Changing maternity fashion for good? Cornell University fashion design student Blake Uretsky has been awarded the prestigious Geoffrey Beene scholarship worth $30,000 for her collection of dresses that not only can mix-and-match their way through a woman's entire pregnancy (and beyond) but, because technology is woven into clothes, it can send vital information to the mother-to-be via her smartphone.
According to a statement released by Cornell University, "The clothing uses conductive silver fibers to sense heartrate, blood pressure, body temperature and respiration levels from an expectant mother's skin. Tucked behind a 'B' belt buckle, a device feeds the data to a smartphone, where the user can instantly check vitals, receive alerts for overexertion, inactivity, elevated stress and other dangers or email data to a doctor."
Pregnancy can cause a host of problems for women and getting access to changes before levels become dangerous can save the lives of both the mother and unborn child.
Preeclampsia for example, a condition of high blood pressure that doctors monitor pregnant women for at every visit, can escalate very quickly which can result in a premature delivery or worse yet, death. Preeclampsia accounts for "20 percent of the 13 million preterm births each year" according to the Preeclampia.org and Uretsky's wearable technology will most certainly impact that number if mother's are alerted of pressure changes well before they don't feel well. And let's be honest, it's hard to tell the difference when you are pregnant between not feeling well because, well, you're pregnant or if there is a legitimate reason.
Uretsky's motivation for focusing on maternity wear? "Wearable technology products must both be aesthetically pleasing and have meaning and value to users, and pregnancy is a time where critical monitoring is necessary," said Uretsky, a senior in the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) in Cornell's College of Human Ecology. "I also wanted to change negative views associated with maternity wear by showing that it can be stylish, professional and trendy," she stated.
We definitely wish these cool threads were around when we were pregnant and hopefully this award will make her fashion-conception a reality.