Why This Crafty Teen Literally “Glowed” at Her Prom
For most high school students, preparing for prom can be tricky business, especially when it comes to deciding on what to wear. Just the same, a few smart teens are finding ways to take the anxiety out of choosing a prom dress—by simply making their own!
In the past, we’ve featured a couple of stellar examples of young designers, but today’s is particularly special.
Meet Maryland’s Claire Smith, now a college freshman, who found a way to merge two of her favorite hobbies—tech and fashion—to construct a prom dress that literally lights up the whole room!
Claire says that her inspiration for her illuminated dress came from another Claire, actress and fashion icon, Claire Danes. In 2016, the celebrity donned an incredibly gorgeous dress designed by Zac Posen for the Met Gala. The tailoring and color were seamless, but what really got people talking was the fact that the gown lit up.
When OUR Claire got a load of this game-changing frock, she knew she wanted to stroll into her prom rocking something similar.
“I thought [Claire Dane’s] dress was magical and after learning the tech-side… I realized I could do something amazing as her dress,” the student remembers.
With the technical knowledge firmly on her side, the crafty teenager got to work on her very own Cinderella gown.
Claire opted for a material called conductive thread, a stainless steel wire that is just thin enough so that it doesn’t disturb the fabric’s aesthetic. She then stitched in her LEDs and connected them using the special thread. How cool is that?!
All in all, the dress took her about two weeks to complete, technical research included. She purchased an off-the-rack dress and sewed a code-enabled device under one of the layers of fabric in order to communicate the lighting cues. The end result is absolutely fascinating—we just love how the skirt changes colors!
From aspiring engineer to couture designer
Over the years, the 18-year-old has focused her efforts on establishing herself as a budding engineer. She has built robots and even hacked complex computer codes, but she is getting the most attention for her accidental venture into the fashion world.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Claire hits on a very important point—her stylish project could have the power to do some good in the world. “The dress incorporated fashion, which girls love, with tech, which I love,” she says. “So any girls reading the story got the same message that liking tech and liking fashion can be the same thing.”
This month, the World Maker Faire invited Claire to exhibit her revolutionary example of wearable technology—quite the accomplishment for someone who just started community college. You go, girl!
To hear all about how this teen made what is quite possibly the most memorable prom dress ever, be sure to watch the video below. It’s safe to say that she didn’t end up matching with ANY other girl at that dance!
We can’t wait to hear what you have to say about this dazzling DIY gown. Have you ever made something similar? If so, how did you do it? How did you make a splash at your prom?