On the surface, it’s an edgy denim romper that subtly pays tribute to the rock band “The Doors” that one could wear to an outdoor summer concert.
Once it’s fully operational, though, the garment’s embedded LED lights will react to the frequency of sound waves—meaning the back panel of the romper will literally flash lights to the beat of music.
Stephens seniors Brittany Grayson and Meredith Morrow, along with a fashion design student from Kent State, created the tech-savvy garment during the second annual Fashion/Tech Hackathon at Kent State this weekend. The design took third place out of 35 entries.
The 36-hour competition challenges fashion students and engineering students to create wearable gadgets that fashion-forward consumers would want to wear.
Most teams consisted of at least one person with computer or engineering skills; although Morrow and Grayson opted to work with another fashion designer on her concept of creating an interactive garment for music festivals. Morrow designed the print, which replicates a subtle “O” that mimics the “O” used in The Doors logo.
Grayson draped and sewed the romper, which includes a motif back panel where the LED lights are embedded into the material. The panel is detachable, allowing the wearer to wash the main garment without jeopardizing the integrity of the LED sensors.
Although somewhat disadvantaged by the lack of technical backgrounds, Morrow was able to research programming and code the back panel to get the sound-activated LED system to partially work.
Back in Columbia, Morrow and Grayson plan to enlist the help of a local computer programmer to continue to work to make the interactive romper completely functional.
The duo also brought home medals and some prize money; but they agreed they got much more out of the experience itself.
After having to construct and try to perfect a garment in such a high-pressure setting, Grayson said she now feels more confident about her draping and sewing skills.
And Morrow is now interested in pursuing more digital aspects of design. “I want to go this route in my career,” she said. “The tech elements are attainable if you have a drive to learn.”
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