Kent State hosts annual Fashion Tech Hackathon

Kent State freshmen fashion design majors Rebecca Bens and Zachary Tatoczenko search for a group to join during the Fashion Tech Hackathon in Rockwell Hall Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Fashion Tech Hackathon is a weekend long competition in which students from different schools team up as fashion designers and engineers to create wearable technology.

Paige Miller

Students traveled to Kent State this weekend for the Fashion Tech Hackathon event to create the most innovative fashion-forward, technology-based product.

“The Hackathon allows participants to work with people not in their discipline,” said Kevin Wolfgang, the outreach manager for the TechStyle LAB. “They have to come up with a problem and solve it. Students are most likely using technology they’ve never tried.”

The event, which took place over a 36-hour time frame from Friday, Jan. 27 until Sunday, Jan. 29, sets The Fashion School apart from fashion programs at other universities and is open to students of other universities and majors.

Sauua Madar, a computer science major at Cleveland State University, traveled to Kent State to compete.

“I have engaged in a previous hacking program that was strictly technology based,” Madar said. “This is my first time participating in anything related to fashion.”

Junior fashion merchandising major Ella Zurawski said she is a Hackathon veteran.

“The Hackathon is a great weekend of ideas and failures,” Zurawski said. “It’s an inclusive event that brings people together.”

Zurawski and her teammate junior fashion merchandising major Kevin Williams designed a vibrant green and red, fashion-forward voice box bag offering 12 programmable notes as well as an insert for a SD card and an external battery.

“If you are travelling in a different country, you can program 12 essential phrases in different languages to make for easy communication,” Zurawski explained.

The Project Expo Sunday lined the Center of Architecture and Environmental Design lobby with 30 tables of garments designed by students over the weekend, and teams buzzed with excitement as they explained their product to the public and judges.

“Whatever project you make, you are judged in the category you choose,” Wolfgang said. “It’s not just about the product. The type of student that will show up and participate in this project is an employee someone wants.”

Prizes are awarded for the creation of new technology, use of technology in creating new fashion products and technological advancement of the retail experience.

Wolfgang said the most gratifying takeaway from this opportunity is teaching people how to communicate with each other and said at the end of the weekend, every participant is a winner.

Page Miller is the fashion reporter, contact her at [email protected].