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Get Green with Sustainable Textiles - Bao-Khang Luu

Harmony Art's "let it grow" print, made of certified organic cotton, looks fun and is guilt-free!

Earth Day was last month. Did you completely space out and forget? That’s okay. It’s not too late to make “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” your daily mantra.

Let’s start with your wearable tech projects by bringing some green to your fabric choices. You can go three ways: sustainable textiles, repurposed clothes, and up-cycled materials. We’ll address sustainable textiles in this post.

These days sustainable textiles are all the rage, from luxury fashions to low-end basics. Linda Loudermilk creates high-end clothes from “sasawashi, bamboo, sea cell, soya and other exotic self-sustaining plants.” H&M’s Garden Collection, made from organic and recycled textiles, launched this spring.  Even Walmart boarded the sustainable train by making their “Faded Glory private label line more sustainable.” Music and Sons makes t-shirts from bamboo and organic cotton. They step up the coolness factor by wiring up the t-shirt with an ipod and earphone jacks making it possible to rock out, look fabulous, and be eco-friendly all at the same time.

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Find Inspiration at the Port Authority with Terracycle - Bao-Khang Luu

Terracycle, a company specializing in eco-friendly products, opened their Green Up Shop at the Port Authority in NYC. The products don’t incorporate circuits, sensors, or motorized parts, but they can provide you with some nifty ideas for upcycled materials and sustainable textiles. The creators of the products make sustainability look easy. Surely, you can step it up a notch and integrate some wearable tech!

Christina Liedtke's fabulous couture gown is made from M&M wrappers.

The pop up shop was supposed to end on May 1st, but it’s sticking around till May 21st. You’ll find vinyl billboard messenger bags, sustainable activewear, candy wrapper couture gowns, and a ton more upcycled stuff than you can shake a soldering iron at. Head over and grab some eye-opening inspiration. If you’re not in NYC, visit the Green Up Shop website (http://greenupshop.terracycle.net.

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Guest Blogger: Bao-Khang Luu

Switch is happy to welcome sustainability designer Bao-Khang Luu as a guest blogger this week.

Bao is an artist, web designer, and life-long upcycler in New York City.  He likes to design with a multidisciplinary approach, combining ubiquitous computing, microbiology, dance, and, most importantly, cupcakes. One of his current ventures includes a line of eco-friendly lighting made from post-consumer waste such as six-pack rings and plastic shopping bags. He is also  collaborating with designer Alice An of Candifiend Studio and architect Fidelma Hawney in creating a collection of upcycled statement jewelry.

Bao will be highlighting the importance and beauty of sustainability and upcycling in design practice. Welcome Bao!

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CO2 Monitoring Dress Made With E-Textile Brocaded Lace

Review: Memory Foam ISIS Laptop Sleeve

My plastic snap-on laptop cover broke and I found myself in need of a new one. I came upon the ISIS collection, a design driven laptop and technology accessory company who makes their sleeves with memory foam. I usually go with the sleek plastic covers because they fit into a tight space and slide in and out of my bag easily, but as a lover of textiles, I really wanted a fabric sleeve and the ISIS is an excellent choice. I picked the Isis Dei Goldfish 15.4" Memory Foam Laptop Sleeve to go with my new Minx Gold Nails.  Below, you can see the  photos of my transition from the hard case to the ISIS sleeve. I think it's much more fashionable, don't you? 

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Smart Fabrics 2010 Workshop

Last week, in fashionable Miami, a group of about 150 material scientists, fashion educators, product designers, sportswear makers, textile manufacturers, and fashion designers got together to discuss the future of fashion at the Smart Fabrics Conference. While there, I held a fashion hack workshop that included both the LilyPad Arduino and Aniomagic's group of sensors and lights. The attendees only had about 3 1/2 hours to use these tools to create an interactive garment or accessory. They promised to send some of the steps for DIYs based on their projects, so I am hoping to hear back from them soon. Hopefully this post and a little email nudge will get them motivated to send in the DIY. Until then, take a peep at the photos of the attendees having fun with techno crafting. 

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Beagle Scarf: A Smart Hoodie for Autism

After seeing Autistic designer Temple Grandin's amazing talk at TED this year and learning about accepting "all kinds of minds," it was really satisfying to see Leo Chao's Beagle Scarf Hoodie. The scarf is a thoughtful design response to the needs of Autistic children. Though Autism can range in severity, it interferes with people's sensitivities. Even the smallest noise, smell, or texture can be very disturbing. According to the Yanko Design blog, "A recent research suggests that stimulants like music, aromatherapy, and textured toys can help alleviate the condition."

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Fashioning Technology and Switch are Joining Forces at SXSWi 2010

Syuzi Pakhchyan of Fashioning Technology and I are joining forces at SXSW and hosting a session called “Duh…It’s Like Tech for Girls <3.” Here is the information: 

Duh ... It's Like Tech for Girls <3

SXSW Interactive, Austin, TX

Monday, March 15, 11am, ACC 7

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Canadians Make Beautiful Woven Textile Displays

Wow, not only did Canada kick our butts on the ice, they are doing it in Fashion Technology too. Don’t believe me, take a look at these gorgeous lighted fabrics and this dress from Karma Chameleon.

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Is Augmented Reality Fashion's Next Great Technology Superstar?

(Above: one of Spiral Magazine's Animated Avatars by Designers Reed + Rader)

Augmented Reality or AR is a term for for "a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery - creating a mixed reality."

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