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Diana Eng Hits Maker Faire With Her Forward-Thinking Tech Couture

Diana Eng's Shrug
Making her name as the de facto designer of fab, fantastic techno creations, Diana Eng's forward-thinking designs have ranged from jellyfish-like underwater sea creatures to candy raver. This weekend, we saw Eng's most recent fashion show at New York's Maker Faire -- which was packed due to her affinity for attracting the magnetic and physical. Inspired by underwater and fairy tales, her show had LED-sculptures, and bulbous, balloon-filled dresses (that dramatically opened to release the balloons in the room). She explained that she takes inspirations from designers like Belgium's Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan, who are part of the group of mainstream designers known for their architectural, avant garde shows and clothes.

While none of her creations are street-ready (models held battery packs in pockets or underneath dresses), Eng's clothing offers a unique relationship between technology and clothing. The Twinkle Dress features LED circuits hand-embroidered with silverized thread housed in the neck of the dress, and reacts to the wearers voice and external sounds. The moveable, transforming Deployable Hoodie is constructed of pleated and folded red wool that expands into a large hood, protecting the wearer. Eng is familiar enough with the fashion world (she was a contestant on the second season of 'Project Runway') to craft dreamy and feminine dresses and shrugs, but is near-scientific in her materials, which include accelerometers, circuit boards and micro-controllers. While it's clear Eng is still working on ways to interweave couture and electronics (some pieces were busy, struggling to stay aesthetically pleasing while housing interactive components), her role as "fashion geek" is officially cemented.

Diana Eng at Maker Faire: New York 2010


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