Insider Interview: Kristina Dimitrova of INTERLACED
Interested in fashion and tech? So are we, and so are INTERLACED – a company that aims to connect the people and organisations shaping the future of fashion.
Ahead of the first INTERLACED 2015 event, taking place on 3 September, we spoke to INTERLACED founder and CEO Kristina Dimitrova to find out more.
**Attending the INTERLACED event? Insider Trends are working with INTERLACED to offer a one-day trend tour on 2 September: your chance to discover some of the latest and best retail concepts in the world, and to meet the innovators shaping the future of retail. For more details and how to book, click here.**
Can you explain a bit more about what INTERLACED is for people who may not have heard of it?
INTERLACED is a company dedicated to communicating the latest developments in fashion and technology. We do this through participating in or organizing events, news content and other educational activities. Our aim is to connect the four key audiences shaping the future of fashion – the startups / pioneers in the field, the established companies, academia (researchers and emerging talent) and the wider public. We like to think of ourselves as the platform for highlighting innovation in the fashion & technology space.
What inspired you to set up INTERLACED?
It kind of emerged from our own frustrations really. My background is marketing and communications so at the conferences I’ve attended over the last couple of years everyone was talking about “big data” and “wearables” – after which they were showing another fitness tracker. That didn’t really excite me.
Then I started seeing the likes of Studio XO, The Unseen and Cute Circuit emerging, and I was fascinated with how this concept of fashion tech can really transform the industry. I started researching, writing and talking to people about it. The problem was that when I was talking to my friends about it they looked at me like I was some crazy person. I feel it’s important to push the notion of fashion tech to the wider public to show them that wearables are not only about smartwatches and fitness trackers. And that you don’t have to feel like a robot wearing smart clothes.
What aspects are you most looking forward to exploring at the INTERLACED conference?
The thing I’m the most excited about is brining the key players in the future of fashion together and starting a dialogue around the topic. This absolutely includes the emerging talent from both art and engineering faculties and I can’t stress that enough. These types of events have been pretty exclusive so far and we want to open them up for the people who will lead the industry in five to ten years.
What speakers are you especially excited about welcoming to INTERLACED?
We’ve spent a lot of time curating the conference programme. Each and every speaker is unique and has an amazing story to tell and something that we can all learn from, so I am excited to welcome all of them! I am very interested in hearing from radiographer and fashion designer Brooke Roberts and her story about creating clothing from medical scans.
What projects have you encountered that you think are especially innovative?
I can’t wait to see how Google’s Project Jacquard and Soli develop through their partnership with Levi’s. After the notorious rise and fall of the first version of Google Glass, I think they’re really doing something revolutionary now. We recently interviewed industry leaders about it and they all agree it’s very likely that these projects will completely change fashion and the perception of connected products in our everyday life.
What do you think is needed to make fashion tech more accessible to the general public?
As with any emerging industry, there are a lot of barriers – price, battery life, design, etc. But I think the most important thing at the moment is to educate the end-users about the notion of fashion tech, what such products can do for people and how they can use them. We need to create a demand for these products first so that when the technical, design and logistic challenges are eliminated, people would be excited about investing in such products. INTERLACED is built on the fact that in order to speed up innovation within fashion houses and technology companies in this area, an increasing demand from the end-consumer needs to be apparent.
What do you think will come next regarding fashion tech and wearable tech?
I would love to see more smart fashion pieces. Not always because it could enable us to do something, sometimes it would be purely because it’s beautiful and makes us feel good. Which is what fashion is all about.
What people and brands really inspire you?
When we talk about fashion futures, one just can’t skip Cute Circuit, who have been innovating in this space since 2004. Also Studio XO especially Nancy Tilbury’s vision on the future of the industry and digital skins. In terms of brands, I love Patagonia’s anti-growth strategy that is guiding their entire business. In the transitional period that we’re in – from obsession with fast fashion to the rise of enough-ism – I think what they’re doing is really brave and has also proved profitable for the company.
Want to know more? Book your place at the INTERLACED 2015 event
All images courtesy of INTERLACED