Woman in Tech of the Week (10/18/17)
Anouk Wipprecht, Dutch Fashion-Tech Designer
When fashion met tech, it wasn’t love at first sight. The marriage of these two industries has been fraught with mixed signals and gimmicks, redefining the fashion-tech relationship at every turn. It’s the same love story many industries are trying to narrate alongside emerging tech, as sensors and computers get smaller, faster and more powerful. Now that tech has found new ways to integrate into the actual fabrics we wear, how can fashion and technology better communicate for commercial success?
“Fashion and tech need to talk more to each other. That’s where we come in,” said Anouk Wipprecht, a Dutch fashion-tech designer. Having spent more than 15 years hybridizing robotics and bespoke fashion, Wipprecht finds the art of cross-industry conversations worth the effort.
Her designs skirt the edge of wearable technology, with dresses that mix cocktails and attack threatening oncomers. While such imaginative creations draw museum crowds, advanced tech has yet to find mainstream appeal in fashion retail. Yet with research group IDC projecting the wearables market will double by 2021 and the connected clothing sector expected to grow from three percent of the wearables market share to nearly 10 percent between 2016 and 2021, there’s an opportunity to evolve fashion tech beyond gimmick status by making the interface invisible and lowering the learning curve.
“I started in the beginning of 2000, really trying to see how fashion can become this interface. By me growing into this, technology got smaller and smaller and closer to the body. I think that opens up so many interesting possibilities that haven’t been explored yet, except for only the Fitbits and smartwatches that are more bothering us but don’t do data visualization,” Wipprecht said. “I want to cut data out of the screen and into the real life.”
This week, theCUBE spotlights Anouk Wipprecht in our Women in Tech feature.