By Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
"Never underestimate the power of a good team and your support system (family & friends). Work hard but make room for some time for yourself to recharge and relax".
Where is Interlaced based and how did you come up with the idea?
INTERLACED is a London-based media and events organisation covering the most exciting and innovative ideas in fashion and technology. We do this through our content online – interviews with fashion tech pioneers, features, event recaps – and through events and meetups offline. The idea is to bring together the four key audiences shaping the future of fashion – the startups, established companies from the fashion and tech worlds, academia (researchers and emerging designers and technologists) and the end consumer. Through everything that we do we want to facilitate a conversation between these diverse stakeholders which will shape the future of fashion.
When did you launch and do yo have other members in your team?
We officially started in February 2015 and focused all our towards organising our first one-day event, which took place in September that year. INTERLACED 2015 was a conference and expo about the future of fashion and featured one of the first fashion tech catwalk shows in Europe. The other two key members of INTERLACED are Karina Abu Eshe and Hristiyan Pavlov.
How long did it take you to be where you are now?
We put together the conference and the show in less than 9 months which was quite ambitious. Since then, we've focused on our online content and partnering with other conference oevent organisers as co-producers or media supporters. I also regularly take part in industry events as a speaker, panelist or moderator.
What was the biggest obstacle?
Raising awareness about INTERLACED and what we do. It's one thing if you're a serial entrepreneur, with a huge network, who's starting yet another venture, and a completely different scenario if you're someone who's just starting out from scratch.
What are the challenges of being a female entrepreneur in fashion tech?
Fashion tech is a wonderful new space at the intersection of two equally exciting industries. Sometimes however you might feel like you don't fit in either of those. I've been to fashion shows where people haven't heard of heat-sensitive fabrics or smart garments. At the sime time, I've been to tech events where attendees think being in fashion is all about making cute skirts or taking pretty pictures. That's, of course, beginning to change, and more and more people from the fashion and tech world start to be interested in what the other industry does and appreciating it too. It's an exciting time.
It's more difficult for female founders in any industry but I feel like fashion tech is one area where there's been real push to champion and celebrate them. The majority of people in the field who I've met are women actually and they're doing an indredible job at shaping this emerging area in the right way.
What projects are you currently working on?
We've partnered with BDYHAXCON to co-produce a Put Together fashion tech show, as part of their 2017 conference and aexpo, which will take place in January. We're looking for exciting and innovative designers to join, so you're interested get in touch!
What will be the key trends in the industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
I believe we will see more long-lasting collaborations between fashion houses and technology companies, not just prototypes that don't go beyond press events. I hope that fashion companies will realise they need more time to innovate in the space and dedicate entire teams and even divisions to focus on integrating technology into their garments. Lastly, I believe that, if consumers are educated as to what is fashion tech (hint: it's not a smartwatch) and how such products can benefit their lives, demand from the public for this type of innovation will continue to rise.
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, co-founder of Women of Wearables and Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.