The Australian fashion industry has experienced a drastic change over the past two decades due to reduction in tariff levels and increase in costs of domestic production. Many of the larger labels have moved textile clothing and footwear activities offshore to places like China, India and other low wage economies, to save costs and ensure sustainability; and promising young designers are struggling to make their mark. Although fashion is fast-paced when it comes to design and trends, the industry as a whole isn’t forward thinking. Although we’re diverging rapidly into a digital world, the fashion industry in Australia is only just beginning to see the influence of technology.
This is why FashHack – Australia’s first fashion tech hackathon founded by Sydney-based entrepreneur Victoria Lai – is bringing together up to 100 aspiring entrepreneurs, fashion thinkers and technologists under one roof to come up with innovative solutions for the industry.
“We are creating a platform for people with diverse skill sets to meet, join forces, learn, experiment and invent,” said Lai. “This is the first time a hackathon will specifically focus on the pain points facing the fashion and retail industries in Australia.”
The winning team will receive a prize package including office space, mentorship with fashion tech entrepreneurs and startup leaders like Jodie Fox, Founder of Shoes of Prey; Ben Moir, Founder of Wearable Experiments; Jess Wilson, Founder of Stashd App; Phil Morle, Founder of Pollenizer; Pete Cooper, Founder of iCentral and The Start Society; Ben Wirtz, Senior Product Manager at Atlassian, among many more. Hackathon judges will include a mix of experienced tech and fashion industry executives and VCs.
FashHack joins a select group of organisations facilitating the growth of fashion tech collaborations worldwide. Hosted in New York in 2013, Decoded Fashion presented the world’s first ever Fashion Tech Hackathon, which saw hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs compete for their share in thousands of dollars worth of funding. Similar events have since been staged in London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Founder of Decoded Fashion, Liz Bacelar, says the purpose of fashion hackathons is “to educate tech creators on the needs of the fashion industry, while showing to fashion leaders the limitless possibilities of tech.”
Lai is on board with this sentiment, saying it’s important for fashion and retail brands to actively seek innovation to keep their business relevant.
The competition will take place on the weekend of Friday 19 June at Fishburners. There will also be an official launch event on Thursday 11 June, featuring a mix of speakers at the intersection of fashion, business and technology. More information is available via fashhackaustralia.com.