Fashion is facing an existential crisis. Pre-pandemic, the industry contributed an amazing £26billion and 800,000 jobs to the UK economy. Even then it was considered a vulnerable sector due to its almost complete reliance on:
As well as encountering:
Mid-pandemic, the situation can be considered as 'dire'. The industry recorded all-time low economic profits for the year of 2020. So what can help the industry recover?
We spoke to Eva Lili Bartha (Lili), Founder of Digital Fashion Framework (DFF), about her innovative business, the issues with the Fashion industry, why she's embracing immersive tech, and her experience on the ACE IT programme.
I am a London-based postdisciplinary designer. My work focusses on discovering new horizons in fashion and embodiment, with the use of innovative tools and cross-realm work.
My design works aim at reinventing the notion of ‘experience’, ‘presence’ and ‘wear’ by experimenting with digital and physical, audio with visual, and soft robotics with haptic feedback.
My perspective on the creative sector derives from a background that combines a scientific mindset with an innovative design thinking, as besides having a BA and MA in Fashion (Via Design and Business Denmark, Royal College of Art, London) I am also a trained Mathematician (Applied Mathematics Bsc and Msc, University of Szeged). Studying the building blocks of the universe, my mathematical background led me to question definitive systems, norms and traditions.
Fashion is the second most pollutive industry in the world. The negative socio-environmental footprint is enormous, and designers still often overlook their own responsibility towards a systematic change. I believe that digital and physical fashion combined will move the industry forward towards a better future. My team and I are proud to promote a new era of fashion, with more accessible content, more inclusive, diverse and equal solutions, a more democratic work hierarchy, and a positive, supportive atmosphere, emphasising the essence of building communities.
According to our research, 70% of shoppers would engage more with a product, if they experienced it in a new, immersive way. We believe that embracing immersive technologies and enabling customers to consume fashion in new ways will establish longer lasting and deeper relationships with products, reducing the rate of returns, as well as altering how we ‘consume’ fashion.
With the ACE IT programme, we received more than support. We've created new connections, expanded our network, and accelerated our business development, as we are focusing on being investment ready.
2020 has been a year of disruptions. These slowed down our product developments due to hardship in logistics. We are now combatting this by keeping our focus flexible in terms of hardware and software needs.
Persuading clients to try out new solutions has also been a challenge. Many of them are interested in new products but are afraid of unknown features and potential impact on their business.
ACE IT has been a great incubator to work with, we have encountered people who are interested in our business, believe in our innovation and values, and helped so much already. Having the opportunity to participate in workshops, we got one on one mentoring as well as encouragement from the cohort. Being part of such inspiring community accelerated our business development even more.
Assessment of tasks and handling comms in the morning. Working on current client projects and R&D throughout the day. Reflecting and summarising things to do with business development at the end of the day.
Completing my Masters in Fashion at the Royal College of Art in London.
Being a founder in one of the most competitive and ever-changing industries is a big challenge, and requires ultimate dedication and passion towards the innovation. When participating in incubators, while we get a chance to develop our businesses, we also develop ourselves as entrepreneurs, reassuring ourselves, that new ideas that can initiate systematic change deserve our endless efforts, as we all work towards improving industries, and creating positive impact.
Playing my violin and piano, and currently training for a marathon. And of course hiking, hopefully soon not just by looking at google maps!
3D, XR and AI.
Digital Fashion Framework are a current member of the ACE IT programme. Applications for the new ACE IT cohort, which supports businesses to adopt or create new immersive tech products, are open now. Find out more.
Application deadline is Sunday 7 March 2020, 11:59pm.
Want to connect with Lili? Add her on Linkedin now and visit the Digital Fashion Framework website here.