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Élizabeth Stefanka, PDG de Stefanka

When intelligence seizes fashion

Published on
April 13, 2017
By adding a healthy dose of intelligence to clothing, Montréal designers are changing fashion… and the world!

Calling 811 when you have a health problem is normal. But in a not-too-distant future, our clothing will identify our ailment even before we even have time to pick up the phone.

"The field is changing in impressive ways," says Valérie Lamontagne, a designer, doctoral candidate and lecturer at Concordia University's design department. "Ten years ago, I would never have imagined that we would be so advanced in fashion tech today."

There are three kinds of smart fashion. The best known is "portable technologies," or accessories with sensors that record health-related data. Training bracelets and the Apple Watch are two good examples.

The second is fashion tech, which goes a step further, combining technology and design to create a stylish effect.

"Research is often expensive and complex, so fashion tech is used more in fashion shows than everyday apparel," says Lamontagne.

Finally, there is smart fabric, also known as e-textiles. Smart fabric is interwoven with electronic components through which information can be collected, retained and transmitted. The clothing industry is a major target, but also biochemistry, aerospace and architecture. Lamontagne thinks that smart fabric could be integrated into the water system so that city employees are alerted when pipes are damaged.

Smart dressing room

Many Montréal entrepreneurs and designers are experimenting with smart fashion including Élizabeth Stefanka, executive director of Stefanka. Her company has developed a dressing room that analyzes clients' build in order to offer them ready-to-wear garments that are adapted to their body type.

Stefanka's smart dressing room not only helps people find the perfect outfit in less time, believes its creator – it also helps companies adjust their production methods according to the data they collect. "Companies mass produce clothing and the surplus is thrown away. It isn't a sustainable cycle. Fashion needs to become more efficient!" Or in other words... smarter!


Printemps numérique, Montréal Digital Spring 

On March 30, fashion lovers and designers gathered at the McCordMuseum for a 5 to 9 on the theme of Montréal Fashion Tech. The event was held to launch the fourth edition of Digital Spring, which showcases Montrealers’ technological creativity. Some 150 activities will take place in the weeks to come; check out the program of events!