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STEM Inspired Clothing

July 18, 2017

Written By: Alicen Ricard

Fashion is the perfect way to express who you are. As a kid, I loved to wear clothing that expressed my interests, and as an adult I haven't really changed. However, when you picture a scientist in your head you don't necessarily picture high fashion, do you? There are many companies out there that are trying to change that with the goal of bridging the perceived gap between science and fashion design, and also closing the gender gap in STEM.

Source: Budding STEM

When Jennifer Muhm and Malorie Catchpole couldn’t find science themed clothing for their little girls, they decided to start their own clothing company called Budding STEM. Jennifer’s daughter wanted to be an astronaut until she was looking for a Halloween costume and saw that only boys wore astronaut costumes. Malorie’s daughter wanted train underwear but she could only find it in the boy’s section. Both women noticed this was a trend and decided they needed to do something about it. They wanted to make clothes for girls that had things like rocket ships and dinosaurs on them but were still “girly.” When interviewed for the Huffington Post, the women said, "Girls shouldn’t have to make a choice between expressing themselves as a girl, and showcasing their interests... When we package those interests as being something for boys, girls get the message that those topics aren’t for them."

Source: Clothing Without Limits

Budding STEM isn’t the only company making STEM based clothes. At Svaha you can get STEM based clothes for both women and kids. Svaha's website is easy to use, as one can search by interest. Their categories are science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Budding STEM and Svaha are participating companies of a site called Clothing Without Limits, which also has its own store. They have clothing for both women and kids as well. Though they have clothes for both boys and girls, it’s not gendered. Both boy and girl models are shown wearing the same pink shirt. Another company run by women with awesome STEM themed clothing for kids is Princess Awesome.

Interactive Particle Dress. Source: Shenova

Fashion designer Holly Renee also designs STEM inspired dresses and uses women scientists as models. She was inspired to make dresses for women in STEM by her mother, who is a molecular biologist. Holly wanted to prove that just because you're a scientist doesn't mean you can't be fashionable.

When asked why she focuses on STEM, Holly answered, "My mum brought me into her lab at work and I would marvel at all of the intricate scientific instruments, safety equipment, hazard signs. For some reason I found fascination in the extreme contrast of elements in the sterile, calculated world of science and technology vs. the extreme unpredictable whimsy of fashion. I liked how the result was this 'industrial chic' aesthetic. I still feel that way but now it has more meaning to me. I think the only way we as humans will be getting ourselves out of this Earth mess we’ve created is through becoming heavily focused on recruiting people into solving problems in these fields."

Holly's company is called Shenova and has many beautiful dresses. She also creates custom orders, such as a dress she designed for a gala called the Interactive Particle Physics dress. This dress uses heart-beat reactive LEDs to light up and even runs with a cloud based app - people in attendance at the gala could vote what colour the dress would light up.

 

Western Blot Medley. Source: Descience

Descience is an organization that combines science with high fashion. A collaboration between fashion designers and scientists to allow them to be heard, their mission is to take research to the runway. The whole "Descientist Team" is made up of women, including the founder, Yuly Fuentes Medel, Ph.D, a neuroscientist. They want consumers to get inspired and change the way the world thinks. Their website features blog posts that dig into the inspirations for their designs and what it takes to bridge science and fashion design. One Descience's many creations is fabric modeled off of the western blot lab technique, created by Nefeli Geogoulia. The western blot finds certain proteins, including the proteins that are present in breast cancer cells. For more information on Geogoulia's research, check out the blog post on Descience's website.

 

Source: Vitali Wear

Started here in Vancouver by Cindy Gu, a mechanical engineering student at UBC, the Vitali everyday smart bra is more than just a sports bra. It tracks your breathing, posture, and heart rate variability which determines the balance between stress and well-being in your body. The bra uses fabric based sensors to collect the data in combination with the "GEM" which is the tech of the bra, and the My VITALI app.  It helps you train yourself to sync your breath with your heartbeat, which can improve your workout and health.

Vitali isn't the only smart bra. Both OMbra by OMsignal and Mi Pulse Smart Bra are created by women and track both breathing and heart rate.

Source: Diffractive Designs

 

Diffractive Designs is combining cool tech with high fashion. Ben Horvat, artist and CEO of Diffractive Designs, teamed up with Ray Krajci, computer engineer and Chief Technology Officer at Diffractive Designs to create dresses that were not only beautiful to look at, but also reactive. They created different dresses to react to different things. One of the dresses, called "Pulse," reacts to the movement of the human body and lights up according to body movements. Another dress, "Constellation," reacts to the Earth's magnetic field.

Check out these companies for more awesome STEM inspired clothing and if you know of more or own some of your own, feel free to share them with us on facebook or twitter.