Sandy Hsieh is a designer and patternmaker based in New York City. Her professional projects have been featured on VOGUE RUNWAY and graced the catwalks of New York Fashion Week. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Interactive Telecommunications at New York University to explore the collaboration of design, new media, and wearable technologies.
As a selected designer in our LOOMIA Creator Lab, she will work alongside our product team and engineers to design a customization for one of our core products, the LOOMIA Electronic Layer (LEL).
Q&A with Sandy
What drew you to LOOMIA?
While researching the wearable technology industry, a good friend suggested I look into LOOMIA founder Madison Maxey’s portfolio and instructables. I was inspired by her creativity and innovations in soft circuitry so I decided to reach out for opportunities to collaborate.
What’s your background?
I have a design background from the University of California, Davis and worked in product development and patternmaking in the New York fashion industry before deciding to pursue my Master’s degree in Interactive Telecommunications at NYU to study the potential of wearable technology.
What are some of your interests?
In general, I love to cook, read, listen to podcasts, and watch sports and cartoons. Currently, I’m hooked on scanning materials science papers for interesting research and coming up with DIY alternatives to reproduce experiments and manipulate their outcomes for unconventional applications.
How does your background affect your approach to wearables?
My training and work experience in pattern-making makes me obsess over integration methods and finishing details. My process involves a lot of research, planning, and multiple stages of rapid prototyping in order to achieve the most optimal results. It’s important to me that my work functions as it’s intended to and looks pristine inside and out.
What are some particular areas in this field you want to explore?
I want to examine human biology, behaviors, and gestures and analyze how certain properties and nuances can be manifested into delightful abstractions, visualizations, interactions, and/or useful applications.
What are your design inspirations?
Whether they’re written, spoken, hidden, translated or transformed by context, words are, in my opinion, the most powerful medium. I’m often inspired by words and well-crafted sentences.
For example, reading this opening line from Amos Barshad’s New York Times Magazine review of Brooklyn bar, Doris, made me pause this morning:
“On a particularly unsexy stretch of Fulton Street — a block bookended by a screechy A/C station and a church marquee screaming ‘‘Jesus Christ Is The Lord’’ — sits Doris, a bar that, for one reason or another, has become one of the city’s most famed first-date bars…”
I’d never seen the word “bookended” used in this context before, but now I imagine all the buildings in New York as books. It’s impressive that a string of words is capable of evoking such colorful imagery, humor, and a sense of familiarity so unique to the city. I like to exercise my imagination this way.
At LOOMIA, our mission is to deliver comfort, safety, and confidence to the human experience by adding intelligence to everyday objects. One of our core products is the LOOMIA Electronic Layer (LEL), a smart textile layer that can be integrated into soft goods to perform heating, lighting and sensing functionalities.
With the LOOMIA Creator Lab, we’ve invited designers, engineers and the LOOMIA Product team to design a LEL customization for a brand that starts with user experience and functionality in mind.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be documenting Sandy’s design progress — follow along!