From April 29 to May 1, Berlin was the site of the “world’s first hackathon on fashion and tech,” a concept about whose more elusive particulars we are still a bit unclear. However, by means of some English-language reports, some Facebook pages, and in spite of Google Translate, we can now report the pith and substance of the event, beginning with the observation that Hack Day was actually 72 hours long.
Fashion Hack Day was conceived as an opportunity for fashion and software designers, and tech and industry experts to get together to produce clothing, shoes, and other fashion items that incorporate digital features, useful and decorative. The twenty-one-member Advisory Panel included an event coordinator at Fab Lab Berlin (one of the sponsors), a 3-D printing expert who co-founded Berlin’s first 3-D printing café, a textile engineer, and an economic advisor from the Dutch embassy in Berlin.
All the submissions are prototypes, so the fashion element must be taken on faith, particularly, we thought, the outfit that looks like a fringed paper sack over the model’s head.
(This is different from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition: “Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology,” which we’ll cover in the near future.)
The event’s website reports that the winning team was “Knowledge is Power.” The team has been working on a dress that is meant to protect women from sexual harassment by registering assaults, and sending info to a cloud that highlights the assault location on a map. The dress “shares the globally collected data” as a light map that is part of the dress’s design. (Some practical questions — not that practicality and high fashion have much to do with each other: is anyone looking at this map in time to help? And are we talking about harassment, which is bad enough, or assault, which requires immediate intervention?)
There was a three-way tie for second place: Smoon, a unspecified new approach in digital jewelry; Stethoscope, a device that “morphs the sound of the universe with the sound of one’s own body”; and Autee, pictured above, a t-shirt that visually represents a person’s feelings to help autistic children interpret parents’ and teachers’ moods
You can go to Facebook to see photos the finalists and winners. If you search Facebook for “fashion hack day,” you’ll also find posts and photos from other participants.