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Smart apparel made of e-textiles on the horizon
Oct '16
Madison Maxey (left) testing her fabric. Courtesy: Loomia
Madison Maxey (left) testing her fabric. Courtesy: Loomia
Technology is sneaking into fashion as we speak, and it is not limited to wearable devices and dresses that light up or change colours. E-textiles featuring the ability to grow, communicate and conduct energy, and incorporating some advanced digital components have already been invented to close the gap between technology and textiles.

Designers who have a knack for wearable technology are working on turning these smart fabric concepts into a reality. Madison Maxey, founder of Loomia (formerly The Crated), is one such innovative designer/coder who brings design and technology together.

Winner of the Topshop’s Top Pitch wearable tech bootcamp, Maxey is the developer of INTELiTEX circuit printing technology that boasts of conductive fabric and smart ink. Her company is diligently working towards incorporating this technology into everyday apparel, with the fabric being all about finding ways to replace wiring in smart garments in a way that is affordable, reliable and comfortable.

Speaking about her innovative fabric, Maxey told Fibre2Fashion, “Our fabric is all about finding ways to replace wiring in smart garments in a way that is affordable, reliable and comfortable. Electronics make our world so much easier, and I imagine that smart textiles can do the same.”

The designer has some interesting cases in mind for this technology that include heated blazers, stress-detecting and posture-correcting garments, UV-lit construction wear, LED garments, biometric space suits for astronauts and smart onesies for premature infants. She is already working on a heated garment prototype with the Topshop design team after winning the brand’s competition.

However, the possibilities for smart fabrics are not limited to wearables. Maxey has an interesting application in mind for use of these fabrics. She revealed, “One of my favourite examples is having a bed or sheets that wake you with gentle vibration between REM cycles. No more abrupt cellphone alarms!”

One can only wait for her to turn these sheets into a reality and till then, blissfully imagine a world without alarms. She has been in this field for a reason, “I think inspiration is never one thing, or one moment. It has been a collection of life experiences and interests that put me on this path.”

The latest technological development in the field of smart fabrics gives positive hopes regarding the incorporation of technology into everyday apparel. Maxey’s efforts in making tools for smart apparel prove that she definitely foresees top brands making them in the near future. Her goal is to make it easier to produce smart, soft and good products at scale.

The technologically-inclined designer also aims to create a place where designers can research and innovate in the smart textiles industry. Her company Loomia has created the Textile Futures Initiative with the Manufacture Foundation to support creativity and innovation in the space. (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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