TORONTO WEARABLES MEETUP 23: IZZY CAMILLERI, MAZ GHADERI AND RYAN MAKSYMIC
Friday August 19th, 2016

To kick off the return of the Toronto Wearables Meetup, we’ve brought in Canadian fashion designer Izzy Camilleri to speak about her newest label, IZ Adaptive.  IZ Adaptive is fashionable clothing for people in wheelchairs.  The line offers custom-made and common garments with inclusive design considerations. Much of the clothing on the market for people with various mobilities is geared toward the elderly, however there is a part of the population that have different mobility levels and who would like to dress in a more fashionable and contemporary way.

Izzy outlined the many considerations made for how clothing is or could be worn on those who are seated, who may have limited mobility, and/or who may have assistants that need to dress him/her.  In working closely with one particular client who is quadriplegic, Izzy was able to gain considerable insight into shortcomings of “off-the-rack” clothing for people with limited mobilities.  For example, when someone is quadriplegic, their organs tend to settle as the day passes, meaning their waistlines are smaller in the mornings than they are later in the day.  Having waistbands that expand and that don't ride down are necessary.  Quadriplegics can also sometimes get cold, so it has been important to offer the option of lined pants.  Buttons and snaps can be fussy and difficult, and pockets inaccessible or in some places, unnecessary (e.g. at the back).  Izzy also considered the placement and thickness of seams and refashioned them in a way that can avoid creating “bed sores”: sores that may appear when long term contact is continually made, and abrasion occurs.  However, in working with a wide variety of clients with mobility issues Izzy has learned that there isn’t exactly a “catch-all” design.  While she does offer common garments, she also specializes in custom work with the clients own design feedback incorporated into the garment.  Her price point is on par with any department store that one might go to purchase a pair of pants.  IZ Adaptive includes clever and fashionably inclusive designs.  Importantly, and is indicated through client feedback and the global popularity of her product line, Izzy understands that how one presents oneself to the world can also have an impact on one’s sense of self, sense of dignity, and self esteem.  The impacts of IZ Adaptive more than skim the surface.

Our second speakers for the evening were Maz Ghaderi and Ryan Maksymic, both graduate students in the Digital Futures program at OCAD.  They presented on their “Dissolving Self” interactive dance project that involved wiring sensors on a whirling dervish and having the dancer effect projected visuals during the performance.  Their project stems from a general interest in Sufism, the mystical side of Islam.  Part of the ritual of Sufism is the act of whirling to create an out of body experience. It occurred to them that putting a gyroscope on the dancer’s body could generate some interesting data.

Maz and Ryan designed a soft belt with a pouch for the circuit board (Arduino with gyroscope), wireless radio transceiver (Xbee), and battery placed at the lower back of the dancer.  In the performance, the centre mass of the dancer is being tracked by a Kinect and is detecting side-to-side movements.  The visuals, generated in Processing, are of an electrified sphere that changes in size depending on the speed of the whirling.  Throughout their process they questioned how to make the tech work for them, recognizing that it has its shortcomings.  In the end they were able to successfully bring together the tech and the poetic in a cohesive interactive performance that was publicly presented at the HayStack Conference at York University



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To kick off the return of the Toronto Wearables Meetup, we’ve brought in Canadian fashion designer Izzy Camilleri to speak about her newest label, IZ Adaptive.  IZ Adaptive is fashionable clothing for people in wheelchairs.  The line offers custom-made and common garments with inclusive design considerations. Much of the clothing on the market for people with various mobilities is geared toward the elderly, however there is a part of the population that have different mobility levels and who would like to dress in a more fashionable and contemporary way.

Izzy outlined the many considerations made for how clothing is or could be worn on those who are seated, who may have limited mobility, and/or who may have assistants that need to dress him/her.  In working closely with one particular client who is quadriplegic, Izzy was able to gain considerable insight into shortcomings of “off-the-rack” clothing for people with limited mobilities.  For example, when someone is quadriplegic, their organs tend to settle as the day passes, meaning their waistlines are smaller in the mornings than they are later in the day.  Having waistbands that expand and that don't ride down are necessary.  Quadriplegics can also sometimes get cold, so it has been important to offer the option of lined pants.  Buttons and snaps can be fussy and difficult, and pockets inaccessible or in some places, unnecessary (e.g. at the back).  Izzy also considered the placement and thickness of seams and refashioned them in a way that can avoid creating “bed sores”: sores that may appear when long term contact is continually made, and abrasion occurs.  However, in working with a wide variety of clients with mobility issues Izzy has learned that there isn’t exactly a “catch-all” design.  While she does offer common garments, she also specializes in custom work with the clients own design feedback incorporated into the garment.  Her price point is on par with any department store that one might go to purchase a pair of pants.  IZ Adaptive includes clever and fashionably inclusive designs.  Importantly, and is indicated through client feedback and the global popularity of her product line, Izzy understands that how one presents oneself to the world can also have an impact on one’s sense of self, sense of dignity, and self esteem.  The impacts of IZ Adaptive more than skim the surface.

Our second speakers for the evening were Maz Ghaderi and Ryan Maksymic, both graduate students in the Digital Futures program at OCAD.  They presented on their “Dissolving Self” interactive dance project that involved wiring sensors on a whirling dervish and having the dancer effect projected visuals during the performance.  Their project stems from a general interest in Sufism, the mystical side of Islam.  Part of the ritual of Sufism is the act of whirling to create an out of body experience. It occurred to them that putting a gyroscope on the dancer’s body could generate some interesting data.

Maz and Ryan designed a soft belt with a pouch for the circuit board (Arduino with gyroscope), wireless radio transceiver (Xbee), and battery placed at the lower back of the dancer.  In the performance, the centre mass of the dancer is being tracked by a Kinect and is detecting side-to-side movements.  The visuals, generated in Processing, are of an electrified sphere that changes in size depending on the speed of the whirling.  Throughout their process they questioned how to make the tech work for them, recognizing that it has its shortcomings.  In the end they were able to successfully bring together the tech and the poetic in a cohesive interactive performance that was publicly presented at the HayStack Conference at York University