The second edition of the Business of Fashion 500 features the title “polymaths + multitaskers”, under an image of a cool and calm Karl Lagerfeld brandishing eight arms gesturing in various directions. A “polymath” is a person of broad knowledge and learning, while a “multitasker” is someone of broad actions and doing. Combined, it is accurate to say you would get an octopus Lagerfeld; someone who does and knows more than seems mortally capable. While people of such brilliance lead the fashion houses and businesses around the world, they cannot know everything, and must rely on outside experts to bring their ideas to reality.
Never have these experts been more needed than when fusing science, technology, and fashion. Innovations in the fashion world are slowing, and leaders of the industry are ever more turning to science and tech for the ‘next big thing’. In fact, some of the most innovative fashion products have come from the worlds of science and tech, rather than fashion. Perhaps the most well known is the Apple Watch, designed and produced by Apple (with collaborative wristbands made by fashion designers). Other examples include Google Glass and Fitbit. Some forward-thinking designers are already in the game, such as Rebecca Minkoff, Iris van Herpen, and Lucy McRae. And a few startups are imagining fashion beyond integration with traditional ‘tech’, such as Modern Meadow and Ecovative Design, which both look to biology for the future of textile materials.
Now, fashion houses are recruiting tech, science, and design talent to build the next wave of fashion innovation. Four of the best of this pool will be speaking at the Descience Fashion 4WRD event at the Boston MFA on September 17, 2015: Suzanne Lee, Creative Director of Modern Meadow; Chris Wowrousek, Lead Designer of New Balance Innovation Studio; Dr. Amanda Parkes, Chief of Technology and Research at Manufacture New York, and Dennis Bladwin, CEO and Founder of Breakaway. We will be profiling them in the coming blog series.