As a biomedia designer and fashion technologist, Amanda Parkes stands at the intersection of new media, textiles and fashion. After completing her BA in Art History and BS in Mechanical Engineering (Product Design) at Stanford, Parkes dedicated her career to discovering new ways that digital technology and "smart materials" affect everyday lives. Her Twitter handle previously described her as “one part algae, one part fashion, a dash of robots and a smattering of installation art.”
Before directing her skills towards fashion, she developed education science exhibits for notable museums such as the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Science Museum in London. She was also the co-curator of Regeneration, an exhibition that opened in October 2012 at the New York Hall of Science, featuring contemporary interactive art on themes of art, science and cultural sustainability.
As founder of Skinteractive Studios in Brooklyn, New York, Parkes researches and develops new high-tech textiles projects for fashion applications. She also founded Bodega Algae, a company developing high-energy algal biomass for use in the production of biofuel, which was awarded an NSF Small Business Innovation Research Award, and was the CTO of Manufacture NY, a Brooklyn-based fashion-tech incubator and factory for local emerging brands and designers.
Parkes earned her PhD in tangible media from the MIT Media Lab and has been a visiting scientist at the esteemed American research university. She is currently a professor at Columbia University's Department of Architecture.
In May 2017, it was announced Parkes would be stepping into the role of chief innovation officer at Fashion Tech Lab, Miroslava Duma 's new hybrid venture that is part investment fund, accelerator and laboratory.
“FTL Ventures will fill a void in the current landscape of fashion technology funding and product development. Our focus will be on enabling technologies for the future of fashion," Parkes told BoF.
Her work has been awarded international design and art prizes, including the International Design (I.D.) Magazine Annual Design Review and the Prix Ars Electronica. Parkes was named one of Mass High Tech's 'Women to Watch' in technology for 2008. Parkes is also an international speaker and lecturer, working with the likes of TED, the NY Times International Luxury Conference and Allewatch.