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

Fashion tech isn’t what it used to – and maybe that’s good

So, CES 2017 just concluded a couple of days ago. And as exciting as the whole thing was, the reports on fashion tech related stuff has left me somewhat… blah. Apart from a few new models of smart glasses with AR features that I will get back to in another post, there seemed to be a lot of stuff we’ve seen many times before: like the occasional shoe that can change colors with the click of a button on your smart phone, LED-dresses, 3D-printed dresses, designer fitness trackers and so forth. Not that these gadgets are bad or anything. It’s just that when it comes to innovation and new products within the fashion tech area, I would have hoped for something more unexpected.
It’s like the industry has come to a halt when it comes to creativity and/or have failed to connect the the dots between the tech- and fashion industries.
Or is something else going on? I think so.
I have good reason to believe that the most exciting things are actually happening somewhere else right now. I think the focus within fashion tech has simply shifted from gadgets to services, for instance retail and payment, and also sizing, customization and individualization. And let’s not forget to mention the intriguing world of material development, where biotech companies are attempting to create leather out of mushrooms and silk out of spider web to mention a few.
In all of those areas there are actual, rather than constructed problems to solve.
And that’s exciting for real.
Beauty and function in one item, be it clothing or jewelry, is great. But the focus might be shifting from gadgets to services in the industry. 
Photo credit: Screenshots from Electric Runway Youtube channel and CES Fashion Ware show.



Tech-plagg tillägnat första datorprogrammeraren

Ah, så vackert när dåtid och nutid möts! Berlinbaserade fahsiontech-märket Electrocouture har skapat en LED-upplyst scarf med ett mönster som för tankarna till programmeringsgränssnitt, tillägnad den första programmeraren Ada Lovelace. Alltså inte den första kvinnliga programmeraren, utan den första programmeraren. Period. För er som inte känner till Ada Lovelace kan jag berätta att denna grevinna, tillika matematiker och författare, var djupt inblandad i den tiiiiidiga, tidiga datorn The Analytical Engine från 1837 och det var alltså till den hon skapade den första algoritmen tänkt att utföras av en maskin.
Snygg scarf också, om än inte så grevinnemässig.

Foto: Electrocouture/

Tech clothing dedicated to first computer programmer
Oh, how beautiful it is when the past meets the present! Berlin based Electrocouture has created an LED scarf with a programming interface print, dedicated to the first programmer ever, Ada Lovelace. And yes, that’s the first programmer, not the first female programmer, mind you. Fot those of you who don’t know of Ms Lovelace I can tell you that this countess/mathematician/writer was deeply involved in the oh so early computer The Analytical Engine from 1837, and it was to this thing she she created the very first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine.
Nice looking scarf too, although not so countess like.

Nytt på Youtube: Fashion Tech Fridays

Aha, intressant! Amanda Cosco från modetech-podden Electric Runway har startat en Youtube-kanal, Fashion Tech Fridays. Varje fredag ska hon sammanfatta veckans händelser inom allt från smarta tyger till wearable tech. Premiäravsnittet lades ut i fredags och då tog hon bland annat upp lanseringen av Michael Kors och Kate Spades nya wearables (som jag skrev om här). Det här ska bli kul att följa! Hoppas på mycket reflektion och problematisering av ämnet, för det behövs.
Amanda Cosco presenterar premiäravsnittet av Fashion Tech Fridays.
Foto: Screenshot från Youtube.

New on Youtube: Fashion Tech Fridays
Aha, interesting! Amanda Cosco from fashion tech podcast Electric Runway just launched a Youtube channel of her own, Fashion Tech Fridays. Every Friday she’ll talk about fashion tech events and products of the past week. The premiere episode was posted last Friday and covered, among other things, the launch of Michael Kors’s and and Kate Spades wearables (that I wrote about here.) I look forward to following this channel and hope to see a lot of reflection and critique on the subject – it is much needed.

Heta nya wearables att hålla koll på i höst

Hur ofta säger man godis och fitnessarmband i samma mening? Inte ofta. Men när ni ser Kate Spades nylanserade kollektion armband förstår ni vad jag snackar om. För här frossas det i pastell, glitter och näpna kattöron i hop med den senaste wearable-tekniken i en kombo som blir rätt oemotståndlig. Kollektionen innehåller två olika fitnessarmband, ett ”sportigare” i silikon och ett i lite mer ”juveligt” i guldmetall och pärla, och även en smartklocka med ljusrosa armband och bubblande champagne-motiv på urtavlan. Just sayin’.
Efter besviket ha ögnat igenom det som rapporterats från IFA i Berlin härom sistens (tusen miljarder olika VR-set och gigantiska smartklockor som ser för stora ut till och med på en kraftig karl-handled (have they learned nothing??) , är detta lite av en befrielse.
Kate Spades kollektion är en del av Fossil Groups större satsning på wearable tech och där även märken som Michael Kors och Emporio Armani släpper nya produkter i höst.
Fitbit har också startat ett samarbete med klädmärket Public School och tillsammans släpper de senare i höst skönheten ni ser nedan, som man väl ändå får säga är en utmärkt kombo av fitnessarmband och klocka.
Foto: Kate Spade vs. Public School + Fitbit Alta.


Hot new wearables to check out this fall
How often do you get to say candy and fitness tracker in the same sentence? Not often! But when you see Kate Spades newly launched collection of bracelets you’ll understand what I’m talking about. This is nothing but a complete orgy in pastel pinks, glitter and cute cat ears paired with the latest in wearable technology in a combo that’s pretty irresistible. The collection contains two fitness trackers, a ”sporty” fun one in silicon and a more elegant one in pearl and gold. There’s also a light pink smart watch with a bubbly champagne-motif on the watch face. Just sayin’.
After a somewhat disappointed look at the reports from IFA Berlin recently (a thousand billion different kinds of VR-sets and giant smart watches too chunky to fit even a sturdy man-wrist (have they learned nothing??), this is a little bit of av relief to be honest.
Kate Spades collection is a part of Fossil Groups bigger venture on wearable tech and together they will also release the beauty you see below right – a Public School + Fitbit Alta piece that would have to count as an excellent combo of fitness tracker and watch.

Svenska wearables visas på Formex

Formex är i gång igen och den här gången finns det chans att kolla in alstren från vårens Fashion Hackathon, som nu ställs ut under mässdagarna. (Och som jag skrivit om tidigare här). Under hack-eventet i våras sammanstrålade ju ett antal svenska modemärken med svenska techföretag för att hitta lösningar på olika vardagsproblem genom att implementera teknik i kläder och accessoarer. Och jag rekommenderar en titt, även om jag personligen hade hoppats att grejerna skulle demonstreras ordentligt och inte bara visas upp på skyltdockor med förklarande skyltar intill… För man behöver verkligen få se hur det ser ut när en kostym med inbyggd belysning lyser upp i mörkret eller känna hur det känns att bära kepsen som anpassar sig efter bärarens och omgivningens temperatur. Annars tycker jag att man slarvar bort syftet med projektet lite grann.
Här hade man ju ett gyllene tillfälle att få feedback från potentiella bärare och framför allt skapa utrymme för diskussioner om själva grundidén – att sammanföra teknik och mode.
Men det kanske kommer fler tillfällen.


Foto: Anna Hedlund/Stil & Teknik