How ThePowerHouse is blending the worlds of Fashion and Technology

Fashion needs more dreams and inspirations, and technology is the tool to make it happen. Our journey started in the year 2014 with making ‘light’ wearable and making it real in the FashionTech world. Today, the house of brands under ThePowerHouse brings together the best minds in design and innovation to bring fashion technology projects and initiatives to life.

We adapt to the demands of our clients across sectors and are always on the forefront to act quickly. We are supporting the FashionTech industry across sectors and breaking the silos within which are too strong. Early this year, we worked with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as subject-matter experts in the sector assisting them with research papers and contributing to the FashionTech forecast report.We also helped Siemens deconstruct their latest washing machine last year. You can find more stories about our work here.

As FashionTech experts across different industries- consumer electronics, automotive, textile, jewellery, shoes, fashion, sport or personal protective gear—we believe in adding more and more functions to your clothes as you continue to glow. We believe that everyone can look pretty and smart at the same time. Fashion is our user-interface, technology the backend —  together we can create meaningful and innovative products.

In order to achieve this, we support collaborations and follow an interdisciplinary approach, answering an important question – how to incorporate smart technology which appeals to a mass audience and not ‘just’ to techies.

How it all started…

When Lisa Lang founded ElektroCouture (a part of ThePowerHouse) in 2014, the term FashionTech was still evolving. “I scanned the market and realised that there were two different spaces in FashionTech. One was the blinky couture which people flaunted in parties but could only wear once because the poor-quality of either the fabrics or the technology. And the other were smart technology devices, like fitness trackers, which were efficient but did not look pretty,” she recalls. She asked herself will the consumer wear smart technology like a fitness tracker if it has no function?

She decided to incorporate both – fashion and technology – at the same level, making one the user interface and other the technology backend. The key to developing FashionTech design, Lang felt, was making both work together and support each other from day one.

From the very beginning, Lang was captivated by different aspects of ‘light’ as she felt everyone connected to it on an emotional level. At the same time, physics says that light is the smart technology through which we get high speed internet, or transfer data at high speed. So, ElektroCouture found ways to incorporate technology in the daily lives of people. Talking about the early experiments Lang says, “We made glowing scarves and tested them on bicycle drivers who then loved using it. The good thing with LEDs is that if you dim down a strong green LED light, it glows like an emerald green. Its beauty is beyond definition.”

ElektroCouture then took the magic of LEDs to jewellery and further expanded into wearable technology from couture to accessories. Stay tuned as you will hear about our Frozen Necklace  in one of the upcoming newsletters!

The Birth of ThePowerHouse

Companies across sectors and aspiring fashion designers often approach ElektroCouture for advice and questions related to FashionTech. At present, fashion schools do not provide hands-on experience with 3D printers or teach basics of laser cutting. Nor do big companies have the time to innovate. Realising this gap in the market, ElektroCouture founded TheStudio and TheAcademy. “If we establish a new market, then we have to be the ones to educate as well. While we educate potential customers, we also need to train fashion technologists,” explains Lang.  The first batch of designers-in-residence program, in 2015, included  young aspiring creative talent from all over the world. They were provided with the mentorship, space, materials and machines they needed to shape the future of FashionTech.

During the same time, we also realised that ‘light’ is just one of the shades of FashionTech. There was a huge need for innovation in smart textiles, sensors and electronics. With TheStudio, we established a platform for technologists and designers to come in and work with us. In 2016, we founded TheLab where scientists and designers co-create, to build a platform for science and storytelling through fashion. Through TheLab , we aspire to change the cultural perception of bacteria, mushrooms, algae and any other bio-agent to promote the idea of sustainability through bio-mimicry/bio-hacking for garments. We innovate and develop ideas for new materials, interactivity and life-cycles for clothing.

What our friends have to say…

Professor Hans Georg Näder, owner of the Ottobock group and an ElektroCouture partner says, “ElektroCouture stands for innovation in textiles and wearables and has great potential for me.”

“At the House of ElektroCouture, a washing machine is more than just a device – it’s a part of a new FashionTech system. Lisa Lang and her team are teaching machines to communicate with the fashion of the future – it’s a big opportunity for new exciting products,” Siemens. 

“The future will be interdisciplinary, and it’s where the Powerhouse Group is. They merge Fashion & Technology to develop new concepts.They manufacture prototypes and imagine modern business solutions. The Powerhouse group is an innovative hub with a brilliant approach, ” says Cécile Poignant, editor of the Trend Tablet (founded by Lidewij Edelkoort & Cecile Poignant).

What we do at The PowerHouse

In 2016, we were convinced that there is a huge need for big companies to have prototyping as well as research and development (R&D) services. Big giants and conglomerates wanted to enter FashionTech but they don’t know how. We, on the other hand, have been there and done that! ThePowerHouse is an innovation agency for FashionTech, Wearable Technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 and SmartTextiles Manufacturing. During our work with clients and partners we have garnered extensive knowledge and experience to prototype and manufacture cutting-edge fashion and wearable technologies. From ideation, concept-building, scouting markets and materials, to launching new products with feasibility studies and manufacturing solutions – we’re here to help. We also offer internal innovation workshops to explore how your company can diversify its product range for new markets.

If you have challenges executing or implementing projects in FashionTech, wearable technology, biotechnology or smart textiles, contact us and we will be your best friend! Give us a shout at hello@thepowerhouse.group

Graphic design is by Kathleen Galbraith from VWolfe Art Berlin.