“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”
Welcome to Antwerp
When you think about Belgium, the word fashion doesn’t immediately come to mind. But it most definitely should! Nowadays, Antwerp – a beautiful historic port city in Belgium – is called a fashion capital. That’s quite apt, considering the city “sparkles with diamonds” and has its own Diamond District.
Indeed, emerging Belgian designers are stealing the limelight away from high-brow designers from places like Milan and Paris. What’s more, the “Antwerp six” try to cater to the younger generations and the Belgian taste. Also, sustainability and the less-is-more approach are at the heart of the design process for them. Best of both worlds, really!
FashionTech Works 2019: Challenge, Connect & Create
So, stemming from their design- and fashion-hub reputation, the city of Antwerp is accommodating a three-day event called FashionTech Works. But, how does it work?
Firstly, the event is hosted by Flanders DC – the single point of contact and the creative hub for entrepreneurs in Flanders – with the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. It’s an international program in the framework of United Fashion, where 24 selected technology startups from 11 different countries present their work and exchange knowledge to spur more creative thinking within the fashion industry.
So, in line with the quote by Dean Kamen, who is a tireless advocate for science and technology, FashionTech Works illustrates why fashion technology actually works. Undoubtedly, when aspirational and creative fashion comes together with functional and scientific technology, magic happens.
Moreover, FashionTech aims to inspire and connect the fashion and tech community in order to make cross-industry innovation happen, as innovation is seldom a one-man effort. Currently, all kinds of different technologies are disrupting the traditional business model, and seeping into every element of the fashion industry. In particular, inventions such as wearable technology, AI, VR, 3D printing and nanotechnology all hugely impact fashion. Subsequently, they are driving fashion into a more sustainable future – from tackling the negative externalities created by the fast-fashion industry to producing jewelry that can absorb pollution.
Furthermore, they add value and create unique selling points for the designers. And in turn, change the way we experience and consume fashion today and in the future.
Over a three-day period, from 19-21 November 2019, FashionTech Works hosts a series of workshops and pitch battles for all the designers, which allow them to showcase their creative ideas. Each designer is invited to attend one of the three workshops led by industry experts: Circular Fashion led by Evelyn Mora, The Future of Shopping led by Katrien Huygens, and Wearable Tech led by Thomas Gnahm.
Furthermore, on Wednesday 20 November and Thursday 21 November, the designers will battle it out in 3-phased “Pitch Battles”. To clarify, each round of the battle challenges the designers to get to the core of their concept and the problem they are solving. This is done by presenting their idea in the most comprehensive and appealing way possible. After the experts choose 8 cases to get through to Round 2, a bigger audience judges their ideas again. As a result, 2 best cases get to pitch their ideas to all visitors at the Main Stage of FashionTech Works. Accordingly, the winner will receive a co-creation track of 20 hours with creative experts of their liking.
Ultimately, Thursday night which concludes FashionTech event will end with a bang – the 3rd annual Belgian Fashion Awards ceremony will highlight and reward the fashion and innovation talent Belgium has to offer.
The Most Compelling Cases
As FashionTech Works aims to inspire the whole of the fashion community beyond Antwerp, here is a few selected innovative ideas that stood out to us the most:
AR Smart Dress, Slovenia
AR Smart Dress is using augmented reality to extend the boundaries of reality in the fashion industry. Like swiping and choosing and Instagram or Snapchat filter to augment your face and create funny selfies, you will be able to swipe and choose a designer outfit and see in real-time how it fits.
AWAYTOMARS, founded in 2015, aims to make the fashion industry more inclusive. In fact, they are the world’s first 100% user-created fashion brand. They have also provided the means to change fashion’s entire production chain, from sketch to sale.
Correcty by Print art, Latvia
Print Art is a social textile design enterprise that designs a posture corrective T-shirt ‘Correcty’. Correspondingly, the ‘Correcty’ T-shirt is designed to support the back and with the help of a flexible scheme to remind the user to straighten the back.
SOLVE is an award-winning multi-disciplinary innovation studio in design and sustainability. They are the creators of the world’s first circular and multifunctional fashion collection – ‘Omdanne’. The collection consists of three pieces of clothing that can transform into over ten styles each!
DyeCoo, The Netherlands
DyeCoo is the world’s first commercial supplier of a water-free and process-chemical free dyeing system for polyester textiles. In short, they have developed an industrial proven dyeing technology based on CO2 instead of water. In turn, this eliminates the use of water and chemical usage, reduces energy consumption and is cost-effective.
With this in mind, WTVOX would like to wish good luck to all the participants of FashionTech Works – keep on polishing your ideas until they shine bright like the diamonds in Antwerp themselves 💎✨
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