Find Out Why the Male-Dominated Tech Industry Won't Stop This Creative

Heather Lipner, tech maven, has worked in the dude-heavy industry for "at least 13 years." As the former creative director of MySpace, co-founder of Uncovet, and founder of Clashist, that oh-so-pop-culture-meme-tastic apparel line approved by James Franco, she has a few tricks up her techie sleeve. 

Drawsta is her newest venture. An augmented reality fashion concept that adds an unexpected layer to your shirt [like the above panda (panda, panda, panda #broadsinatlanta)]. Augmented reality doesn't work without a tech device. In Drawsta's case, it's an iPhone app that allows for virtual designs to appear on a t-shirt. There are currently two screen-printed graphic unisex shirts ($48) each of which comes with 3-5 animations, with a new one released weekly. 

We checked in with Heather to talk the industry's 'boys club,' how Drawsta is fighting against the need for fast and disposable fashion, and (read all the way to the end peeps) if we're becoming machines. 

Let’s chat a little about your background. How did you arrive at the intersection of fashion and tech? 

I have been in it for around six years, but prior I was doing tech/media. I worked as the Creative Director of Marketing as well as the Art Director of Product for Myspace and prior to that worked at a couple interactive design agencies for over six years. So been doing tech for at least 13 yrs.

How did the idea for Drawsta come about? 

I wanted to take fashion to a new level, literally add a dimension to it. I felt stuck in a traditional world doing my previous brand Clashist. While it was a pretty viral line and lots of people loved it - I always had to make new - which, is very costly and often environmentally wasteful. So Drawsta solves the problem of wanting something new in the moment, but in a digital manner so we don't have to literally make so many physical goods. I think it’s more fun too. :)


How does it work? 

It’s so simple - you just open up the app and point it at your tee and a layer of animated graphics pop and lock on the tee. You get the experience of wearing something new (you get new animations weekly) and you can also share yourself wearing the animated tee via social media, email, text - anything digital. (See below demo video.)

Social media made fashion shareable. Why is now the right time to take it a step further? 

We’re going start losing the screen in a year or so and digital graphics will appear on, in front of, and around physical objects. Knowing that, I wanted to do something fun that can represent the individual’s ever-changing identity via something we’re all used to - fashion and social media. 

Wearable tech is a billion dollar market, do you think we are going to see more augmented reality wearables? 

Yes - from me for sure! :) 

What is the most exciting part about being in the tech space right now? 

I’ve always been obsessed with self-expression via fashion, social media, art, design, interior, etc and I think tech lets us explore our own identities in a faster manner. I get really excited when I see people (mostly younger generation on Snapchat) freely post without caring how perfect the image is. To me, that is freedom to explore and share our momentary thoughts, feelings, everything without caring about being judged. When you give people a way to do that in an acceptable manner, we can find our true passions and feelings in a more raw, real and evolutionary manner. THAT IS AMAZING AND EXCITING TO ME. MAKES ME CRY.

What’s been your experience in the tech world as a woman?

I hate it actually. It’s so annoying - sometimes I don’t care and sometimes I have this overwhelming rebellious feeling where I just want to roll my eyes, spit, and go in the opposite direction. LOL, but I love tech and I am also not sure if it is 'man vs woman' or there’s simply a club that is mostly male. You put a bunch of VCs in a room that are literally competing to see who will make more cash and it’s douchebag central. There’s a lack of creativity, sensitivity, understanding, depth, etc. I went to school and studied Economics at the UW Madison and it was the same - a room of mostly dudes asking each other who’s got higher grades. It’s lame - but not all VCs and guys in tech are like that - just a lot of ‘em. Heh. I just try to focus on the product, customers and creating a path towards what I believe is success. And hopefully in years to come the room will even out with less ego and more diversity, compassion, and care. :) 

"I love tech and I am not sure if it is 'man vs woman' or there’s simply a club that is mostly male. "

Tweet this. 

Is wo/man becoming machine? 

Maybe we are already machines. We’re kinda at a high point right now in which we are really figuring out how to reverse engineer our DNA (coding) to manipulate our genes to live longer, to kill off diseases, to even alter our IQ. Once we can ingest nano robots to change our destiny then it will probably feel more and more like we are machines after all. 

Arianna Schioldager is Create & Cultivate's editorial director. She's also a machine, in the best way possible. 

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