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Informal educators create makerspace for youth and local makers to prototype wearable technology.

The Future of Fashion

Pittsburgh, United States
This one-day event is to expose girls (ages 8-16 years old) to people, places, and possibilities available for designing and creating new products/services to foster and entrepreneurial spirit. Participants will hear panel discussions featuring local women entrepreneurs embracing the Maker Movement to rethink beauty, health, hair, and fashion.

What is The Future of Fashion ?

“Sewing was a perfect way to incorporate fashion into our existing program. Sewing can be simple or complex, fast or slow, independent and interdependent. There are a number of professions that use sewing, from cosmologist to heart surgery. Everything about creating a fashion look relates to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M).”

Shimira Williams, WQED Education

In 2018, WQED's Education Department applied for the Great Remake grant opportunity sponsored by Remake Learning. The submission "Slaying the Future", with the goal to expose participants to African-American women trailblazing in the Maker Movement as well as give them the opportunity to contemplate how might they address health or beauty concerns affecting African-American women. The day will kick-off with participants learning about the makerspaces opportunities in the city and thinking about the problems we want to solve. Then learners will hear from two panels of locals African-American women makers solving problems in the health and beauty industry. Afterward, the learners will have an opportunity to work in teams to prototype a product or service that addresses a problem uniquely affecting African-American women. To close the day, participants will hear from an African-American female author on fashion. 

The morning session was open to the public, and the participants heard from three panels featuring local women entrepreneurs embracing the Maker Movement to rethink beauty, health, hair, and fashion. Next, author, educator and fashion designer Lesley Ware to deliver the keynote speaker. She shared a TED-style talk about her journey as a maker, author, and educator.’ Lesley is the author of several fashion books, Sew Fab: Sewing and Style for young Fashionistas and How to be a Fashion Designer. She also sat down for an interview to talk about her journey which aired on an episode of iQSmartparent, watch the interview here.

In the afternoon a select group participated in a maker challenge with an opportunity to work in teams to prototype a product or service that addresses a problem uniquely affecting girls and women. The teams will have an opportunity to present their proposed solution and receive a constructive reflection from their peers. All participants will receive a kit for their participation.

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Innovation Overview
9 - 16
Age Group
Tips for implementation
The lead teaching artist needs to have relationships with people and organizations within the community, and have experience with fashion design and wearable technology. The program needs access to space, tools, equipment, and resources to prototype their design for the pitch. The space needs to be able to accommodate the panel discussion and fabrication of the wearable technology.
Contact information

See this innovation in action

iQ Smartparent 604: Bridging the Digital Divide
Bring Making to Students through Fashion Design - Maker Promise


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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Save the Date
The lead teaching artist will develop a plan for the one-day conference that includes a budget, potential venues, identify people to participate in the panel and mentors for the maker challenge.
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Reach out to people
The lead teaching artist will invite people to participate and confirm a venue for the one-day conference.
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Let the people know!
Create a market campaign to spread the word to the community about the event.
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One-Day Conference
Find a collection of resources to plan a one day conference for youth that includes panel discussions from local entrepreneurs trailblazing in the local maker economy. The day culminates with a maker challenge for the learners to work in teams to prototype an idea and pitch.
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