An interview with Lisa Lang, designer and founder of ElektroCouture.
Lisa, in these times of digitization, technology touches everything, and fashion is no exception. Should we be afraid that fashion will fall victim to digitization?
Lisa Lang: Oh no, not at all, I don't think. Fashion has always been influenced by technology in some form or another. Whether that be the sewing machine, the zip, stretch material – they were all futuristic technologies in their time before becoming normal, also through the fashion industry. In fact, I see it absolutely as an opportunity for new designers, as well as for long-established designers to reinvent themselves and get back to playing and having a bit of fun.
Style versus gadget: Will it be more important in the future what my clothes can do rather than what they look like?
Lisa Lang: That always depends on who you ask. I think, for fashion – and that's why it's called #FASHIONTECH, with "fashion" coming first – the story and the design are always the most important thing. That is their 'raison d'être'. But I also think, if you build in too much technology and function into something, whether a gadget or a piece of clothing, then it simply won't be accepted by the general public, because you just look like a robot. We are familiar with the user interface "jacket," we are familiar with the user interface "dress." And then inserting technology step by step, I think, is a natural way, much better and much more pleasant than just jumping straight to the disco ball.
But the most important thing is that we need to talk to each other. We need to listen to each other and in doing so, move a little away from our normal process so as to take the next step in innovation. The machines, the technology, fashion itself are not the problem. It is the people who now have to reprogram the machines.
If you were to venture a prediction, would you say that smart fashion will go main-stream in the next ten years, or will it always just be a trend for real hi-tech fans?
Lisa Lang: I am utterly convinced it will be mainstream. Because it's technologically possible. It's possible in design terms. We have the manufacturers, we have the textile manufacturers, we have the microchips, we have the battery technologies. It's no problem at all. I think, where it might fall down is if the heavyweights can't communicate with each other. In the meantime, huge numbers of small companies will bring huge numbers of great products to the market – because they are more agile and lean. And this isn't just the future, it is truly already happening now, has been for years at a very high level and now at a very international level. I think the question is not if, but rather when. A lot will happen in ten years.