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FASHIONSUSTAIN: Three challenges, six highly innovative and sustainable solutions

25 Jul 2018

Think tank with a new dimension – the 2nd edition of the FASHIONSUSTAINBERLIN THINKATHON once again demonstrated the enormous potential of the new design-thinking format. HUGO BOSS, KPMG, Microsoft HoloLens and the Techtextil and Texprocess trade fairs now hold the exclusive rights to implement the concepts proposed.

From a circular wardrobe and a sustainability match-making app, via concepts for the customer experience and interactive retailing, to mixed reality prototyping and sustainability speed dating – these are the results of the 2nd FASHIONSUSTAINBERLIN THINKATHON, which was held concurrently with the FASHIONSUSTAINBERLIN conference on 2 and 3 July. Thus, the new design-thinking format once again showed how multi-disciplinary teams can develop highly innovative solutions relevant to the sector in a very short space of time. This time, the challenges were set by HUGO BOSS, KPMG, Microsoft HoloLens and the Techtextil and Texprocess trade fairs.

The strengths of the THINKATHON are “inspiration and interdisciplinarity”, says Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles and Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt. “The THINKATHON teams are characterised by their heterogeneous composition of innovators and thought leaders. The high-speed top results achieved by the participants are impressive. For us at Messe Frankfurt, the THINKATHON is a progressive format for success that, after only two editions, is now a component part of our Berlin Fashion Week event at the Kraftwerk event centre”, adds Olaf Schmidt.

The THINKATHON participants, their mentors and representatives of the challenge hosts presented their innovative results and solutions after a two-day conclave. HUGO BOSS, KPMG, Microsoft HoloLens and Techtextil/Texprocess now hold the exclusive rights to turn the concepts presented into reality.

“Sustainability is an integral part of the HUGO BOSS corporate strategy”, says Andreas Streubig, Director Global Sustainability, HUGO BOSS AG. In the design-for-tomorrow challenge, the German fashion company challenged the THINKATHON participants to show what a market-leading circular service model for a premium fashion brand could look like. The Blue Team proposed an ‘Customer Experience Upgrade’, which could be transformed into a sustainable and circular experience, and enriched by innovative features such as a C2C reselling platform and a combined online and offline concept store.

In distinction to this idea, the Purple Team presented its ‘Circular Wardrobe App’: an app designed to draw customers’ attention to their wardrobe – to its recyclability, financial value and environmental impact. With the aid of an environment-oriented logistics chain, events and interactive tools, customers could be integrated into the circular economy concept in an entertaining and simple way.

“With our positive response to the circular fashion system commitment of the Global Fashion Agenda, we accept responsibility with respect to declining global resources and are setting the stage for a cooperative search for solutions in the textile sector”, adds Streubig. Continuing, he says, “The FASHIONSUSTAIN THINKATHON is the ideal way to tackle the challenges facing us: it is international and brings together the world’s best minds; it is collaborative because the common goal is superordinate to all competition. In particular, however, it gives the young generation the opportunity to play a role in moulding the future.”

In a joint challenge, KPMG and Microsoft HoloLense asked the participants to consider the subject of ‘mixed reality’, i.e., systems that blend the user’s natural and artificial perception, for example, through intelligent links to e-commerce and the creation of shopping experiences. In this connection, KMPG and Microsoft HoloLense wanted to hear from the THINKATHON participants how these technologies could be used to make the fashion industry more sustainable. To this end, the Yellow Team came up with an “interactive retail concept’. If a collective of regional brands and designers use mixed-reality applications; the sustainability of their business models and the visibility of their products would be improved from companies receiving feedback from customers who have experienced their products via the HoloLens.

The Green Team proposed using mixed reality to make production more transparent, efficient and visual. The Microsoft HoloLens would provide a new collaboration quality for production companies and their business partners and thus generate value added – they call their approach ‘Mixed Reality Prototyping’. “The THINKATHON created the space for interdisciplinary creative teams to develop innovative approaches for Fashion industry with the use of augmented Reality. These concepts do have the potential to enhance sustainability in this market“, says KPMG consultant Jenny Kirsch.

In the third challenge, ‘Techtextil’s Circular Change Challenge’, the teams were asked by the Techtextil and Texprocess trade fairs to look at the textile value chain and asked how all participants along it could be involved in the transformation of the industry towards greater sustainability, reusability and recyclability. “It was great to see how intense the two teams discussed and worked on our challenge. The approaches and results are really interesting and will definitively be part of our further discussions”, said Michael Jänecke, Director Brand Management Technical Textiles, Techtextil.

The Red Team came up with a ‘Sustainability Matchmaking App’ that links visitor needs with sustainable innovations by Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors. The knowledge-exchange and networking platform makes sustainability endeavours and progress visible and, simultaneously, triggers customer and exhibitor cooperation and innovations in the interests of sustainability. The Orange Team called its idea ‘Sustainable Speed Dating’. The idea: to bring together Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors with leading companies from the sustainability sector via a variety of platforms, such as satellite events during fairs, on-going support and mentoring programmes and chaired speed dating.

The THINKATHON is an unrivalled design-thinking format organised by on behalf of Messe Frankfurt. The next THINKATON will be held within the framework of the NEONYT fair and conference platform during the Berlin Fashion Week in January 2019 and will thus be a component part of the new hub for the future of fashion.

The THINKATHON brings together thought leaders from different fields to focus their individual knowledge and expertise and, in this way, to find solutions to a specific problem in a limited time. Concurrently with the FASHIONSUSTAINBERLIN conference, interdisciplinary teams take up challenges posed by the industry in a design-thinking event. The THINKATHON brings together researchers and consultants with designers, engineers, start-ups and MA students. In small groups, they answer questions from progressive companies and initiatives for the future of fashion and textiles. Their proposals are based on multi-disciplinary collaborations and focus on sustainable, technological practices and innovations in the corporate sector.

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Further details to Messe Frankfurt’s global textile fairs:

Press contact:
Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH
Thimo Schwenzfeier
Director Marketing Communications
Tel: +49 69 75 75 62 91

Kern Kommunikation
Alex Vogt
Tel: +49 69 65 00 57 32

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,400 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €669 million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
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