Berlin-based fashion technologist Lisa Lang realised the potential in the Fash-Tech scene and started her journey when the whole world, like she says, was unaware of and sleeping away it’s importance. In a very insightful conversation with Utsavi Jha, the pioneering Fashion technologist of Elektrocouture revealed her relationship with Tech, her idea of the future it holds and lot many interesting facts.
Exhibit: Lisa Lang- the brand has grown to become a celebrated one in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. What do you feel when you look back now?
Lisa Lang: It’s great because in the early times when I started, nobody really talked about this topic that much. What I always wanted to find out is how can we make TechFashion real. That’s how everything started and I realised that there’s not a solution out there so I just decided to do it myself. Big companies around the world want to get into this field but they can’t do this on their own so we do it for them. It’s nice to see that the idea I saw years ago is taking shape now.
Exhibit: What motivated you to enter the Fash-Tech market?
Lisa Lang: In the beginning, it was just a need; we weren’t designed to be a company. I just designed a few things for myself and wore it, and all the people around me went crazy like, ‘I want to buy this!’ And then I realised that I could start a company now!
Exhibit: How do you blend Tech with Fashion?
Lisa Lang: Everything has to start together at the same time. What happened in the past is that either tech developed something and we used design as an afterthought or vice versa. But what’s important is that fash-tech is at the same level and hence the designer has to start working on the concept from day 1 and work together; there’s no hierarchy, it’s a partnership, not a competition.
Exhibit: How would you like to describe your style of design?
Lisa Lang: Eclectic. I also like that everything has become very simple but of high quality. I love symmetry and a lot of my pieces are very symmetrical. It’s also about how to make women more powerful.
Exhibit: How difficult was building the Tech-Fashion scene from the ground up?
Lisa Lang: I’m really happy to see the progress. In the beginning, it was like everyone around you is sleeping and that you’re the only one awake and you’re the only one saying, ‘Don’t you see this, people? Don’t you see what’s coming?’. For me, it was never a question of “if”, it was a question of “when”. The market is huge and I’m glad to have more and more people coming in with their creative designs!
Exhibit: Lisa Lang and Tech – what is the relationship like on a personal level?
Lisa Lang: I can tell you what I’m wearing at the moment- several wearable tech items because I like to practise what we preach. If we want to tell people to let technology become normal, then for us it’s already normal. For instance, I’m wearing a smart ring; it opens doors for me, my business card is saved in the ring, it’s really cold here in Berlin so I’m wearing smart textile that helps me keep warm…does that answer your question?
Exhibit: You collaborate with brands and develop products to provide solutions. Which has been your favourite?
Lisa Lang: There are many but my favourite is the Marlene glow dress.
“ 80 percent of the industry is women and I see future education in Fashion-Tech as a beautiful way for younger women to get into technology with a fashion interface. ”
Exhibit: How is the Fashion-Tech scene right now in Europe?
Lisa Lang: On one side, Germany is strong in textile production but what happens is that Germany does not have too much fashion apparel production anymore because it’s gone to other countries. On the other side, Germany is known as the country of engineers so we have technical expertise in textile production of high quality. Eastern Europe is also waking up but I feel that it’s no longer about Asia, Europe or America; the Fashion scene is spreading and has become global now. We are all travelling and doing work everywhere. The nice thing I like in this scene is that is that we all know each other and that’s what I really like; I like the respectful connection we have. 80 percent of the industry is women and I see future education in Fashion-Tech as a beautiful way for younger women to get into technology with a fashion interface.
Exhibit: The lines are disappearing as Fashion becomes more global with social media. Any comments on that?
Lisa Lang: There’s a reason why people who didn’t know about all of us on the global map now do. Social media is a huge tool. This platform works really best. Now there is no excuse for anybody to not get up and be known because the tools are all there!
Exhibit: What are your thoughts on the tech scene in the world right now?
Lisa Lang: Technology still has more to understand that you can’t have a separate emotional connection to a function. If you want to go into the market you have to understand that people are usually afraid of technology and now it’s the technologist’s job to make technology more acceptable.
The secret is to use the interface with a protecting layer. For example, if you look at the Tesla car, technologywise they don’t have to look like a car but they do because it’s an interface people will understand. Under the bonnet, the technology is different than normal cars but people understand this concept because this kind of technology is in the shape of a car. In that way, Tesla is making it really smart. My message is- make it easier for your users to use. The argument that the user does not know how to use technology just doesn’t work anymore. If you don’t make your products useful, beautiful and user-friendly, then you’re not going to successful. This is what Steve Jobs and Apple have taught us for many, many decades that it’s okay being smart and pretty at the same time.
Exhibit: What or who inspires you?
Lisa Lang: That’s a very interesting question. On one side I have always been inspired by Science and Technology, but one of my inspirations is Coco Chanel. For me, Coco is actually a Fashion Technologist because what she did back then is her way of revolution when she put pockets on women’s jackets. At that time it was impossible because women had a jacket and a handbag as the style. I saw that when she put a pocket, it didn’t obstruct the design but just made the garment more useful than it was before without compromising on the design. What she did by adding a pocket in the jacket is that she added a function through a garment and that is what a good fashion technologist does. This is what drives me.
Exhibit: Where do you see your brand in the next few years in the global perspective?
Lisa Lang: We would be collaborating more and more. At the end of the day, it’s a textile company collaborating with a software company, our collaboration with Google for instance. Everybody needs something new, they’re all looking for the next big thing. There are great opportunities for traditional textile companies or super high-end technology companies to work together more and more. So we will see more collaborations around the globe.
Exhibit: Words of advice for aspiring fashion designers.
Lisa Lang: First of all, collaborate, collaborate, collaborate! Go and enhance few things on your own. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, see the world as an endless line of opportunities. It’s all about mindset; if you decide for yourself that everything you need is a problem then you will never get anywhere. See the world as an opportunity and you will find everything you need. Also, be confident; just go for it, blast it on social media, talk about it, talk about it all the time. There are so many people everywhere who would love to see more fabulous garments. More and more tech-fashion events are happening all around the world now all the time. When I started 3 years ago, there were almost none! Each city is now interested. There are so many platforms, so many opportunities to put yourself on the map; you just have to go and find them, and hustle, hustle, hustle. Never give up!
Exhibit: Are you aware of the fashion scene in India?
Lisa Lang: Yes, actually in March 2016 I got invited from Lakme Fashion Week and we were the ones who had a tech collection on the runway. We would love to return in future for a suitable opportunity!