Technology and fashion collide in the work of New York-based designer Madison Maxey. The now 20-something took a break from Parsons after her second year to start her own business, became fashion’s first Thiel Fellow, receiving $100,000 to pursue her entrepreneurial goals, and just to name drop, has worked for Tommy Hilfiger and Nylon Magazine . Oh, and she codes.
Last summer Google’s Made with Code featured Maxey in one of its videos. The girl-centric Google program is an initiative formed to inspire girls to become interested in technology and Computer Science.
While watching her speak, I got the feeling that Maxey is finding so much success not only because she’s willing to take risks, such as becoming an entrepreneur at 18-years-old, but also because she’s curious. With the future of clothing in mind, she asks questions like why do luxury fabrics shrink and how can clothing help regulate your body temperature.
The Cut: You started designing blazers, but the concept you pitched is more about fashion technology. What are your plans?
Madison Maxey: Starting my own company, I realized how convoluted the process can be. It’s really hard to produce in small quantites. By optimizing clothing patterns, we can cut down on labor and make production more efficient. It’ll be more sustainable, and it’ll be less labor-intensive. With everything that’s been happening recently [in Bangladesh], it’s obviously time for change in the way we manufacture. My software, Meld, optimizes patterns. A lot of this kind of software exists but not for the garment industry. The fashion industry still uses CAD to design, but that’s really made for architecture.
Excerpt from The Cut interview with Madison Maxey
Maxey writes on her website that she “currently spends her time computing and designing at The CRATED.”
Other designers are also working on high tech fashion as well. For example, the FashionWare show hosted by Living in Digital Times at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas focused on a number of wearable tech garments.