About Me

Fashion Designer, Researcher, Assistant Professor, Fashion Enthusiast

Hello! I am Galina Mihaleva.

I was born and raised in Bulgaria and earned a masters degree in fashion design and textiles from the Academie of Fine Arts in Sofia. In 1992, I went to the United Sates to study and later received the grand prize in the International Furnishings and Design Association competition. Since 1999, I have been working at Arizona State University (ASU) responsible for designing costumes for several choreographers, which includes Jo Kreiter, Yin Mei, Bill T. Jones, Thadius Davis, Tere O’Connor, Ron Brown, Fred Darsow and all faculty choreographers.

Other than designing, I have taught subjects on art and textiles at ASU for about 14 years. I often think of myself as an interdisciplinary artist using fabric, form, function and interaction. My expertise lies in the seamless integration of electronics in clothing through fashion design methodologies. I have an intimate understanding of the implications of adding electronics to clothing. Because clothing designed with electronics must actually be worn by a person, solutions must satisfy the physical needs of the body as well as the social needs of the wearer. I create solutions that preserve the integrity of a garment while still allowing the technology to function optimally. The focus of my research interest is mainly on the design aspect of smart clothing as interactive interfaces, and to define new forms of social interaction through enhanced abilities for self-expression, self-actualization and self-determination.

Currently working on my PhD in Wearable Technology, I have been a visiting Assistant Professor for the past two years at NTU School of Art, Design & Media (ADM). This blog helps to facilitate my research in creating the synergy between traditional fashion principles and wearable technology. I would like to work collaboratively with all researchers engaged in activities in this exciting and emerging field and also to propose the formation of Soft Technology Laboratory, that will leverage and focus the research excellence, scientific and design leadership that ADM currently posses toward a unique collaboration.

An important role of fashion designers in the 21st century is to use smart textiles to create garments and accessories that are functional as well as aesthetic. Smart textiles are defined as fabrics that enable computing, digital components, and electronics to be embedded in them. Smart textiles gather and interpret information from the wearer and the external environment. Increasingly, fashion designers are focusing their smart textile work in functional aesthetics. According to Sabine Seymour, author of the book, Functional Aesthetics: Visions in Fashionable Technology, functional aesthetics describes the concept of merging a fashionable technology object deemed aesthetically pleasant with technically enhanced functionalities.’ She continues, “a synergy between the fields of fashion, design, science, and technology will create a future already envisioned in movies and science fiction stories, one that is rapidly becoming reality” (2010, p.10).

Galina Mihaleva. (2012). Creative Applications of Smart Technologies for Wellness, Fashion Design, and Dance. The Textile Institute Conference Sha Alahm, Malaysia.

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