Sweden’s innovation agency calls for new fashion tech applications

They have done it a couple of times before, but now it’s time again for Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova to call for new applications within the field of Fashion tech. This time they are looking for new services concerning production, consumption and use of fashion. Specifically that means projects that wants to transform organizations and institutions within fashion, working with tech to develop the digitalization of fashion in an innovative way. Last application date is Augusti 29th. Read more here.

Radical fashtech move from Swedish Atacac

Gothenburg based fashion studio Atacac, have plans for the future of fashion. The Rickard Lindqvist and Jimmy Herdberg founded studio/lab, wants to change the way clothes are designed, sold and produced, in their very own way. They make very realistic 3D models of each garment that are then presented in their store. The aim is to sell them before they are produced, that way avoiding overproducing, a problem that the fashion industry is struggling to solve at the moment.
As part of that development, the group announced something quite radical when speaking at Stockholm Fashion Tech Talks last Wednesday: From now on, all their garment templates are free, which means you can download the 2D cutting patterns and the 3D visualization from their store. The idea is to encourage developments of their designs. Quite an exciting move, I have to say.

Fashion tech stars enter Stockholm

On my way to a full day of Fashion Tech at Fotografiska in the Swedish capital, arranged by Patriksson Communication and Association of Swedish Fashion Brands among others. So looking forward to speeches by, among others, Niall Murphy from Evrythng, Matt Drinkwater from London College of Fashion and Amanda Parkes from Fashion Tech Lab. Stay tuned for more reports!

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Amazon brings the selfie to a new AI level

Oh yes, it looks like our selfies are about to get to much better in the near future. Amazon is now adding a voice controlled, standalone selfie camera to its AI assistant Alexa. Echo Look has a lot of the same features as the last one, but with four LED lights, a depth-sensing system that blurs the background, and the possibility to take videos to get the best view of your outfit from every angle. With the function ”Style check” it uses machine learning to compare outfits and give style tips. The more you use it, the smarter it gets. The camera is not yet available to the public, but when it does it will sell for about 200 dollars, according to Fashion and Mash. Wanna see for yourself how it works? Take a look at this promo video.

The challenges of fashion going digital

So looking forward to today’s network meeting about the digitalization of fashion, arranged by Swedish Fashion Council and Stockholm University among others. How to match the ever moving and competitive fashion industry with the long-sightedness and perseverance that the digitalization requires? Well, that sure is a great challenge, especially when it comes to creating new business models. There’s also a great need for innovation and new ways of thinking not only when it comes to business models, but the whole way the fashion industry is organized in everything from creation and production to cross-industry cooperations. Among the speakers today are Michael Andersson och Julia Krantz from Volumental, Rickard Lindqvist from Atacac and Jonas Larsson from The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås.

Photo cred: Ivyrevel’ s Data Dress, a great example of the change fashion currently is going through.

 

Luxury first and tech second at fashion hack in Paris

A self heating jacket enabled with metallic threads coated in solar cells, a cotton shirt that repels oil, wine and coffee thanks to nano-encapsulated technology and a headband designed to induce lucid dreams. Those are just a few of the objects at ”Fashion Hack”, an exhibition that opened yesterday, at concept store Colette in Paris. For one week the 10 prototypes embedded with various types of new technologies, and created by fashion designers, will be on display in the store. Much like the ”Fashion Hackathon” held in Stockholm last spring, the aim is to merge tech and fashion in a meaningful way. But perhaps with more focus on luxury and couture.
The curator of the event is Carole Sabas, a correspondent for French Vogue and author of The Fashion Guides series.
– In opposition to the ‘wearables’ category, these fashion accessories are first and foremost luxury goods, crafted as couture objects. Their invisible perks are limited to a few features: a surprising comfort (re-engineered soles) or stunning experience (self-heating sheer fabric, enhanced listening…) No biometrics will be measured, no apps will be downloaded. Seamlessly merged with fashion, the tech factor is an inconspicuous bonus. A secret layer of convenience, second to fashion, she says to Fashion and Mash.
Like me, Sabas is frustrated about the lack of innovation in the fashion tech field at for instance this years CES.
– I couldn’t believe that I was seeing the same umbrellas that buzz you if it’s going to rain, rings that blink when you receive texts and belt that text you if you’re on the verge of eating too much, she said.
– The idea is to suggest to tech start-ups to collaborate with fashion designers if their intention is to target luxury stores alongside electronic retailing. It also invites fashion houses to reach out to tech people, in order to get ready for things like the wireless charging bags, smart eyeglasses, high heels 2:0, connected jackets and jewellery and other ‘hearables’ coming their way in a couple of seasons.

Photo cred: The Dream Band by Erik Halley and Luciding for Fashion Hack at Collete

Toronto event on future retail: when will Sweden follow?

I know, I tend to go on quite a lot about the future of retail these days, but hey, a lot is happening in that area right now. And too little here in Sweden I might add. On May 2nd, the city of Toronto and number of fashion oriented organizations and businesses, are holding a joint event in Toronto about the future of retail. And they are right to do it, because the boundaries between our digital and physical lives are blurring and that goes for retail as well with stores becoming more digitally friendly, for instance in how Augmented Reality is moving into dressing rooms. The Toronto event is just the kind of thing I would like to see happening in Sweden right now. But the problem is I just can’t hear anyone even talking about this right now. Why is that? I think it’s about time to start this conversation.

Photo: Rebecca Minkoff smart dressing room.