Although the merger between fashion and technology is happening now, many brands are still facing the challenge of being able to take their fashion tech project from idea to production. This is a problem that fashion tech company Neue Labs hopes to solve by helping universities, fashion councils, tech companies and brands connect clothes, wearables, and accessories to the internet. Most recently, the Stockholm-based company partnered up with renowned fashion school IFA Paris. The industry collaboration promises to make IFA Paris’ 2nd year BA Fashion Design & Technology and BA Fashion Marketing students fluent in the language of fashion technology.
So far, the first phase of the project, which took place last month, involved fashion marketing students building on the strategic analysis of the Fusalp Brand. The second phase, which is taking place right now, is being led by both design and marketing students who are collaborating over a 16 week period to develop a 10-piece fashion tech capsule collection.
Creating Stylish Functional Garments Integrated With Tech
Assigned with creating garments and accessories for the urban consumer, under the theme Fusalp Futur, IFA Paris students were introduced to AUTOMAT. The hardware kit powered by Playground is Neue’s proprietary software. They have optimised it so it can integrate tech functions into fashion. On their partnership, J-Baptiste Andreani, managing director of IFA Paris shared: “Working with Neue Lab is a great opportunity for our students to explore a different working methodology. This is the first step in our effort to change IFA Paris’ overall teaching strategy and academic offer to reflect the cross-pollination between the fashion and high-tech industries.”
“It was not only remarkable how fast they learnt and adapted to our platform, but also how they quickly grasped the concept of thinking in digital functions, concepts, content and storytelling”.
Turning the traditional fashion studio into a maker space, the workshop has been instructing the students on how to use the flows on the intuitive Neue Playground Mobile App so they can build QR Code reading functions, NFC sensors and electroluminescent light controls. On using Neue’s technology Andreani said, “Integrating a tech element within fashion collections requires the identification of a precise issue to solve and develop appropriate concepts through iterations.” Kim Gustafsson, Business Strategist of Neue added: “It was not only remarkable how fast they learnt and adapted to our platform, but also how they quickly grasped the concept of thinking in digital functions, concepts, content and storytelling”.
Besides introducing IFA Paris students to technology, Neue has also been sharing new business models that could help shape the future of fashion consumption and production, towards sustainability. “The new business models boil down to three pillars: Transparency (production, raw material, fair trade, counterfeit, history), ownership models (redesign, re-use, rental, subscription, sharing, swapping), and user experience (design, personal wardrobe management, interactive shopping and gamification, entertainment, interaction with homes, cities, cars). Sustainability is, of course, present in all three,” explained Gustafsson.
Miniaturised Electronics for the Fashion Industry
Neue has been educating the fashion industry and driving the market forward for a while now, so this is not the first time that they have worked with a fashion school. Back in April 2018, they partnered up with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. The three-month-long workshop encouraged FIT Bachelor and Master students to explore the integration of technology into garments using NEUE’s A2 fashion technology.
Neue’s endeavours have been supported by the Swedish Fashion Council. So far they have worked with them on projects like the FIT collaboration, and most recently the Neue x IFA Paris project. “We have a great tech culture in Sweden. Combined with the legacy in fashion, that makes Sweden really strong when it comes to fashion, tech and innovation. That is why we are asked to set up projects all over the world”, said Fredrik Timour, Swedish Fashion Council’s Innovation Manager.
As Neue continues to invest in the importance of bringing wearable technology to the forefront through cross-industry collaborations, IFA Paris students can look forward to gaining insight, knowledge and inspiration which will help them understand how fields, such as, hardware, firmware, sensor tech, soldering, different connectors, networks, smart fabrics and AI all connect.
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.