STEM: Heather Lipner

This article is part of our Create & Cultivate 100 List created in collaboration with KEDS, you can view the full STEM List Here.

Taking on fast fashion with AR. 

Heather is wearing Keds' Champion Originals.

Heather Lipner, tech maven, has worked in the dude-heavy tech 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, the entrepreneur has a few tricks up her techie sleeve. 

Drawsta is her latest newest venture. An augmented reality fashion concept that adds an unexpected layer to wearables. “I created because I love creating products that are allow the customer to really express themselves,” says Heather. With Drawsta, customers can write their own animated text and emojis on t-shirts and share the augmented reality digital experience via social media and/or show how it works in person. It’s also a backlash against the greed of fast fashion. Why change your shirt when you can change the image on said shirt? 

It was during the course of running e-commerce brand Clashist that Heather witnessed “how fast people got sick of fashion trends.” Instead of succumbing to the masses and embracing the world of fast, she instead opted to “let people digitally wear, create, and swipe through different graphics.” 

While Heather loves being able to create new graphics for people to wear, she admits that new takes some adjustment. “Experiencing fashion via augmented reality is new and with anything new it takes a bit longer to pick up then let's say a smiley face on a tee.”

"With anything new it takes a bit longer to pick up then a smiley face on a tee.”

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It’s also the first business she launched without funding. “Doing it all myself is mentally challenging,” she explains, but says her boyfriend, Drawsta’s customers who are “highly influential on what gets designed and built out,” and her “incredibly supportive friends and family," keep her motivated. 

Heather shares that she’s not “into all of the girl boss and girl gang stuff - I think it keeps gender segregated rather than ensuring that men and women are both sitting at the table. We should all be networking together and making sure men see us as women not girls, not in a girl gang, but as equals who want the same things.” 

“We should all be making sure men see us as women not girls.”

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Over her decade plus in tech Heather has accumulated her fair share of lessons. Practically speaking she likes to get the stuff she hates (paying bills and going to the gym) out of the way first thing in the am. She also shares that she doesn't make five year goals. "I let opportunities arise and choose to do or not to do them, instead of getting stuck into a long term plan." But what the future personally holds for the inventor is clear: "Answer honestly, support authentically, share resources and share other women's work." 

We'd put that on a t-shirt. 100. 

Styling provided by Reservoir LA. Hair and makeup provided by Glamsquad. Photography courtesy of Light Lab and Woodnote Photography.