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Madison Maxey
Madison Maxey

Interview with Madison Maxey

E-textiles are limited by cost and ability to scale

Loomia designs and manufactures soft circuit systems that can be produced at scale. The company's technology can add functionality to textiles in automotive, consumer apparel and industrial environments. Loomia works with a range of companies who produce soft good products including automotive, wearables, personal protective equipment and more. Founder Madison Maxey discusses with Hiral Oza the applications of soft circuit systems and the growing prospects for flexible circuits.

TT: From a master seamstress to a fashion-tech company founder. How did that happen? How and why did you start Loomia?

I've always been interested in how things are made and got interested in coding and hardware when trying to make a website. I followed a programming bootcamp with residencies and internships that were tech and research-related; so, I decided to combine what I knew about textiles with what I learned about tech.

TT: Who are the major investors in Loomia? What was the initial seed capital you began with?

WeWork is an investor from the WeWork creator awards. I started research for the product with funds from consulting in the early days of the company.

TT: What was the first Loomia Electronic Layer (LEL) like? Has it evolved since its inception?

The LEL has changed a lot. It started as a stretchy circuit with conductive ink and morphed into the scalable product we have now.

TT: What is the material composition of LEL? How many washes and what kind of wear and tear can it withstand?

We can't disclose what's in the LEL, but the interconnect and magnetic connector can ensure 50 washes and dries, and the core soft layer really depends on your function. If it's data and power, it can endure a lot more than heating, for example.

What is the material composition of LEL? How many washes and what kind of wear and tear can it withstand?
TT: What are the current applications of LEL? Where do you see the prospects growing?

We're getting a lot of inquiries from automotive, consumer electronics, and personal protective equipment (PPE). We're very excited about the auto and PPE opportunities.

TT: What are the factors preventing tech-enabled fashion from becoming mainstream?

I think tech-enabled fashion is one thing, but e-textiles are another, and e-textiles are limited by cost and ability to scale. I think the way this industry grows is actually not in fashion, but in PPE, consumer products and functionalwear. We see ourselves as a soft circuit company and not really a fashion company. So, we target industries who have a need for a soft, flexible circuit.

TT: How can consumers use tech-enabled clothing to their advantage?

Heating is one of the most obvious use cases. Who doesn't want to be a little warmer in winter?

TT: What challenges do you face as a fashiontech start-up?

We're not really a fashion-tech start-up, but more of a soft circuit company. So, we think we face many of the typical start-up challenges of building partnerships, hiring and getting funding.

TT: What is next at Loomia?

Our H1 heated jacket will soon hit the market.

Published on: 16/05/2019

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of technicaltextile.net.


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