Telekom Fashion Fusion 2018 Winners Announced

After much anticipation, Telekom Fashion Fusion has announced smart fashion company Keypod as the winner of its third annual competition. The team from Isreal won over the jury with their market readiness and connectivity. Founders Sharon Greenberg, Roman Alperovich, and Einat Israeli took home the prize of 15,000 euros, which will go towards further developing their project. The announcement was made on the closing day of Berlin Fashion Week in June in front of more than 300 guests from the fashion and tech industries.

Keypod is a small, thin, flexible patch that can be sewed, glued, or pocketed into almost any accessory or apparel item to make it interactive and connected. On the KeyPod platform, designers, brands, and manufacturers can easily turn regular fashion items into IoT-enabled objects. Keypod is on a mission to keep the mobile generation seamlessly connected while allowing them to live in the moment.

“When you need to use your smartphone or smartwatch while running, cycling, or working, it forces you to disconnect from the activity and requires at least five steps to activate or manage your favourite sports app, your music playlist, or any other app,” explains Greenberg. “We designed the simplest interface that people can use without looking at their smartphones. It means that your apparel or accessory becomes the simplest platform to manage your smartphone, so you can keep on focusing on the experience without giving up your useful digital services.”

The unit isn’t just light and flexible, it’s also washable and has years of battery life. “Keypod really adds superpowers to any item,” Greenberg explains.

You may have read about Fashion Fusion on Electric Runway last year. The program, funded by Deutsche Telekom, supports visionary concepts by startups. Pitches come from entrepreneurs in areas of fashion, technology, and product design. Their goal is to leverage digital technologies to connect apparel, accessories, and devices together intelligently in ways that provide users with new and innovative benefits.

Second prize was awarded to Zsófi Lévai, Sarolta Setet, and Zoltán Istenes from Budapest for their Interknitting project. Their idea: make interpersonal communication visible through interfaces integrated into clothing. One interface responds to noises, while another reacts to movement and touch. The project can even visualize encounters between two people, and the interactions are displayed in LED lights integrated into knitted clothing.

Third prize was won by Nele Köstler and Jonas Diezun from Munich, for their Radice project. The business idea of Radice is based on the desire to help people have restful sleep. While many apps help users to structure and shape their everyday lives (and work) better and more efficiently, the Radice team has designed an innovative sleeping mask to help customers get a fresh, active start to the day.

As a part of the program, the finalist teams were given until the end of June to get their prototypes ready. The participants could draw on a significant pool of expertise and were provided with all materials necessary to bring their ideas to life.

“I’m delighted to see how successful the program has grown to be over the last two years on the fashion & tech scene,” says Antje Hundhausen, Vice President Brand Experience at Deutsche Telekom and founder of Fashion Fusion. “Identifying digital lifestyle trends early, driving them with the help of the high-caliber experts and sectoral movers and shakers in the jury, as well as bring on the best prototypes as far as market readiness stage – that’s what sets apart the innovative spirit of Fashion Fusion. Technology is unquestionably set to continue to change the fashion and lifestyle industry. Our goal is to influence that process, to make sure that user-friendly solutions form part of such changes and that the process enriches the day-to-day life of people.”

A high-caliber jury made up of renowned representatives from fashion and industry selected the eight best ideas from the many submissions in three categories: Connected Devices & Smart Accessories, Haute Couture & Show Fashion, and Business Solutions & Smart Services. Members of the jury included; Burak Cakmak, Dean of Fashion at the Parsons School of Design; Christin Eisenschmid, VP & Germany Country Manager at Intel; Nikolaus Röttger, WIRED Germany, and more.

The Deutsche Telekom Fashion Fusion competition is supported by Adidas and Intel, as well as the Premium International Fashion Trade Show and many other well-known partners. To learn more about the program, visit their website here. 

Amanda Cosco
Amanda is a freelance journalist and consultant focused on the intersection of fashion and technology and the founder of Electric Runway.

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