My name is Madison Maxey...

... and I create with code using smart fabric

Madison (Maddy) Maxey started learning about tech when she was in high school but got much more into creative code when she was 19. The first thing she made a computer do was generate a website with HTML. She has since made leaps and bounds in the fashion tech world. She founded The Crated in 2013, which started as a small studio with big ideas, and has grown into an innovative space in smart apparel!

Maddy: The Crated is a company focused on making it easier to merge electronics and fabric. We’re excited to be working on enabling technologies to make it easier to manufacture smart apparel products. This space of smart apparel and wearables doesn’t have a lot of design rules and regulation in place yet. It’s still the wild west in many ways!

So, what is smart apparel?

Maddy: I write code for controlling smart garments, meaning code controls the piece of clothing to read information from the wearer.

I also write code for computational design! Making patterns using code is quicker than drawing thousands of individual lines in a computer using a software program. With code, I can make hundreds of variations quickly and make super accurate geometries! Here’s how:

I write code to generate this:

Which is used on a garment like this:

For a collection like this:

What’s been the most exciting problem you’ve taken on, and who’s helped you?

Maddy: I worked heavily with materials while doing an artist residency at Autodesk. I built a CNC machine (using a computer to control and operate a machine tool) and creative formulas for making things like conductive “leather.” It was exciting to dive into materials and machinery!

The creative coding community is a huge inspiration to me. I love watching videos from people like Dan Shiffman, and I find work from folks like Francis Bitonti to be incredibly inspiring. I’m also so inspired by Autodesk's Pier 9 and companies like Plethora and Othermill. The CEOs at each of those companies have been so kind and helpful to me. They inspire me to go over hard problems in the physical world.

What would you tell the innovators of tomorrow?

Maddy: Creating the future begins today, so tinker and experiment as much as you can in the fields that inspire you.

As a student, you are at a magnificent time in your life where you can design who you want to be. Take some time to figure out who you are and (as Dolly Parton would say) do it on purpose.

I’m always inspired by this quote:

“Don't assume that what we currently think is out there is the full story. Go after the dark matter in whatever field you choose to explore. There are unknowns all around us and they're just waiting to be discovered.” - Nathan Wolfe

Print a poster of Maddy for your classroom

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