Smart fashion showcased at Imperial

Lates by Bernadeta Dadonaite 22 February 2019


Innovative wearables and intelligent clothing were on display for the public at the latest Imperial Lates event

Just as London was celebrating London Fashion week, Imperial researchers brought their own wearable designs out onto the catwalk. In this week’s Imperial Lates: Smart Fashion event, researchers from across the College showcased their own smart designs of wearable technology and intelligent clothing.

Visitors to the free evening event were able to talk to the researchers and try out some of the designs themselves. Among the variety of exhibits and workshops there were children’s clothes that grow with an infant, tattoos that sense how dehydrated you are, new gloves for future astronauts and a discussion on how technology can make the fashion industry more sustainable.


Future prosthetics

Imperial graduate Nate Macabuag showed his entrepreneurial spirit by representing a start-up company, called Mitt, and its innovative prosthetic designs. The goal of Mitt is to provide user-friendly and affordable prosthetics for everyone in need.

Nate Macabuag (centre)

Current prosthetic limbs available through the NHS have several design flaws – not only are they extremely expensive but they often are very uncomfortable to wear. The latter issue also means that ultimately around a third of prosthetic limbs given out to amputees are never worn. Mitt’s solution to the problem is to go directly to the amputees and ask what they want from a prosthetic limb.

Such a direct approach led Nate and his cofounder Ben Lakey to make a prosthetic that is designed with a user in mind. The newly designed prosthetics are not only intuitive and simple, but also comfortable to wear and are based on modular parts that can be interchanged using simple magnetic attachments. They weigh just a few hundred grams and currently have at least eighteen different attachments that can be used for different tasks – anything from writing to wine drinking. Furthermore, the low cost of the design allows Mitt’s prosthetics to be sold at a price that subsidises them to the people who are the least able to afford it.

As Nate put it: “We think about prosthetics just as we would about a pair of sneakers, they have to be comfortable to wear and affordable, so that people could and would want to use them”. Keep an eye out for Mit’s upcoming launch to the wider public later this year.

Upgraded tradition


When Anisha Kanabar noticed her grandmother wobbling from side-to-side when she walked, she realised that there may be a link between the traditional sari garment that she wore and the deteriorating musculoskeletal problems that her grandmother was experiencing. Walking in saris requires a slight forward kicking action to prevent the wearer from falling over the garment. But the kicking action can cause the development of bad posture.

From then on it was Anisha’s mission to recreate the traditional garment in a way that maintains the tradition but also prevents the development of bad posture practices that can ultimately lead to larger issues such as osteoarthritis. Anisha has designed a new sari that has a structured insert inside it and makes the fabric adapt to a person’s movement, removing the need to kick the garment.

Anisha’s grandmother was initially sceptical about trying on the design, but now very much appreciates the help, moreover the reinvented sari is also quite popular among the younger people due to its simplicity and convenience.

“As much as this is about helping  older people, you don’t want to scare young people from wearing the garment as well, you want them to be able to wear it both comfortably and proudly,” said Anisha. During the Lates event Anisha was also approached by a visitor who works as a costume designer, who thought that the design could potentially also work for designing more comfortable theatre costumes too.

Speaking about where she finds inspiration for her work, Anisha added: “Innovation is all around us, you just got to find it.”

Space fashion

While gloves may not seem like the type of clothing that needs much innovation, the researchers from Imperial’s Hamlyn Centre showcased their improved designs on gloves that many of us have imagined wearing in our childhood –ones that come with a spacesuit.


A visitor tries out the space glove

One of the issues with the current model of a space glove is that, during a spacewalk, it inflates and becomes very difficult to operate and move. Inflated gloves create a lot of resistance, so astronauts waste a lot of energy just moving their fingers and a simple job of tightening a screw can take hours to do.

Imperial researchers have designed a glove that has sensors placed on a person’s fingers inside it. The sensors relay finger movement information to an exoskeleton that goes with the spacesuit, which in turn can provide help with the action that is being performed.

Another issue with the current version of space gloves is that the gloves themselves are very thick, making an astronaut’s sense of touch almost absent. To improve the tactile senses of the wearer, the new version of the space glove has sensors on its exterior that relay touch information through small vibrations, providing a new feedback loop to the astronaut. Who knew that gloves can be so complicated?

New use for gyroscopes

While space gloves are perhaps not something that most people will see lying around often, a GyroGlove might one day be found in many households.

Gryo Glove is a creation of Imperial’s medicine graduate Dr Faii Ong and it uses simple principles of a gyroscope to cancel tremors in people’s hands. Gyroscopes are devices that are used to maintain an orientation of an object. These days gyroscopes are used extensively in the industry for aircraft and ship navigation and there is likely a gyroscope inside your pocket too –  if you carry a smartphone.

Dr. Faii Ong’s medical background has inspired him to create hand-stabilising gloves in the hope that they would help Parkinson’s patients to overcome the symptomatic tremors. The GyroGlove looks like a normal glove with a small cylinder on its back, in which a gyroscope that stabilises hand movements is placed. GyroGear, a company that makes the GyroGlove, is now finalising all the required medical approvals and will soon take the GyroGlove into clinical trials. Outside its application for Parkinson’s patients, GyroGlove could potentially one day be used in other fields that require precise hand movements, such as surgery or elite sports.


Wonder Women Lates: 6 March

Our next Lates event takes place on the 6 March, and we will be celebrating the inspiring, creative and all-around superheroes that are the women in science and engineering. Register for the Wonder Women Lates.

(Image credit: Dan Weill)

Pups Pranced Down a Westminster inspired Runway at NY Fashion Week

By Anahita Moussavian

February 11, 2019 | 6:01pm | Update


Lela Rose unveiled her fall collection Monday in the most adorable fashion.

In what the designer dubbed the “Roseminster Dog Show,” cute canines took over the catwalk in a playful riff on the Westminster event.

As the pups pranced alongside the models in a square-shaped arena, TV personalities Robert Verdi and Jenna Bush Hager served up punny commentary (phrases like “lassies who lunch” and “I like big mutts and I cannot lie” drew laughs from the delighted crowd).

The cast — which included a beagle, a whippet and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (to name a few) ranged from showdogs to actual Instagram personalities. The winner was selected at the show’s end by Rose herself — Maxine, a fluffy corgi who boasts 130k followers on Instagram @madmax_fluffyroad (and whose profile bio reads “short legs, big city”).

Rose — who brought her Norwich Terrier, Bobbin, with her on stage, is a known dog lover. Her show notes announced that a portion of the proceeds from the fall 2019 collection sales on and at the brand’s Dallas flagship boutique will be donated to the ASPCA.

On the fashion front, the clothes were equally cute. True to her feminine roots, floral frocks with poufy skirts were the main event, coupled with boldly-checkered daywear. The opening look — dubbed the “sidecar” coat — was best in show.


Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

9 Tips For Launching A Successful Beauty Startup

With over 20 years of experience as a modeling agent, Shelley Sullivan turned to makeup in 2002. Her line, ModelCo, now boasts more than 250 products and collaborations with Hailey Baldwin, Stella Maxwell, Elle Macpherson, and Karl Lagerfeld, to name a few. Considered one of Australia’s leading female entrepreneurs, ModelCo founder and CEO Sullivan has earned accolades including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the American Express award for fastest growing small business. 


“I always had a strong desire to create my own business,” says Sullivan. “This feeling was innate in me from an early age. I have a relentless drive to succeed which is driven by personal ambition and determination. I love a challenge, being creative, and the thrill of building a business I can be proud of.”

It was her experience owning a modeling agency that surfaced Sullivan’s desire to create a line of products. She feels her current role at ModelCo is a manifestation of her life purpose, providing her with a sense of achievement and satisfaction. For example, through securing a worldwide beauty license deal with Karl Lagerfeld, she believes she has paved the way for other niche beauty brands to become serious contenders in the beauty world and contributed to “Australian Made” being perceived as a hot commodity.

As a leader, Sullivan feels she is constantly challenging herself creatively and from a business perspective. Her first trial came when she realized that the beauty industry was not what she expected. “ I thought I was launching a beauty business when in actual fact I was going into the world of retail, wholesale, marketing, logistics and finance ," she says. "It was a real learning curve for me. It taught me that you have to understand the business you are going into and surround yourself with people who have more knowledge than you do who can guide you through the process.”

She also experienced several bumps along the road to success, Sullivan says. ModelCo’s first product, Lashwand, was less than a year old when global orders started coming in too fast for the company to fulfill them. Sullivan had to get on a plane to visit the factory in Korea in order to sort out the situation in person.

“My manufacturer had a contact in another factory next door who stepped in to help, but they needed to work 24 hours round the clock – and it cost me four times the price,” Sullivan explains. “I had to take a large financial loss on the product in order to deliver to my customers because that was my utmost priority. There was no plan B; we just had to do whatever it took to make it work. Ultimately, we got the product to stores, but it was a valuable lesson. In the future, I knew that when I launched a new product, I would always have a plan B. On the flip side, I learned that when the going gets tough, I can handle it.”

Sullivan enjoys inspiring the next generation of female entrepreneurs. “I started the ModelCo brand from a one-product dream and turned it into a multimillion-dollar global beauty brand. I have a motivational story to tell,” she proclaims. She achieves this through mentoring sessions, media interviews, public speaking engagements, and personal communication with thousands of fans via email.

Here are nine tips from Sullivan on launching a successful beauty startup:

  1. Prepare by learning as much as you can about your customer, market, competitors, technology and trends relevant to the beauty industry.

  2. Learn from others where you can. Surround yourself with people who have more knowledge than you do about your industry.

  3. Clearly define your target audience. This will give you direction in your marketing and allow you to connect with your consumers.

  4. Take your time hiring the right people, even though you probably need to hire fast. People are the core of your business and having the right minds behind you will accelerate your business.

  5. Follow your instincts. I strongly believe that trusting my intuition has been the key to ModelCo’s success.

  6. Ensure you have the best IT, logistics, finance and digital processes set up from the beginning

  7. Identify the funds you require to start up, then double what you think you need.

  8. Set out your business strategy, then ensure you and your team are on the same page.

  9. Finally, never give in, never give up, and never take no for an answer.

I am a New York Times bestselling author, coauthor and ghostwriter of over a dozen non-fiction books and hundreds of articles for publications including Huffington Post, Self, Stanford magazine, and MindBodyGreen. I specialize in health and wellness, spirituality and psycho...


MeiMei Fox is a New York Times bestselling author specializing in health, wellness and positive psychology. As a writer and life coach, she helps people align careers with their life purpose.

How to Shoot Photos People Want to Buy

It's a safe bet to say a majority of photographers would love to get paid for their photos. Well, what photos would people want to buy?

The couple over at Mango Street teamed up with Stefan Kunz for their latest video where they discuss what you can do to take photos that people may want to buy, more specifically, graphic designers, clients, or anyone who would want to use photos for invitations, flyers, and other pieces where they will be incorporating text into the shot. 

They go over six different tips to keep in mind when shooting; some of the tips focus on the actual scene, while others focus on what lens would be best and some of the settings for the shot. 

These are some important tips to consider and not confined to only photographers that shoot for stock. Think of the different ways your photos could be used. Senior and graduation portraits could turn into the invites, engagement photos for save the dates, and product photography for ads, just to name a few. 

Are there any other tips to keep in mind when shooting photos that may be used with text? Leave your answers in the comments below.

3 Tips for Nailing Your Next Modeling Go-See


You’ve been called into a go-see for a modeling job and you’ve successfully done all the things I suggested in my last article to prep for the audition. But once you’re all signed in and ready to go, how do you ensure you have the best go-see possible? What can you do to give yourself the best chances of booking the job? Here’s how.

1. See if the ad layout is available.
Look around the casting office or photographer’s studio to see if the ad’s layout is available to view. This is a physical description of what the ad will look like, and can be helpful in directing the way you interact with the camera. Providing an ad layout at a go-see isn’t common, but if it is available, study it. 

Often, a stock image or other generic photo will be used as a placeholder, but it can still give you a sense of what they’re looking for in the final product. Check out the expression, hairstyle, pose, etc. If there’s a headline or copy on the ad already, that will let you know the tone the ad agency is going for. Use the knowledge to your advantage in prepping and while your photos are being taken.

READ: How to Become a Model

2. Offer your headshot or composite sheet.
When you’re called in to have your pictures taken, always ask if they want a copy of your headshot or composite sheet. I find it’s rare for a casting director or photographer to actually want either of these from models, but make the offer anyway. Even if they throw it away as soon as you leave, at least they’ll have seen a  great shot of you. 

If they do take your headshot or comp card, it’s likely to show the client what you look like in a professional photo.

3. Ask the photographer what he or she needs in the shot.
An actor would never ask the casting director how to play a character in an audition—part of being a great actor is making those choices ahead of time by studying the script and sides. But with modeling, you need to know why you’re posing or reacting in a certain way. 

For example, if a doctor is being cast for a modeling job and the CD or photographer asks you to smile, ask why. Should the smile be “I just saved someone’s life” or “I’m offering patients a better type of medication with less side effects”? Both scenarios are reasons to smile, but the type of smile will be different. So ask what’s giving you a reason to smile so you know exactly what look to share with the camera. 

When you ask, be prepared. Some photographers will give you more details so you can use your acting skills and offer a specific look. Others might simply say, “Just give me a smile.” Don’t argue or get into a discussion about why it’s helpful to get the additional information. Just make a specific decision on your own and give the look to the camera or wherever you are asked to look. 

Having a game plan and strategy while attending a go-see will not only help you relax and take the mystery out of the audition, it will also give you your best chance for success. Good luck!