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Students prepare for Fashion/Tech Hackathon

January 29, 2015

Glasses that capture video, watches that double as cell phones and wristbands that measure your every move might become part of our daily lives soon—at least when inventors can make them fashionable as well as functional.
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That’s where two Stephens fashion design students hope to come in. They’re participating in Fashion/Tech Hackathon this weekend at Kent State University in Ohio. In its second year, the hackathon is a 36-hour event that connects students studying engineering, technology, business and fashion. Students are challenged to collaborate and solve problems in the current world of wearable gadgets.
Seniors Meredith Morrow and Brittany Grayson say they’re up for the challenge.
“We’re used to juggling more than one thing,” Grayson said. “And we understand the importance of looking at the big picture.”
Morrow agreed, adding that fashion classes at Stephens emphasize problem solving—one of the key skills students will need in the Fashion/Tech competition.
As designers, Grayson and Morrow will hear ideas from engineering and technology students before determining which project they’d like to be part of. Teams will then have 36 hours to create a prototype of a wearable gadget that not only works but also looks good.
“We’ll be looking at aesthetics but also functionality,” Grayson said. “If it’s a garment, can you wash it or does it need to be detachable? Can you wear it in the rain? As fashion design majors, we understand those things.”
The duo also recently spent time with a local computer expert to get a better understanding of the technical challenges they might encounter during the event. That debriefing, they said, will give them an edge when it comes time to combine the technology and style.
In addition to the challenge itself, Morrow and Grayson are excited about having the opportunity to use the state-of-the-art equipment being provided at the event. Becoming familiar with the latest 3-D printers, body scanners, laser cutters and embroidery software will be a bonus when it comes time to apply for jobs, Morrow said.
The hackathon starts at 9 p.m. EST tomorrow. On Sunday, a panel of industry professionals will judge the projects and present awards from 1 to 2 p.m. The award ceremony will be live-streamed starting at 1 p.m., or noon Central time, at www.fashiontechhackathon.com

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