Tuesday | 11. July 2017

“Fashion in the Eye of the Tech Storm”: Experts from Aperto, IBM Watson and Daimler discuss the Future of Fashion

Fashion meets technology: On June 27th, seven experts from Aperto, Daimler, Wear It Berlin and others offered their personal view on the synergy between handcrafted design solutions and digital innovation at "FutureFashion - Fashion in the Eye of the Tech Storm" in Berlin hosted by Prof. Dr. Brigitte Kleinselbeck and her project class. A report by Nora Werbeck.

"Key motivations for integrating technology into fashion are survival, performance, freedom." With this statement, Bioscientist Peter Beyerlein from TU Wildau set the scope for an evening of bold, creative and surprising insights: On June 27th, marketing expert Prof. Dr. Brigitte Kleinselbeck invited seven fashion and technology experts to the impressive headquarter of Macromedia Berlin’s cooperation partner Aperto, an IBM company. Following the motto "FutureFashion – Fashion in the Eye of the Tech Storm" they discussed the latest innovations in the field of fashiontech and debated the future of fashion.

FutureFashion: Seven Experts Present their Personal Perspective on the Synergy between Fashion and Technology

In the digital age, even traditional handcraft professions merely survive without incorporating technology into their innovation. Current trends shift towards technological approaches - also in fashion: no matter if designer or department store, all actors in the industry undergo profound change. From wearables like the Google glasses or smart watches to personal shopping assistance via AI - the line between fashion and technology is thinner than ever. But where will future fashion business take us – and what is already possible today?

Organized by Kleinselbeck and Bachelor students from Media and Communication Management (3rd & 4th semester), "FutureFashion – Fashion in the Eye of the Tech Storm" encompassed seven inspiring slam presentations by David Linderman (Creative Director at Aperto, an IBM Company), Veaceslav Driglov (Business Innovation Manager at Daimler Group, Project Peninsula), Layla Mueller (Fashion Technology Designer in Residence at Elektro Couture), Larry Tee (DJ, artist, founder and designer at TZUJI), Martha Berwanger (IBM Watson Cognitive Dress Designer from HTW Berlin), Thomas Gnahm (Festival Director at Wear It Berlin) and Prof Dr. Peter Beyerlein (Head of Diagnostic Bioinformatics at the Institute of Applied Bioscience at Technical University Wildau).

The Future is now: Presenting the IBM Watson Cognitive Dress from CeBit 2017

In the end of 2016, IBM Watson and haute couture designer Marchesa astonished the fashion world by presenting the first cognitive dress at the prestigious Met Gala in New York. In 2017, Martha Berwanger, a student from HTW Berlin, created her own version in cooperation with IBM Watson and showed it at the CeBit 2017. At FutureFashion, she presented her personal piece of art once more: through an integrated Watson analytical technology that is sewed into the fabric, the dress changes its color based on the tone of tweets that show the hashtag #IBM. Green for passion, yellow for joy – a real milestone in fashion technology. As Aperto’s Creative Director David Linderman pointed out: "Unconventional material can create something no one would ever have imagined – achieving uniqueness in fashion through displaying emotion by using data."

Wearables: New Ways of Expressing Personality and Uniqueness

Layla Mueller, designer in residence at Elektro Couture and student at HTW Berlin, follows a similar approach: her fashion builds a bridge between music, technology and fashion. By integrating sensors in the garments, Layla produces pieces that change their color in sync with sound impulses – a fashiontech trend that might soon become normality at music festivals or in clubs. "Wearables are a central topic right now", said Thomas Gnahm, Festival Director at WearIt Berlin. “Putting a device on your body that communicates with your environment – this trend will rapidly expand in the future.”

But why do highly anticipated Wearables such as the Google Glasses or the IWatch fail to keep up with the hype then? "It’s not about the most sophisticated technology, it’s about your ideas and about the people you’re doing something for. Ask yourself: Would you buy this?", explains Gnahm. According to him, the Google Glasses are too complex and frightening for the consumer of today. However, Gnahm is convinced that spectacles will catch on - because they meet central needs of today’s consumers: These glasses enable to capture personal moments by taking photos from your point of view and uploading them on Snapchat - therefore, they enable to be seen, to be individual and to share personal impressions as social currency on social media.

From Wearables to Fashion Technology as an Extension of our Body

Coming from a scientific perspective, Prof Dr. Peter Beyerlein from the Institute of Applied Bioscience at Technical University Wildau is not worried at all about shocking the consumer: "Soon we will integrate smartphones into our bodies." Beyerlein is sure that implantable smartphones lie shortly ahead, as do smart tattoos: "wear your wife’s name at home and change to your lover’s when you’re out – what could be wrong with that?", he joked. Of whatever nature the met needs might be, customer centricity is a factor central to successful business models indeed, undermined also Veaceslov Driglow, who is developing innovative solutions for car technologies at Daimler AG’s innohub in Berlin at the moment.

Berlin, the Place to be in Fashion

While Driglov came to Germany's capital to innovate the car industry, designer and TZUJI-founder Larry Tee has moved here to explore the creative advantages of Berlin in terms of design. According to him, in times of the Brexit Berlin this is the place to be - not only for start-ups in general, but also for fashion and technology in particular. “Let’s face it: you’re in the right place!”, he addressed the present Macromedia students. “If you’re doing something innovative, you’re not going to do it in New York, you’re not going to do in London. Berlin is the perfect breeding ground for new ideas!”

View the photo album of FashionFuture on Facebook.

From winter term 2017, Macromedia University Berlin offers a bachelor program in Fashion Management. Offered by our partner university "Atelier Chardon Savard", we also host a study program in fashion design.

At FutureFashion, David Linderman from Aperto started the first slam session with his presentation on the future of fashion and technology, titeled "Sharing the Love".

As one of the major highlights, Martha Berwanger from HTW Berlin presented her version of the IBM Watson Cognitive Dress which was introduced at CeBit 2017.

Over the course of one semester, Prof. Dr. Brigitte Kleinselbeck (left) had organized the event together with bachelor students from the Media and Communication Management study program. Here from left to right with Aperto's creative director David Linderman, designer and TZUJI-founder Larry Tee and fashion photographer Jörg Brunsendorf.

The lively sessions ended with a big applause for the organizers, speakers and Stephanie Arand (Aperto) who had supported the event throughout the semester as co-host.

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