Stay up to date with all things fashion and tech, including the coolest new designers making “tech couture”, and the latest inspirations for Hello Bezlo designs.

Recently we caught up with Ivana Lee, a mathematic extraordinaire with a passion for fashion! She is a big role model for young girls as she stylishly paves the way forward encouraging everyone, young and old, to think differently towards Math. Her story is quite remarkable, having once failed Math in high school she became determined never to let that happen again! In true Bezlo Girl spirit she rose to the challenge, gained confidence and now LOVES Math! Her passion for Math grew so much she’s made an amazing career out of this subject! Here we learn more about her inspiring story.

Ivana you have a pretty cool job, tell us what you do?

I work at The College Board, an education organization, as a Senior Assessment Specialist in Mathematics. I write, edit, and review mathematics questions for the SAT, a college entrance exam that many students may take while applying to college. Prior to that, I was a Math Editor here at The College Board, working on SpringBoard, a full-curriculum instructional program for middle school and high school. It includes textbooks and eBooks, assessments, and other instructional resources that students and teachers use in the classroom. I love the work I do because our programs help give students the tools they need to be successful in college and careers.

Wow, impressive! How did you develop your passion for math?

I didn’t always love math. I failed math class my second year of high school, so naturally, my reaction was to hate it. As a teenage girl, there are many things that can contribute to low self-esteem, and failure was a huge one for me. I was always got good grades in school, so my first (and only) failure left me embarrassed, discouraged, and unconfident. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I suppose my failure also challenged me to work harder. Somehow, I worked my way up to AP (Advanced Placement) Calculus, a college-level calculus class, when I was in my final year of high school. With the support of a very encouraging teacher, I managed to get a high score on the AP exam, which allowed me to enter college with my math requirements already completed. For the first two years of college, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I took various classes in English, History, Theology, Sociology, Psychology, and Spanish, trying to discover my passion. I eventually realized that what I was missing was math, and ended up graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. The following year, I earned my Master’s degree in Education because I realized that I wanted to help students the same way my calculus teacher helped me.

How encouraging! The myth of “you are either good or bad at math” is totally false! It really is never too late to learn!

Never! When people find out what I do for work or that I love math so much, their response is often, “Oh wow! I’m not a math person…” To that, I always respond, “EVERYONE is a math person!” I think it is rather common for people who struggled in math to lose confidence in their mathematical abilities, leading them to think they are “bad at math”. Keep going! I was not always great at math either, but through the hard work that I put into trying to understand it, I learned to appreciate how utterly beautiful, perfect, and interesting it can be. Failure can often lead to success, and that success can lead to passion.

Absolutely! We couldn’t agree more! What is your favourite area of Math?

My favorite mathematics class in college was probably Modern Algebra, also known as Abstract Algebra. Think about an abstract painting of modern art. It’s a painting of something that doesn’t represent a particular object in real life. Multiple people can look at the same painting and have different interpretations of its meaning. There is no right or wrong interpretation.

In Modern/Abstract Algebra, actual numbers are rarely ever used, and there is no application of these concepts to tangible things in the real world, making it “abstract”. Let’s pretend that instead of a painting, there are multiple people viewing an abstract algebra problem in which a particular theorem must be proven. Contrary to the abstract painting, the abstract algebra problem does have a right or wrong answer. This is because the properties of math are so unflawed, they can even be applied to such “abstract” mathematical ideas 🙂 I think this is one of the reasons I find mathematics so beautiful.

 

Who is your favourite Mathematician of all time?

I would love to meet John Conway and have a conversation with him about The Game of Life. Google it. It’s pretty much the coolest thing ever, and YES, this is math. He seems like a really cool dude

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It’s clear you love fashion too, can you tell us more about your style? Has math played a part in your style?

I live in New York City, so I’m constantly seeing fashion inspo from women I encounter in my day to day life. I find it hard to describe my personal “style,” because I really just wear whatever I like! When I go shopping, I don’t have ideas for a certain look that I am trying to achieve…I just pick things that I think look nice and might look nice on me. I like to be comfortable, but I also like to be stylish without being too over the top.

It’s actually hard to find clothing inspired by mathematics (which is why I am so excited to be a part of Hello Bezlo!), but I am always on the hunt for necklaces, rings, or earrings that showcase mathematics. I’m not sure if the accessories that I find were intentionally made with math in mind, but it’s fun to look for the math behind it!

What did you want to be when you were little?

I changed my mind a lot: veterinarian → fashion designer → chef → dentist → teacher.

What excites you most about your job?

I remember what it was like to be a high school student who struggled at math, so as I review the content in our materials, I think about what we can do to help those students who may be struggling as well. It’s also fun for us to think about how we can make the content interesting and relevant to students. When I review instructional materials, I try to think of ways to explain the math so that students get a better understanding of mathematical concepts. It’s more important to understand why math works the way it does, rather than how to solve a problem.

How do you think we can encourage more girls not to give up on math?

Exposure to female role models! I specifically use the phrase “exposure to” rather than “lack of” because there are so many brilliant women out there that girls can look up to. We just need to do more to promote these amazing women in our STEM workforce!

In addition to role models, students — especially female students — need encouragement. Although females may have above-average mathematical abilities, they tend to report low levels of mathematical confidence. They often compare themselves to their male classmates because math and science are (for some reason) viewed as “boy” subjects in our culture. Passionate teachers who nurture their students to believe in themselves, like my AP Calc teacher, are key in closing this gender gap.

Finally, if you could go back to give your ten year old self advice what would it be?

I’m totally stealing this line from GoldieBlox, a toy company aimed at promoting girls in STEM:

“There’s nothing wrong with being a princess, but girls can build their own castles, too.”

Hello Bezlo has an exciting collaboration in the works with Ivana, stay tuned to find out more! In the meantime check out her fabulous new website www.mathematicalmodels.org and followe her journey on Instagram and twitter 

Love team Bezlo x

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Code Couture

Here at Hello Bezlo there are two things we love; Fashion and Technology. We discovered when you combine the two extraordinary things can happen. To show Bezlo Girls just how fascinating this new innovative sector is, we hosted a Fashion Tech event called “Code Couture” to share our passion and show the endless possibilities there are with Fashion Tech. It was such a success we plan to host more events this year.

When we use the #FashionTech we ain’t talking about a smart watch! Fashion Tech is so much more than that. Think … LED lights, built in sensors, conductive thread, 3D printing, laser cutting and so much more! The event was in collaboration again with the wonderful CoderDojo and Zalando team! Both Coderdojo and Zalando share our mission to encourage more young girls into the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). What better way to start creating with technology then joining your local Dojo. We believe learning to code from a young age is key.

Many of you have been asking us how it went and what was involved. How did we make a fashion event technical? Here, we have the full Bezlo recap with our top four areas explored!

  1. How clothes are designed and made
  2. LED lights
  3. Coding and Soldering  
  4. Role Models

The event kicked off with opening talks from Sandra MaGuire who runs the CoderDojo at the IADT , Susan Reardon who is the programme coordinator at IADT and Clodagh Connell founder of Hello Bezlo. Both Clodagh and Sandra are big advocators to encourage more girls to learn how to code. We created an open and relaxed environment for everyone to learn and have fun.

The Bezlo Mission: To inspire, educate and empower young girls to dream BIG. Engaging in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths through fashion. This event was specifically designed by us to show that an fashion can be combined with technology using code to make LED lights perform magic on your clothes

When you merge fashion and technology you can create something so magnificent we felt we just had to show you! 

Dream. Code. Create … Bezlo Style. 

Fashion Workshop led by Bezlo’s in house designer Deirbhile Coyle

“I put together relevant imagery that could inform and inspire the Hello Bezlo attendants at the workshop on how to make clothing and whats needed. It was an interactive session which challenged everyone there on what they might already know about garment construction. I started the workshop off with an introduction to myself and my work as a young Irish graduate designer, explaining what it was that encouraged me to study fashion design. As my interest started from a young age, which reached some children in the audience who too have explored DIY clothing already at their age. For me it was important that the children gained an insight into what patterns are and how they are used to create clothes, it was new knowledge to them that the patterns used were paper patterns and not the printed patterns on their clothing that they were all already aware of. Throughout this section of the talk I explained the importance of technology in the future of garment construction and design which lead me to the next area of the workshop where I demonstrated digital drawing. This gave the attendees a chance to try it out for themselves which I feel highlighted all the possibilities in particular for technology and design out there. It was great to see all the kids get involved and show an interest in how to make their own clothing and learn how to digital draw. Their interest and enthusiasm made it an even more interesting and fun workshop to be apart of.”

Role Models 

We were so lucky to be yet again supported by Zalando who really connected with the audience. Both data scientist, Martina Naughton and Antoaneta Marinova spoke how nurturing their interest in computers from an early age led them to pursue a third level education in computer science which gave them endless career opportunities. In an industry that is mainly male dominated Martina and Antoaneta showed true Bezlo Girl spirit by following their dreams not allowing stereotypes to get in their way! Learning about Zalando’s  growth as a leading e-commerce market place was fascinating for everyone.

Fashion Technology workshop run by designer Danielle Jordan and computer scientist Eric Cassells

Fashion Designer Danielle has created a incredible 6 piece Collection that incorporates technology.  To bring her LED creation to life she collaborated with a computer programmer Eric Cassells.

“My collection was inspired by the True story of the first ‘Bionic Women‘ Claudia Mitchell US Marine who lost her arm. Using new innovative technology surgeons transplanted nerves from her arm into her chest. When the prosthetic arm is attached it is controlled by her brain. My first three looks are based on her prosthetic arm and the technology that controls it. The outfits signifies the physical and emotional trauma caused by losing a limb. I created this inner emotion through my garments. The fabrics symbolise the biology and the texture/wires and LED lights symbolise the technology. Eric and I wanted to explore the technology further and decided to use a device named Arduino to control the addressable LED Lights. I told Eric I wanted to create Nerves, a Heartbeat and Electricity through the lights. Eric created his own code to capture my vision.’ To read more about the innovative design and technology process check out their blog here.

We wrapped up the event with a fun Bezlo brainstorm, we love the fun design process and to hear from Bezlo Girls themselves! We had delicious goodies from our awesome sponsor Krust Bakery who are very supportive of CoderDojo and young entrepreneurship.

Thank you all for attending and supporting our event. We have already begun to plan our next event, if you would like to learn more about Code Couture make sure to sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest Bezlo news.

Love Team Bezlo x

 

 

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Fashion & Tech Meets Bezlo

Hello Bezlo… Coding to catwalk

Hello Bezlo event is here to merge Fashion and Technology in collaboration with CoderDojo and Zalando. And we are pleased to invite you!

 This event is all about demonstrating how technology can enhance beautiful fashion creations. We have held fashion tech events before but none quite like this!

Introducing coding to catwalk….

Here is what to expect:

The fun kicks off in IADT in Dun Laoghaire at 6.30pm on the 15th of February. The event will wrap up at 8.30 pm. Yes, that is a full two hours of fashion and technology!! We hope to light up your evening with an LED fashion workshop run by our talented fashion designer, followed by speakers from the Zalando team. This event is sure to empower, inspire and educate…Bezlo style.

Don’t miss out:

This event is especially designed for teenage girls who would like to know more about fashion tech.  No laptop required, but a pen and paper might be useful! We have limited spaces so be sure to sign up and receive your FREE ticket for the event here.

Bezlo mission:

Here at Hello Bezlo, our mission is always to empower young girls to engage in technology and inspire them to learn more. We love fashion and we love technology, when we discovered the magic of combining the two we began to get very creative. Endless fun ideas to explore, so come join us where you can learn, code, and create.

 

Hello Bezlo….for girls who dream BIG.

Love,

The Hello Bezlo team.

Give the gift of learning this Christmas!

This week we have put together another Wise Christmas Gift Guide of our top five learning toys we love this year. While play allows kids get to explore their creative imaginations it is also a great way in which they can learn too. Playing has huge beneficial life skills like problem solving, logic and critical thinking. This list of games and toys have been carefully selected by team Bezlo. Why not choose a gift where girls can be inspired, empowered and educated! These games are super fun to play with, you may even want to join in on the fun! Which is why we are so excited to get to share these with you.

 

Osmo is one of our top 5 gifts. Photo source: Forbes

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Design

1.Youth Digital: Elearning made fun, supportive and oh so cool! From learning Game design to Fashion design…there is a course for all passionate in technology. With a selection of engaging videos, quizzes and assignments offering online support. This great interactive way of learning program can result in a creation of a Bezlo Girls fashion brand or a 3D printing project they can be proud of. Students get to learn to code while creating something they love. Making it as one of our top presents this year.

Ages 4-8 Starting price of $249.99

Invent

2. Little Bits: If you know a little inventor why not equip them with the right tools to unleash their creative side. Little Bits is here to empower the next generation by creating toys that will give them the creative confidence to always ask why, and to test out their ideas without fear. Little Bits are easy to use building blocks which consist of modular circuits that can connect together with magnets that allow kids to create battery powered motors. Empowering anyone to create any size of inventions. It is the perfect gift for the curious, inventive Bezlo girl this year.

     For ages 8+ Starter kits at €95.00

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Learn how to create an instrument with Little Bits. Like this Keytar!! Photo source : Wired.

Build

3. Gears: Is the perfect introduction into building toys. Open a world of constructions and movement to your girls this year with this 95 piece colourful set. Which even includes inter-locking plates for limitless building. It’s bright colours and easy to assemble pieces  encourage children to create moving inventions. There is no wrong way to build with its open ended components meaning your Bezlo girl can create without fear of failure. It’s a game that will have her discover something new every time she plays.

          Starting price at €24.00 and plenty of packs to choose from.

Code

4. Make Wonder Robots: Dash and Dot are real robots that will teach your kids how to code while playing. By using their free app kids get to make dash or dot sing, dance and navigate them on adventurers around the house. With inbuilt sensors means that they can actually react to their environment and any movements. To keep your kids interests Dash and dots has hundreds of puzzles, challenges and projects as well as free adventurous play making it a year long gift.

Ages 8+ $149.99

Create

5. Osmo: These days kids and iPads are inseparable. Say goodbye to passively consuming technology and Hello Osmo. Osmos is a revolutionary and award winning game system that can change the way your child interacts with the iPad by making it hands on play. With the Osmo base you can play with your hands while the IPad reflects your hand movements onscreen. With a wide selection of games that help with problem solving, creative confidence among others it is no wonder so many schools have adopted Osmo into their curriculum. It’s a worthwhile investment that everyone of all ages will enjoy and learn from.

Ages 4+ Starter kit €89.00

We hope everyone is getting into festive spirits and are enjoying our Hello Bezlo gift guides. Time to get creative and give a gift full of learning and fun.

Love team Bezlo x

getcreative-2

Friday’s (Space!) Fashion Fix – Lindsay Aitchison

A special Space Week fashion fix, this designer makes out of this world garments – literally!

Lindsay Aitchison: Not exactly your average designer, Lindsay works with one of the most well-known organisations in the world – NASA! The clothes she designs will be worn a long way away from Earth, and she has a focus on designing spacesuits specially shaped for female astronauts. Which in our eyes means that Lindsay is officially the coolest designer on this planet! So how do you become a spacesuit designer? Lindsay isn’t actually a fashion school graduate, she studied Mechanical Engineering which kick-started her spacesuit creation dreams! Following on from several internships at NASA, she became a full-time part of the design team.

Spacesuit design in America has come a long way from the bulky suits used in the first space missions. The suit that was most used in recent times, and which instantly springs to mind when we think of what a spacesuit looks like, is the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). This suit was designed for astronauts to repair machines on the International Space Station and for anti-gravity spacewalks. The EMU suit weighs a whopping 300lbs!

emu
EMU suit – photo copyright NASA

Now however, new missions are focused on exploring planets, which means new suits! New technology and materials mean that astronauts can be more mobile than ever, and this is where Lindsay comes in! The team is currently testing NASA’s Z-2 prototype exploration spacesuit that Lindsay helped to design, which will be used for the first ever mission to Mars. The final design look was voted on by the American public in 2014, and features light up wiring on the suit that helps to identify each astronaut. Production of this spacesuit will cost over $4 million!

One of the design features that Lindsay had to think about is how astronauts will walk on different surfaces, so a lot of time is spent designing footwear. She decided on a boot similar to a hiking boot, and tested out different soles on a treadmill in suits set up with different gravity weights to feel like you were in space! Other tests that she had to do while wearing the suit was ride the “Vomit Comet”, a roller coaster-like aircraft that makes you feel the effects of microgravity, and strolling around Rockland, NASA’s onsite simulated alien land.

lindsay_aitchison_on_kc-135_with_student_microgravity_research_experiment__2005_-0-1 Lindsay Aitchison

For the first time in history, half of the astronaut candidates are women, so Lindsay knew that the suits had to be designed to fit females just as well as men. Since the final crew for Mars hasn’t been decided yet, Lindsay and her team are working on mix-and-match suits that can be easily fitted to different body types. It also means that it will be easier to replace items in space, as if an astronaut loses a glove, they can simply borrow a spare off a friend and attach it to their own suit!

Her design inspiration comes from the coolest sources! After reading about Fabrican, a new invention of spray-on fabric, she wondered if it could be adapted to repair spacesuits on the go. When she heard about singer Nicole Scherzinger, from the Pussycat Dolls, wearing a CuteCircuit dress that displayed a Twitter feed in real time, she imagined a spacesuit with a live feed of mission instructions built right into the garment!

The new NASA Z-2 spacesuit is built by private companies, and it’s the first time that engineers have used 3D human laser scans and 3D-printed hardware to develop and size a spacesuit. Even with all that modern technology, certain parts of the suit still have to be handsewn.

vacuum-suit-4
New Z-2 Spacesuit

The new Z-2 spacesuit represents exciting changes in space exploration, and shows just how vital women are in NASA! Lindsay says that if she ever leaves the NASA spacesuit design team, she would love to develop hi-tech clothing for athletes. We think that Lindsay’s amazing designs are so inspiring for Bezlo girls all over the world, and we cannot wait to see her spacesuit in action on Mars!

Friday’s Fashion Fix – Helen Storey

Helen Storey MBE: She started her career as a fashion designer with Valentino in the 80’s, upcycled rubbish into haute couture for her own brand in the 90’s, and is now leading the way for socially intelligent clothing – Helen Storey is officially a fearless fashion icon!

Friday’s Fashion Fix – Zac Posen

A celebrity light is shining on fashion tech as this famous designer collaborates with code!

Zac Posen– He’s a longtime favourite of high profile celebs such as Rihanna, Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, and Posen is often considered a fashion champion of womenswear. More recently, he has become a champion for coding too!

Friday’s Fashion Fix – Brooke Roberts

Knitwear is officially cool again…thanks to brain scans?! Meet the designer making amazing cerebral creations!
Brooke Roberts: Cardiac radiographer turned fashion tech designer, Roberts has developed a cutting edge (literally – she uses images of brain slices!) brand that is changing the face of the once humble woolen sweater

Friday’s fashion fix – Ying Gao

She brings clothes to life with interactive materials and Facebook fashion! China-born and Montreal-based, fascinating designer and product design professor Ying Gao is changing the way we interact with fashion. Her crazy cool designs have featured at over 50 exhibitions worldwide, and she has been the talk of fashion favourites such as Vogue, Dazed and TIME.

Friday’s Fashion Fix – Iris Van Herpen

Celebrities are going Gaga (Lady Gaga!) for this 3D printing Dutch designer

 

Hello Bezlo love to stay up to date with the latest happenings in technology inspired design, and with so many amazing designers bringing their A-game we could spend hours looking at their creations! From new uses of 3D printing to clever sensory fabrics, every Friday we feature one of our favourite designers…

 

Iris Van Herpen: She famously didn’t own a computer until she was 22 (!), but Iris Van Herpen’s late start to technology hasn’t stopped her from obsessing over the latest gadgets and gear. The architect inspired fashion designer has had a strong reputation since her first collection in 2007. Spoken like a true Bezlo girl, she believes that “normal rules don’t apply”, and Van Herpen stunningly combines fine handwork techniques with digital technology.

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“Capriole”, 2011, photo copyright – Bart Oomes

Her designs have been worn by Beyonce, Bjork and Lady Gaga, as well as lesser known fashion eccentrics who want to wear the future on their sleeves! She wowed at Paris Fashion Week in 2013 with her “Voltage” collection where the stand out piece was a 3D printed skirt and cape combo designed in collaboration with architect and MIT Media Lab professor Neri Oxman. The outfit was made with an unusual type of 3D printer, and is covered in thousands of tiny, scale like white nodules, being alternately soft and structural. Delicate needlework is replaced by code with these new advances in “tech-couture”, and Hello Bezlo are super excited to see coding visibly used in fashion. Van Herpen also collaborates with architects and scientists to create new structural materials and shapes, such as a 3D printed garment that hangs from the body like an exoskeleton that would put last year’s Halloween costume to shame!

3D-Printed-Neri-Oxman-Iris-van-Herpen-Anthozoa-Cape-Skirt-2

“Voltage”, 2013, Photo copyright – Ronald Stoops

Her Spring Summer 2015 collection, “Magnetic Motion”, was inspired by her visit to the Large Hadron Collider at famous Swiss scientific research facility CERN. This is where some of the most amazing experiments are carried out these days, with magnetic fields created in excess of 20,000 times greater than the Earth’s! Shoes, belts, necklaces and clutches (Van Herpen is no one-trick-one-dress pony), were shaped by manipulating metal-infused materials with magnets, so that each piece is completely unique. Her latest collection, “Seijaku”, was based on the study of cymatics, which visualises sound waves as geometric patterns. We for one would love to wear a dress printed with Beyonce’s voice – hopefully something that Van Herpen will one day design! She also experimented with Japanese organza woven from polymer threads five times thinner than human hair to create a honeycomb effect on dresses.

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“Magnetic Motions”, 2015, photo copyright – Morgan O’Donovan

Van Herpen talks enthusiastically about the possibilities of 4D and robotic printing, where you can design fabric directly onto and around the body, and says that “it’s a very organic process that mixes technology and nature”.

The future of fashion is becoming more and more combined with tech, and with bright young designers like Van Herpen leading the way, wearable technology – and sound- will soon be the norm!

Iris van Herpen

“Seijaku”, 2016, photocopyright – Kim Weston Arnold

See more of Iris Van Herpen’s designs at http://www.irisvanherpen.com/