When it comes to the conversation of the merger of fashion conversation, we need to acknowledge that it has become a global one. This is because fashion and retail innovation has been taking place in countries like Belgium, Slovenia and even as far as Zimbabwe. This week, FashionTech Works Antwerp, an international program hosted by Flanders DC with the support of Creative Europe, is presenting 24 selected fashion technology startups from 11 different countries.
Quoting Dean Kamen, an inventor, an entrepreneur, and a tireless advocate for science and technology, “Every once in a while a new technology, an old problem and a big idea turn into an innovation”, Fashion Tech Works looks at why fashion technology works. Acknowledging that technology is breaking down the doors for various industries, the organisers believe that innovation is seldom a one-person effort and that it makes sense to “challenge, connect and create”.
Inspiring a fashion tech community that goes beyond Antwerp, Fashion Tech Work’s two-day event introduced us to compelling cases, here are seven that stood out for us.
The Smart Dress [SLOVENIA]
Hoping to extend the boundaries of reality in the fashion industry, the smARt dress app allows users to browse for different outfits on their phone. “With AR Smart Dress (smARt dress) solution, we are introducing new ways of interaction between fashion designers, fashion retailers and customers while using the newest technologies,” states their website.
Taking advantage of the technology the Smart Dress app has the potential to open up new opportunities for fashion designers who would like to share their outfits in AR by offering a virtual try on. The app also allows users to interact with designers and brands directly. “Users are more eager to test and experience different things that out concept offers”, explained Sladana Mladenovic during her 3-minute pitch.
Phygital Africa Lab [ ZIMABABWE]
Media and technology startup Phygital is a Harare based company behind Swaggify- an off motion video augmented reality shopping platform. It is an ecosystem that allows fashion and music stakeholders to turn the music video entertainment into viral fashion shopping experiences.
Through the power of the web, mobile, computer vision and the AR cloud, the Swaggify platform has been built boost revenue for fashion designers/retailers and music artists, while allowing consumers to take advantage of personal physical experience with their favourite artists.
We have written about technology that can correct your posture before, so it is not new, but the challenge has always been how to a mainstream. Well, maybe Correctly’s affordable t-shirt might be the brand that appeals to the everyday consumer.
Developed, with the help of doctors, Natalija Jermolajeva presented a posture correcting t-shirt that reminds the wearer to straighten their back by gently pulling their shoulders back. It is a project that aims to provide the wearer with a product that encourages them to straighten up correctly in a non-intrusive manner.
Olga Noronha [ PORTUGAL]
A graduate of Jewellery Design by the same college, Olga Noronha work floats between distinct areas, characterised by contrasts and dichotomies that aim to combine scientific pragmatism and conceptualism of art.
A lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and Whintrop University (USA) and ESAD (Pt), most of Olga’s pieces relate to the robustness of the mechanical and technological while conveying something more than a simple idea of accessory.
Flora Miranda [BELGIUM]
Antwerp designer Flora Miranda has made a name for herself with collections created using technology. With shaping the future of fashion and clothing production at the centre of most of her products, Flora’s approach examines future possibilities of fashion, and one those is the building of a fashion brain.
Presenting her idea in a 3-minute pitch, Flora delivered a new aesthetic that challenges the obsolete notion of high couture while exploring techniques that are detached from traditional design. “Building a fashion brain is a complex undertaking, but we aim to create a commercial spin-off that companies can use as a tool,” explained the designer during her pitch.
Marina Toeters is someone who has been designing, developing and researching in the fashion tech space for a decade. Educated as a graphic and fashion designer, Marina finished her Master of Art cum laude at MaHKU Utrecht before gaining a reputation as one of the talents successfully bridging the gap between fashion and technology.
Presenting her 3-minute pitch, Marina explained how By-Wire expands innovative fashion by sharing knowledge and developing innovative prototypes. Following her pitch, and over a coffee, during the break, Marina told me about FashionTech Farm, a studio, incubator and production facility for innovative fashion in Eindhoven. One of her well-known projects was Closed Loop Smart Athleisure Fashion. It combined printed sensor technology with circular production methods and a sustainable business model.
Hoping to power up new creative economies, LUKSO is an Ethereum sister network dedicated to mainstream applications. A blockchain for modern creative economies it has been built to power the next generation of phygital assets and digital life.
Starting her 3-minute pitch with “It’s hardcore tech, it’s not sexy”, Marjorie explained to a curious audience about how LUKSO is a public, programmable, domain-specific blockchain based on the most advanced smart contract protocol. She continued by adding how it was a technology that is capable of powering unique identities, creating digital experiences and building tokenised communities.
Our exploration of the fashion tech space in Antwerp continues, you can catch up on coverage here.