– The Modum Stage at the WebSummit covered fashion innovation, technology and education, bringing on stage brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Burberry and H&M.
– Lisa Lang, our CEO and founder, was one of the speakers and announced the new Polimoda master’s programme in Digital Fashion with her mentoring.
– The CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe, Daniel Grieder, explained how they are using 3D design to end waste in the production process, and introduced the Stitch Academy to train professionals in digital design.
We believe that, after a few days of the WebSummit, you already read everything about the biggest technology conference in the world. Snowden’s talk about privacy probably scared you, and somewhere you might have read his most expressive quote of the night: “the problem isn’t data protection, it’s data collection”.
But you know that there was not only the centre stage at the WebSummit – there were a lot of interesting talks happening around all the stages, including one dedicated to our business, the Modum Stage, discussing the future of fashion. In a sea of e-commerce solutions and marketplaces, the WebSummit programme could attract us with innovative ideas concerning manufacturing, design and sustainability. In 2019, there were 10 panels and 25 speakers from all over the world, representing luxury groups like Kering and PVH, to disruptive startups such as The Fabricant, and significant movements like Fashion for Good.
Our CEO and founder, Lisa Lang, was one of the speakers on a panel dedicated to artificial intelligence being applied to fashion, and how to educate our future professionals about the challenges of FashionTech. Lisa has defended reverse engineering as a way of creating new things and models, without the judgement and limits of traditional engineering. Starting from the end, deconstructing electronics to integrate into fashion, has emerged as a creative way to develop innovation and get our industry ready for this century and the next.
On stage, Lisa announced a new education venture: the Digital Fashion Master’s programme from Polimoda, with her mentoring. “We’re very excited to develop a groundbreaking new education programme, with one of the highest regarded fashion universities in Europe, that is aligned with the idea of education as key for digital change,” said Lisa.
The classes will start in April 2020. The programme will cover innovation in the fashion industry, like smart textiles, digital clothing, use of blockchain in fashion, entrepreneurship, new business models, and more. Applications are now open, and you can learn more about it here.
Lisa was on stage alongside Mark Russell, Managing Editor of British Vogue, who moderated the conversation, and Amber Jae Slooten, founding partner and Creative Director of The Fabricant, a digital fashion house that is actually changing the fashion game. Amber and her team are leading the fashion industry towards a new sector of digital-only clothing. The company was created by creative technologists who envision a future where fashion transcends the physical body, and digital identities permeate daily life, to become the new reality.
Right before Lisa came onto the Modum stage, it was occupied by the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe, Daniel Grieder. He talked about the digitalization of their production, to all 3D designing, and announced the company’s commitment to achieving 100% 3D apparel design by the Spring 2022 collections.
The main challenge to achieve that, for PVH, is not the technology or costs evolved, but the time to train their employees. That is why they are creating an academy dedicated to training professionals for the new fashion industry, called Stitch Academy.
For Daniel, going from traditional manufacturing in textiles, to 3D, is a process of transformation and adaptation, in the same way we got used to going from writing on typewriters to on computers decades ago. It takes time to go fully digital. But the perks are incommensurable, reducing costs and qualifying workers. 3D printing apparel enables us to be more sustainable, create digital showrooms, avoid samples and excess of production, and more, making production faster and cheaper. Also, digitalization of production can make it truly consumer-centric, as personalising and customization may be easier.
Also, on the centre stage of the WebSummit, the CEO of PVH Europe announced a new business model for these innovative ventures. Starting in 2020, HATCH Studio, the design studio responsible for the digital showrooms software and digital transformation services used by Tommy Hilfiger, is licensing the technology to be used by other brands. You can watch the full talk here.
Back to the Modum Stage, but still talking about PVH, there was the talk, “Stitching fashion back together”, by Anne-Christine Polet. The SVP Digital of PVH Europe introduced the audience to the process of traditional development of a garment, starting from a 2D sketch to physical prototyping until the collection review. The process is slow, expensive and highly non-sustainable since you have to start from scratch if it doesn’t look the way the designer realised. The answer to this challenge is 3D design, something not exactly new to the industry – the automobile industry has been using it for decades – but a revolutionary way to create fashion. Anne-Christine also presented the Digital Showroom, where they are reimagining the physical buying experience to the digital world, and with that, they’ve cut their sample production up to 80% in Europe. The first Digital Showroom was opened in 2015, and today, they have it in 13 countries. You can see more about it here.
Anna Gedda, Chief Sustainability Officer of H&M, was also one of the speakers. In her talk, “Fashion, way beyond next season”, she discussed the circular model adopted by H&M on its path through sustainability. AI advanced analytics were used during the design phase to help predict demand from customers. The use of raw materials is another important subject, as they are developing solutions using recycled cotton, reducing by 19% the use of chemicals and water during production. In 2018, 57% of materials used by H&M were recycled, with the goal of reaching 100% by 2030. You can see the full talk here.
The Kering Group closed the WebSummit 2019 on the Modum Stage with the talk, “Turning legacy brands into digital innovators”, where Chief Digital Officer, Grégory Boutté, discussed how Kering’s fashion luxury brands are competing with tech-focused fashion startups, and how tech and digital are enabling consumer engagement. The talk was led by Maghan McDowell, Innovation Editor of Vogue Business.
Not only big companies were represented at the WebSummit, but smaller and disruptive companies like Muse participated on different stages, introducing the concepts of wearables to a broader audience. Ariel Garten shared her insights on how her 49th attempt at pitching to investors turned into funding her seed round. Ariel is the CEO of Muse, a startup that develops a headband to control brain activity and help you meditate. Muse translates your mental activity into the guiding sounds of the weather to help you find focused calm. We highly recommend her talk – very inspiring.
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