WASHINGTON — The newly formed Fashion Innovation Alliance will stage an inaugural fashion and technology showcase in the nation’s capital on June 15.
Founded by Kenya Wiley, former counsel and senior policy adviser for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the alliance has a goal of engaging a diverse range of people by bringing together fashion and technology executives to raise awareness about and promote the future of fashion tech. Another key goal of the alliance is educating policymakers about the fashion tech industry.
“We are bringing fashion tech — the latest wearables, smart apparel and fashion apps — to the United States Capitol at Fashion + Tech Showcase 2016,” said Wiley, who is chief executive officer of the alliance. “Our inaugural showcase is an opportunity for Washington policymakers to engage with the fashion tech community and learn more about the economic benefits and social value of fashion tech. Technology is spurring a fashion revolution and our stakeholders across the fashion tech spectrum — from start-ups to corporations, from investors to advocates, from academics to students — will all play a significant role in shaping the future of fashion tech.”
The fledgling smart fabrics and wearables industry is getting a lot of attention and recently received an injection of investment from the U.S. government and private sector. The U.S. Commerce Department also hosted an inaugural Smart Fabrics Summit with the Industrial Fabrics Association International in early April. The aim was to showcase the burgeoning number of products and innovation, and foster collaboration among a diverse set of industries seeking to push the limits of smart fabrics and apparel application, from main street to the battlefield to health care.
The alliance includes 15 companies and organizations from the fashion, tech, start-up and venture capital communities, Wiley said.
Its first major event is the fashion and technology showcase on Capitol Hill, which is expected to draw 100 to 150 people from fashion, tech, academia and government. It has lined up speakers including officials from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Susan Scafidi, founder and academic director of Fordham Law School’s Fashion Law Institute, and The Crated, a technology company focused on seamlessly integrating electronic circuitry into textiles.