On my first night in Paris, I found myself at the Look Forward Fashion Tech soirée. For me, it was a reunion of sorts. I recognised faces of people I admired. I sipped champagne with old friends. I got drunk on the intoxicating chatter around me. It was exciting because the fashion tech scene was truly alive and well in Paris.
The Fashion Tech Exhibition- Hybridisation Between New Technologies & Design
The exhibition brought together 25 various well known fashion tech designers under one roof. Giving attendees pause for thought, the exhibition, open to the public, was curated under 4 themes, Conscious, Expressive, Evolutionary and Smart Shopping. Three of the themes are concerned with fashion design and the fourth is a theme devoted to retail tech. Overall, the exhibition reflects on the impact of technology on clothing and accessories.
Speaking to us in a language that we are all becoming fluent in, the pieces were displayed like works of art. Unique and inspiring, it was all about showing attendees the direction that fashion tech is taking and how it is going beyond our own identity. Whoever imagined that there will come a time when our clothes would offer high tech protective functions that take care of the wearer?
“Whoever imagined that there will come a time when our clothes would offer high tech protective functions that take care of the wearer?”
No wonder, fusing fashion and technology is no easy feat. One has to have imagination and determination to create something that the fashion industry might not quite be ready for. I enjoyed how the exhibition brought to the forefront these ideas, so the curious could experience garments that can both engage with the environment and the wearer.
On display, the pieces ranged from tackling the challenges of tomorrow, Project KOVR Anti-surveillance coat, to those showing us the potential of technology, Pauline van Dongen‘s Solar Dress. Other pieces included Herself Dress by Brits Helen Storey and Tony Ryan. It is a garment that can be used as a catalytic surface that can purify the surrounding air. Then there was the Caress Gaze cape by Benhaz Farahi of Iran. It is an interactive piece created entirely in 3D and capable of reacting to someone’s gaze. The most interesting one for me was a tee by Ninela Ivanova from the UK. By exploring the creation of living material through biotechnology, she has created T-shirts from cultivated mold as a way to bring to our attention the potential that nature could offer when it comes to new materials.
The Party- Redefining The Callings of Fashion by Starting A Dialogue
After leaving the Fashion Tech exhibition, I went upstairs and attended the party. Mingling with the movers and shakers of the Parisian fashion tech scene, it was great to be able to discuss how new technologies of today versus yesterday are going to change the fashion industry. Not everyone was of the same opinion, which I loved. Open and honest, some of the discussions presented the kind of ideas that I had not even explored yet.
“This interaction taking place is already giving birth to encounters and innovations that redefine the callings of fashion, clothing and retail”
As I moved from person to person, the chatter changed from discussing clothing being seen as a second skin and an extension of our body, to how the merger of fashion and technology has ignited enormous potential within the health and sports sectors. I was in my element and loving every moment, and then the clock struck 9′ O clock and it was time for me to bow out.
As I walked along Rue Reaumur, I reflected on the conversations I had. Many of the people I spoke to had given me food for thought. I found myself rethinking the relationship I have with my clothes. I felt like there is going to come a time when the garments I wear, will not only change the construction of the fashion industry, but that my beloved cashmere jumper will also demand respect from its wearer. Why? Well, because it will be designed to go above and beyond just keeping us warm, it could become a cashmere jumper that keeps me healthy and in tune with my well being.
FashNerd.com founding editor-in-chief Muchaneta Kapfunde will be giving a keynote on Manufacturing Fashion Tech. If you would like to attend, pop down to La Gaite Lyrique on Saturday 1st July 2017 at 2.30pm, it’s FREE.