Kent State Fashion School Honors Wearable Technology with Fifth Annual Fashion/Tech Hackathon

Group of 4 students working together on their Fashion Tech Hackathon ProjectThe Kent State University Fashion School hosted its fifth annual Fashion/Tech Hackathon, Jan. 26 – 28, and yielded record results. More than 150 students from over 35 colleges and universities nationwide participated in the 36-hour marathon event. Over 20 different academic majors were represented, including nursing, architecture, computer science and fashion, resulting in over 35 diverse student teams competing for the top prizes.


Presented in partnership with the Fashion School’s TechStyleLAB, Kent State’s LaunchNET and the Kent State computer science student organization HacKSU, the Hackathon is a cross-curricular event allowing teams of students from all across the country to learn new skills and create innovative wearable technology that will help redefine the future of fashion. Students spent 36 hours developing a project of their choice in the form of a technology-enhanced garment or wearable-responsive web application. All teams were given free access to the TechStyleLAB, the Fashion School’s digital textile fabrication space, along with a variety of free electronic and textile materials. Faculty mentors were on hand to assist the students with any issues or questions that arose during the event.


The Hackathon also featured several workshops that were open to the public including coding for high school students, intro to pattern making and sewing, intro to Adobe Illustrator Design and online portfolio building.


On Sunday morning at the conclusion of the event, the student teams had a chance to showcase their work alongside their peers and mentors. Each team that was awarded a prize in one of the four award categories, received Major League Hacking medals along with $1,000 that was split between team members. Other prizes that were awarded at the conclusion of the event included a $250 Amazon Web Services credit, a DragonBoard 410c and Power Source, a Raspberry Pi Kit, and a gift card to the Fashion School Store.


The KSU student team of Michelle Park, Naser Madi, Elena Blaginykh and Paramanand Deginal won the award “Best Use of Technology in Creating New Fashion Projects for their project titled “Firefly”; a fiber-optic purse that lights up when a text message is received. Kent State student Paul Loveman won the “Best Creation of a New Technology” award for his project “Knit Engine”; an easy-to-use, intuitive, user-based application to create knitwear. The Columbus College of Art and Design student team of Kathleen Price, Elizabeth White, and Kiara-Maria Hernandez won the award “Best Advancement of an Existing Technology” for “Threads, Not Threats”; a denim jacket featuring a hidden panic button. Washington University in St. Louis students, Jack Leshem and Nick Cornejo, created a virtual-reality shopping experience application titled “Pop-In” and won the award “Best Tech Advancement of the Retail Experience”.


Hackathon Judge Testing out a group's virtual reality project


Fashion School director, J.R Campbell, was thrilled with the level of talent and diverse group of students featured at this year’s Hackathon. “Hosting the Fashion/Tech Hackathon for the 5th year in a row has been amazing.  The scope of energy, new conversations and novel collaborative ideas that we get to witness among students coming from across the nation is pretty astounding.  I love that we place the “lens” of fashion right at the core of those great tech-oriented experiments and that our fashion students are able to see possible futures in collaborating with friends across the spectrum of digital sciences,” said Campbell.


For more information regarding the Fashion/Tech Hackathon, please visit the Hackathon website, Photos and videos from the event can be viewed on The Fashion School’s Facebook Page.


About the Fashion School

Established in 1983 as the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, the school was named an Ohio Center of Excellence by the state Board of Regents and is a member institution of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) and National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).




Media Contact: Brittani Peterson, marketing associate,, 330-672-2714

POSTED: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 08:45 AM
UPDATED: Friday, December 09, 2022 01:31 AM