Aspiring Teen Engineer Recreates Claire Danes's LED Met Gala Dress For Her Prom

The night was lit.

When it came time for 17-year-old Claire Smith to figure out what to wear to prom, the aspiring engineer decided to combine her loves of fashion and coding by recreating the light-up dress Claire Danes wore to the 2016 Met Gala.


Despite there being a number of dazzling looks at the 2016 Met Gala, Danes's Zac Posen frock was a standout thanks to the way LED lights made it "sparkle."

So, Smith set herself the challenge of recreating the dress. She started coding two years ago at Girls Who Code summer immersion program in Maryland, and had worked on other projects by herself, so the dress was an opportunity to show off her skills at her senior prom.

For the base of the garment, Smith used a dress she received for free, courtesy of Cinderella's Closet, an organization that helps make formal wear more accessible for high school students. 

For the coding component, she used a wearable electronics platform called Adafruit Flora, combined with compatible LEDs and conductive thread.

Despite the coding involved, it only took Smith a few days to make the dress.

The finished dress even had a battery pack in the back, which enabled her to turn it off and on.

Smith posted on the Ladies Storm Hackathon group Facebook page how proud she was to have completed the project. "This is why I am so lucky to be a part of this special group! Thanks to all of your help, I have completed my Senior prom dress! YAY!," she wrote.

The success of the dress is already inspiring other projects. Mashable reported that Smith plans to start a group to teach other girls how to use 3D printers. Furthermore, she is continuing to encourage girls to get into coding, "If you're thinking of going into computer science, don't back out because the guys are intimidating, just keep going," she said. "It's an amazing journey to go through."

(H/T: Teen Vogue)

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