Something Awesome: Hi-Tech and High Fashion in Calgary

In November 2012, Awesome Calgary awarded a $1,000 micro-grant to Make Fashion, a collaboration of great minds who want to demonstrate that the convergence of Technology and Art can result in a form, fashion and community brand new to Calgary.

Fashion, jewelry and accessories designers were united with software and hardware engineers as well as technology enthusiasts to create innovative artistic pieces that demonstrated the convergence of fashion and technology.

100% of our micro-grant went towards paying for the materials needed to create the pieces, which included things such as electroluminescent wire, LEDs of various colours and an assortment of battery packs to power everything. All-in-all, the materials purchased with our grant contributed to the construction of about 10% of all of the creations.

The event was a HUGE success, putting Calgary on the map and at the forefront of wearable technology and high fashion around the world, and local creators Laura Dempsey and Angela Dale were even invited to show some of the pieces they developed for Make Fashion 2013 at the FashionWare show at this year’s International CES in Las Vegas in January.

This year, the folks behind Make Fashion are ready for their second annual gala. Entitled the Make Fashion Show & Gala 2.0, the organizers plan to go bigger and better than last year’s show, with a larger venue and by bringing in some of the top designers in this field from all over the world. Headlining the show this year are Erina Kashihara from Japan, Tricia Flanagan from Hong Kong and Rainbow Winters from the UK, alongside a plethora of Canadian designer teams.

As a special THANK YOU to everyone in The Awesome Foundation network for the support of their inaugural show last year, the organizers behind Make Fashion would like to offer everyone a special 20% discount off the cost of Advance Tickets (5% more than the early-bird special which expired on Feb 14; Yay!) for any of the various ticketing levels. To take advantage of their special offer, use this ticket link or navigate to and use promotional code LoveAwesome20 during check out to redeem. Advance tickets (while available) will be on sale up to the day before the event, so make sure to get yours before they sell out!

Make no mistake: This event is world class, and Awesome Calgary is proud to have helped kickstart such a show right here in our own backyard. If you’d like to learn more, check out our piece on the International AF Blog.

Hope to see you there!

Awesome Foundation – Calgary’s November 2012 Winning Project ‘Make Fashion’ Set to Dazzle and Delight Again!

Make Fashion - Angela Dale

An Awesome Foundation – Calgary winning project for November 2012, last year’s Make Fashion 2013 gala in Calgary was a complete success! It brought local technology enthusiasts and engineers together with fashion designers to create innovative artistic pieces that demonstrated the convergence of fashion and technology.

AF-Calgary’s $1,000 micro-grant helped kickstart the creation of various pieces of wearable technology for the show through the purchase of materials, ultimately contributing to roughly 10% of all the pieces created last year.

The inaugural Make Fashion gala became the first of its kind anywhere in Canada, joining FashionWare at CES and the wearable fashion show organized by Tech in Motion: New York as one of the premier events in North America showcasing the convergence of high technology and high fashion. In fact, local designers Laura Dempsey and Angela Dale were invited to show the pieces they developed for Calgary’s Make Fashion 2013 gala at this year’s FashionWare event in Las Vegas last month.

What makes Make Fashion different from shows like FashionWare and the Tech in Motion: New York wearable fashion show is that Make Fashion funds a significant portion of the development costs for the pieces designed for the gala, up to $1,500 worth for each piece.

“By covering our designers’ expenses, we allow them to take bigger risks, stimulating industry and inspiring innovation,” says Shannon Hoover, Make Fashion Co-Founder and AF-Calgary Fellow. “We’re proud to say that we have some of the best designers in the world right here in Calgary, and with this year’s show, we may become the most international one as well.”

Last year’s Make Fashion gala consisted of design teams mainly from the Calgary area, but this year, three top designers from outside of North America have been invited to showcase their wearable technology pieces at Make Fashion 2014.

The international designers headlining this year’s gala include Erina Kashihara from Japan, who has been creating light accessories and dresses since 1985, London, UK based artist Rainbow Winters, who fuses cutting edge science with the high-art of fashion to create visually stunning pieces that have been showcased in music videos, rock-concerts, advertisements, and other red-carpet events, and Dr. Patricia Flanagan, Head of the Wearables Lab at the Academy of Visual Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University.

“After seeing some of these talented artists show their pieces at various events around the world, we extended an invitation for them to participate in this year’s Make Fashion gala, and we’re thrilled that they accepted,” says Hoover. “Calgarians are in for a treat.”

Along with 11 returning and emerging design teams from the Calgary area, Make Fashion 2014 aims to be the biggest and best show to date with a larger venue and more exhibits.

What: Make Fashion Show & Gala 2.0
Where: WestJet Campus – 22 Aerial Place NE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
When: Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Tickets: Advance Purchase Here, General Admission (i.e. Standing Room) only to be sold at the door

About Make Fashion

Make Fashion is an initiative that introduces talented local designers to cutting edge new technologies, subject matter experts, and wearable technology. We are a collaboration of great minds who want to explore and demonstrate the convergence fashion and technology.

From awe-inspiring responsive runway dresses to scientific wearables with practical applications, Make Fashion designers are inspired by fashion with functionality.

Our runway gala in Calgary, Alberta is our largest annual event, where we pair fashion designers and artists with engineers and tech enthusiasts. The combination of skills and ideas creates stunning results and groundbreaking fusions of light, fashion and performance.

In addition to our runway series, Make Fashion produces a series of thought leadership symposiums, public-access workshops, and molecular cocktail events.

For more information, please visit

About Awesome Foundation – Calgary

The Calgary chapter of The Awesome Foundation (Awesome Calgary) was created in April 2011 and to date has granted $27,000 in no-strings-attached $1,000 micro-grants to enable awesomeness in Calgary. As part of the international Awesome Foundation network, collectively, $873,000 by 89 AF chapters in 18 countries has been granted to inspire and enable awesomeness around the world.

For more information, please visit


Maria Hoover
Co-Founder, Event Director and Media Coordinator, Make Fashion
Email: [email protected]

Reg Tiangha
Dean of Awesome and Media Coordinator, Awesome Foundation – Calgary
Email: [email protected]

Photo Credit: Faby Martin

Source: The Awesome Foundation

Random Acts of Awesome 01 – Valentine’s Day Balloon Scavenger Hunt

With our chapter’s relaunch in April comes a new direction as well. We’ve always helped to enable Awesome in the city, through our micro-grant program as well as helping people make connections through the AF network to help make their projects and ideas a reality.

However, starting in 2014, we’re going to work harder to do more Awesome in the city as well. Our Awesome Calgary Relaxation Station in the community of Mission last year during the aftermath of the flood as part of our contribution to Awesome Day in Canada was a huge success, and we’ve been trying to figure out how to do more of it given the constraints on our resources (all of our grants are entirely self-funded out of our Trustee’s pockets, which doesn’t leave much left over for extras).

So in the lead up to our chapter’s re-launch in April, we’ll be hosting our own Awesome Events and Activities in partnership with some fantastic groups and individuals in the community, many of which are inspired by projects that have received grants by AF chapters in other cities, and we’ll continue to do these sorts of things throughout the year.

The first of which is happening today, and it was inspired by the Valentine’s Day Balloon Scavenger Hunt! project funded by AF-San Francisco, as well as the Poetry+QR Codes project funded by AF-Chicago.

We’re calling it our very first Awesome Calgary Random Act of Awesome.

Today, we’re partnering up with Downtown Calgary to seed a large number of pink balloons across Stephen Avenue Walk (from Olympic Plaza to 3rd Street SW) and Barclay Mall (i.e. 3rd Street SW from 9th Avenue to 2nd Avenue SW) with a special Valentine’s Day message attached. We’re encouraging you to find (or rescue, if the weather is too cold; they should re-inflate once they’re back somewhere warm) these balloons over the lunch hour and to either keep them for yourself or to give them to someone Awesome in your life.

  • What:  Awesome Calgary Presents:  Random Acts of Awesome #01 – Valentine’s Day Balloon Scavenger Hunt in partnership with Downtown Calgary
  • Where:  Stephen Avenue Walk (from Olympic Plaza to 3 St SW) and Barclay Mall (3 St SW from 9 Ave to 2 Ave SW)
  • When:  Friday, February 14, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

We’re also hoping that Calgarians will help us kickstart a Global Wave of Awesome this Valentine’s Day. We’re encouraging people to post a selfie of themselves on Facebook and Twitter along with a Valentine’s Day message of love & justice and to tag the whole thing with #LoveAwesome. Other AF chapters in other cities have promised to monitor the feed and re-tweet or share the more interesting messages in order to inspire people in their city to do the same. We’re hoping to get this thing trending worldwide, and it’d be great if Calgary helped instigate that.

In fact, you don’t even have to participate in our balloon campaign to take part. Just post a positive message to Facebook and Twitter using #LoveAwesome and you’ll have done your part to try to start a rolling wave of Awesomeness around the world!

If you’re in the downtown core during the lunch hour, we hope you’ll help us ensure that each and every one of these balloons finds a good home. Leave no balloon behind!

(PS: There’s free chocolate too)

And for anyone out there who has no one spend this Valentine’s Day with, The Awesome Foundation recently awarded a grant to author Tamara Levitt to fund the creation of a picture book and video that celebrates singledom. “You Are Enough” is a special gift to those who have no one to celebrate this year’s Valentine’s Day with, courtesy of your friends at The Awesome Foundation:

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at Awesome Calgary!

Brace Yourselves…Awesome IS Coming!

After an extended hiatus, Awesome Calgary will be relaunching in April 2014, just in time for our Third Anniversary. In the meantime, throughout the year we’ll be hosting various events ourselves, many of which are inspired by Awesome Foundation projects that were funded by other AF chapters around the world!

Here’s a taste of some of the Awesomeness that you can look forward to in the next couple of months (and as always, all of our events are free to attend and open to the public):

  • Fri, Feb 14: Random Acts of Awesome #01: Valentine’s Day Balloon Scavenger Hunt (or ‘Rescue Mission’ if it gets too cold) in partnership with Downtown Calgary (inspired by projects funded by AF-San Francisco and AF-Chicago)
  • Sun, Mar 9: Awesome Calgary Presents – A ‘Strings-Attached’ themed Awesome Hours at Speed Gaming 2.0 (inspired by a project funded by AF-Ottawa)
  • Sun, Mar 30: Awesome Calgary Presents – A ‘Meat-Filled’ Zebra Piñata Party in partnership with (inspired by a project funded by AF-Boston)
  • Sun, Apr 20: Awesome Calgary Presents – Cardboard Fort Day! in partnership with Calgary Mini Maker Faire (inspired by a project funded by AF-Toronto)
  • Thurs, Apr 24: Awesome Calgary’s Third Anniversary Thousand Dollar Thursday Pitch Night Event

More details to be released closer to the events, but in the meantime, make sure to save the dates and we hope to see you out at some of these!

We’re also accepting idea submissions for our third anniversary event. If you have an Awesome Idea that you’d like to submit for consideration, fill out this form.

Finally, we’re always on the lookout for new Trustees and volunteers. We’re switching to a quarterly minimal commitment for Trustees, which makes things a little more accessible (of course, we also have a limited number of Guest Trustee slots every month if people would like to try out being an Awesome Trustee with no further commitment). If you’re interested in learning more about what opportunities exist at Awesome Calgary to help out, fill out this form.