It seems like the DIY tech scene hasn’t fizzled out, but in fact it is gaining momentum. StitchKit is one of the leaders in DIY tech. It is a FashionTech kit made for everyone – from students, to teachers, to design professionals and cosplayers.
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StitchKit was the joint idea of Maria Elena Hoover, Shannon Hoover and Chelsea Klukas, the founders of MakeFashion, which launched in June 2012. The Calgary-based MakeFashion has grown into the world’s largest Fashion Technology community, having developed over 250 wearable tech garments and showcased at over 60 international events.
StitchKit merges fashion with cutting-edge electronics. It is intended for wearables and garments.
StitchKit is available to pre-order now on Indiegogo from $40 for the Starter Kit, with a $110 Level Up kit and $160 Creator option.
“Ultimately we aim to lower the barriers of entry into wearables and fashion tech, and we’ve done that in different stages, from no programming required, to simplified programming, all the way up to the crazy sensors and whatever you can imagine after that,” explained Maria, MakeFashion’s chief production officer.
The StitchKit contains a specially designed Arduino board built for fashion tech and wearables, a simplified USB controller with pre-programmed light patterns and different types of sensors built upon the Grove Sensor system from SeeedStudios.
StitchKit Junior, another DIY, also made by MakeFashion, doesn’t require any programming. It is explicitly designed for rapid prototyping and the creation of wearables and fashion tech pieces, and is very simple to use. Just plug in your LED strip to a simplified USB controller, and that into a USB power bank.
Although MakeFashion has made a significant impact on the technique of merging fashion and technology, it has faced its share of obstacles. “Building StitchKit wasn’t an easy task. It is our first real attempt at manufacturing a product overseas, and that itself came with a lot of risk and challenges,” said Maria.
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“It has required over a year of research to make sure the StitchKit board itself worked just right,” she continued. “And that involved everything from the power requirements, figuring out just how many LEDs it could power, to how well the components held when it was put onto clothing. We also work with a very diverse and international community of designers, engineers and everyone else in between, and building out a product that worked not just for ourselves, but everyone else was challenging.”