5 Reasons to go to a Hackathon

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Last weekend I flew to Zurich to attend my second “Hack Zurich”, the biggest hackathon in Europe. Overall that was the fifth time I went to a hackathon and while I got on the plane I found myself thinking, “Why do people go to hackathons? What is it that makes people want to spend their whole weekend working on a project they’ve just come up with?” So during the weekend I tried to find out several reasons to got to a hackathon. Read those reasons here!

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Hacking for female refugees

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About a year ago I attended my first hackathon and I have been to a couple more since. I always enjoy going to hackathons and find them inspiring. Recently I went to a really special hackathon which I found worth writing about again. Click here to read the whole post.

 

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Viktor & Rolf

Dutchdoubles
Being a Dutchie I might be a bit biased when saying that Viktor & Rolf are fantastic designers, but they really just are. Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren both studied Fashion Design at ArtEZ in Arnhem, after which they went to Paris and set up their own fashion house in 1993. Since then they have created numerous spectacular collections.

I think my favourite show is still their Spring 2010 show, in which the designer duo used a lot of tulle and literally cut holes in some of the ball gowns inspired by the fact that the credit crunch made everyone cut back at the time. And what I especially liked, is how they let variations on these designs return in their collaboration with the Dutch National Ballet for the show Dutch Doubles in spring earlier this year.

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Dutch Doubles was not the first time that Viktor & Rolf worked together with the Dutch National Ballet. For their Spring 2014 couture show, at the end of which they launched their new perfume ‘bonbon’, they used dancers of the Dutch company as models for their collection.

I feel like V&R never cease to surprise their audience, which they definitely did with their latest Fall 2014 collection for which they made dresses not necessarily for (the), but from red carpet. All pieces were made of red fabric which the designers folded, knotted and tied into fabulous dresses. Some decorated with voluminous bows, others with hand crafted animal print.

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Avatars coming to fashion land

Photo: style.com, Chanel Fall 2014 Couture

Photo: style.com, Chanel Fall 2014 Couture

Today, both Techcrunch and the Dutch Vogue announced that it’s likely that avatars are coming to the world of fashion. The first introduced Fitle, a tool that functions as a virtual fitting room that allows you to try clothes on a customized 3D avatar of yourself. By taking pictures of yourself from different angles and filling in your height and length into Fitle, the tool can create an avatar that looks exactly like you. This avatar will try on clothes for you when you’re shopping online and in that way you can see whether they actually fit you or not. Check out the video to get an idea of what it would be like to use Fitle.

While this type of avatar makes me really excited about future online shopping experiences, the avatar that Vogue was talking about makes me question how much we should let technology into fashion. The magazine announced that it could be possible that in the future models will be replaced by holographic models. Researchers from the Manchester Metropolitan University experimented with creating avatars for ballet dancers in order to provide them with better coaching, and would like to extrapolate their research to other fields, such as fashion. (You can read the article they published here).  If they would introduce the avatars just for the sake of training models that would be great, but I would prefer to see designers’ creations on humans.

What is your opinion on introducing avatars into fashion, will it be for the worse or the better?

Website update

websiteupdateYou might have thought that my website was finished the moment I launched it, but it wasn’t. In fact, I make improvements to it all the time. Most of those improvements are barely noticeable but today I added two major features to my site: caching and comments.

Caching is something that will help make my website load a lot faster. I’ll explain how. All of the data on my website is stored in a database, and every time you want to load my page your computer will make a request to my database and say “show me all the content of http://www.mereltheisen.com “. And then my database will answer this request by sending all the data and then my website will load on your screen. But all of these requests to the database take quite a lot of time. So this is where the cache comes in. The cache stores data that your computer has requested from the database before, so your computer doesn’t have to ‘talk’ to the database again. So for example, suppose you loaded my homepage 5 minutes ago, and now want to load it again. Before, both these loads would require your computer to talk to my database, which takes a lot of time. But now, because I implemented caching, your computer only has to talk to my database the first time it wants to load the homepage. The second time, the cache will have remembered the homepage data and send it to your computer a lot faster. You will probably not really notice this change, because my website is not that big (yet) but your computer will definitely notice the difference. If you want to know more about how to implement caching you should check out Udacity’s Web Development course.

The second feature, comments, is probably more interesting for you. Because now you can’t only read my blog posts, but also comment on them! I didn’t develop this tool myself, but decided to use Disqus. Disqus is very easy to implement on any website and allows visitors to leave comments by logging in on Facebook, Twitter, Google or Disqus. I hope you’ll enjoy these new features!

The next improvement for my website will be adding pagination. I’ll keep you up to date about how I’m going to implement that feature 🙂