2 March 2017

‘Smart’ Apparel for the Future: Functionality vs. Fashion

This mini-biography of Madison Maxey is the third piece in the UNAI Women in Science, Technology and Innovations series that analyses the gender dimension of Sustainable Development Goal #9: Industry, Infrastructure and Innovation. Leading women inventors of the 21st century were asked to avail themselves for interviews and/or submit articles highlighting the gender dimension of their work, research or inventions as they relate to SDG #9 and outlining their implications in helping to realize that goal. Please note that the interviews and articles are for discussion, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.

<<Programming isn’t necessarily writing code in a terminal, it can be this creative incredibly exciting work that can exist in clothing. >>

That is how Madison Maxey opened the discussion to ‘smart’ apparel, during her Women in Science, Technology and Innovation interview with United Nations Academic Impact to observe the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Madison Maxey, also known as Maddy, became the first fashion designer to win the $100,000 Thiel fellowship in 2013. Maddy, who currently works in the smart apparel industry at her company Loomia which she founded in 2013, believes that creating new materials can give a huge economic boost to soft goods industries by allowing companies to capture value for function. For that reason, her company focuses on making an impact in the future of attire by creating electronic textiles and manufacturing solutions, as opposed to concentrating on design and aesthetics. Overall, Loomia is concerned with smart apparel because it can help stimulate businesses, create opportunities for creatives, and create a strong opportunity for domestic manufacturing. It was voted 2016 start-up of the year by Wareable magazine.

When the Forbes 30 under 30 alumni is not engaged in fashion and technology projects for the likes of Zac Posen, Google, North Face and Milk Studios, she finds time to learn about new software and—you guessed it—code some more!

Get inspired by Madison Maxey by tuning into our Digital Discussion Series Podcast on Women in Science, Technology and Innovation here