TECHIES: Fashion got the spotlight for the first time at the 15th re:publica, the leading European conference on the Internet society that took place in Berlin last week, with the sub-conference #Fashiontech on Tuesday.
It was an unlikely scene for fashion professionals at Station Berlin, normally the grounds of Premium Exhibitions. Last Tuesday, the tech society gathered in Berlin to discuss the consequences of digitalization under the theme “Finding Europe” with the likes of social media and technology leaders like Netflix chief executive officer Reed Hastings or hacker and WikiLeaks-collaborator Jacob Appelbaum.
In a fresh move at this year’s edition, the conference opted to shed light on fashion in its thematic line-up. Originating from a collaboration with Premium and Seek Exhibitions at January’s Berlin Fashion Week, the second edition of #Fashiontech in collaboration with the Berlin Senate’s “Projekt Zukunft” and the European Regional Development Fund investigated the potential of the Internet community, technological innovations and wearables with European fashion entrepreneurs and technology experts.
“Technology enables fashion to reinvent itself,” said Tim Steigert, strategy leader at General Electric Germany, a speaker at the conference, “It’s the time — the question is: what will designers do with technology?” he asked during a panel discussion on fashion and technology.
According to Monika Kanokova, who prepares the German Kickstarter-launch, the Internet is going to change the entrepreneurial structure of fashion start-ups. “People want to invest, it’s a new form of community building,” she said.
Fashion entrepreneurs like Nicholas Caporusso of Intact, Hrstiyana Vucheva of Vojd Studios and Linh Nguyen of Kisura presented how to use technologies like wearables, 3D-printing and content curation to change the perception of fashion.
At the closing reception, Tanja Mühlhans introduced the recently launched Wearable IT/fashion technology competition by the Berlin Senate and re:publica.
“IT and design are natural interests of our initiative. It’s a market with a great potential, there are local nucleuses on smart wearables, and we want to support new companies with innovative product concepts,” said Tanja Mühlhans from the Berlin Senate.