Technology has become increasingly pervasive in the creative and experimental environment of the avant-garde fashion runway, particularly in relation to its garments. However, several disciplines are often necessary when exploring technologies for the construction of expressive garments (e.g. garments that respond to their environment), creating a barrier for fashion designers that has limited their ability to leverage new technologies. To help overcome this barrier, we designed and deployed Brookdale, a prototyping system for wearable technology consisting of new plug-and-play hardware that can be programmed using drag-and-drop software. Brookdale was created using a 24-week participatory design process with 17 novice fashion-tech designers. At the end of the 24 week process, designers showcased their Brookdale-enhanced garment collections at an avant-garde fashion-tech runway show in New York City. We report on the experiences, outcomes, and lessons learned throughout this process, and describe results from interviews with the fashion-tech designers 16 weeks after the fashion show, demonstrating the lasting positive impact of Brookdale.
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