Smart Fabrics Conference — Speaker Margarita Benitez

I'm delighted to begin the coverage of the Smart Fabrics conference by highlighting the wonderful talk by fashion technologists and assistant professor in Fashion Design at Kent State Margarita Benitez.


Ms. Benitez's work lives in the intersection of wearables, smart fabrics and rich media. It is her focus on rich media that offers a paradigm shift in how garments will be made in the near future and the new emerging relationship between designer and consumer.


Ms. Benitez is interested in building community-based online tools for small scale "ready to make" (prêt-à-faire) fashion. 


Along with her colleagues, Ms. Benitez has organized the TechStyleLab, an affordable on-demand printing service aimed to support small designers/companies. The service is run through the fashion school at Kent State. 


In four easy steps, anyone can create their own custom textiles. So what sets this apart from other on-demand printing services like Spoonflower


The TechStyleLab is being groomed into a complete fashion lab, hoping to offer future on-demand services such as digital embroidery, digitally driven-looms, laser cutters and whole garment knitting machines. Think Fab LAB  — just for fashion. 

In another project titled "Coded::Fashion", Ms. Benitez adds digital construction patterns to the mix of custom design software and laser cutters. The web app takes an image and translates it into a vector file that can be laser cut. 


The designer can either (A) order the garment fully sewn or (b) as pattern pieces that she can sew herself. 


I see Ms. Benitez work as the future of BurdaStyle: community-driven, small scale production for designers and DIY enthusiasts alike. 


Will this be the next stage of the democratization of fashion? 

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