiles or e-textiles. Buechley defines these as handcrafted, personal computers.
She starts with showing the work of Nikki S Lee , an artist who tries to blend in with different subcultures, mainly by wearing their clothing style. After this Buechley shows some random images about fashion. This as an introduction on changing fashion styles over the years. With Leah Buechley, a new style is born.
She shows the listeners her bracelet that lights up when she shakes her arm. And when she puts her hands on the figures of her sweater, it starts to make a beeping sound. This wasn’t really working like it was suppost to be because, ‘her battery was running low’.
When Buechley started experimenting with wearables, not much had been done in this field. The electronics that she used were big and unflexible. They were also hard to attach to fabrics. This is why Buechley came up with the idea of making the e-textile contruction kit. This is a little computer chip with some input and output devices. This made it easier for other people to experiment with wearables. Buechley also posts the descriptions of how she works on her blog. With this she tries to ‘spread the word’. But she found out that her tutorials were to hard for other people to follow. So, after the contruction kit, she invented the Lillypad Arduino. A round piece of fabric with all the electronics in is already. She used the existing Arduino software to make it easier for people to program the application.

Buechley is now teaching young adults in making wearables. She also looks at things beyond the work that the participants make. It is surprising to see that often girls do the workshop and not boys. They also find it really nice to work with electronics, which brings it more out in the open in stead of staying a niche with a bit of a nerdy feel to it.
Buechley concludes her reading with the remark that electrinics and programming should be mixed with the more arty and popular side. This to make it more accessible for all people.

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