First-ever Michigan Fashion + Tech Hackathon aims to attract investments and create jobs
Detroit, MI -- Detroit is all about making tomorrow better than today. April 20-22 were great days for Detroit, thanks to regional fashion and technology students and professionals who competed in the first annual Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon to solve real problems facing established brands in the industry. The event occurred from 5 p.m. Friday, April 20 until 3 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at Lawrence Tech University Center for Design + Technology, 4219 Woodward Avenue, Detroit.
The Hackathon brought participants from Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit together for the weekend challenge with a thoughtful balance of students, freelancers, and experienced industry professionals all competing for cash and other prizes. Cash prizes of $800, $600 and $400 were awarded to the top three winners. Hack-a-bon took first place and ExemplAR took second place after the pitches.
The format for the Hackathon consisted of teams including two to five participants each. The teams collaborated to find solutions to real market-based challenges in the retail and fashion industries. Part of the collaboration required developing web-based solutions.
The Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon was judged on the quality of participants’ responses to how their proposed solution presented an innovative approach in addressing the customers’ needs in a target market. Further, judges considered originality, scalability, creativity, and practical implementation of the solution.
“I want to thank everyone who was involved with this event. It was an inspiration to see a vision come to life and to see how excited participants and supporters were to bring this type of event to the region,” said Lori McColl, Founder of Whim-Detroit. “This event presented real challenges for brands, who are looking to scale and grow their businesses, so teams were able to connect to the problem statements.”
Topics discussed throughout the weekend ranged from the local fashion ecosystem to the global luxury and innovation trends and challenges.
The Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon was co-hosted by Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC), an initiative of the MEDC, and Whim, a Detroit-based tech company specializing in the apparel, athletic, and retail industries.
“This region has an incredible range of innovators in industry, the arts, music and fashion, and our goal is to elevate the profile of the fashion industry,” said Ryan Michael, director of PMBC. “As with our other programs, the long-term goal is to build a sustainable ecosystem to attract private investment and create jobs.”
The 36-hour competition brought together designers, creators, and developers, and provided networking opportunities with industry experts, and was created as a strategic event to attract investment and create jobs for Detroit.
"Detroit has been home to makers for many generations. With the goal of diversifying trades and manufacturing, we have an opportunity to diversify technology and innovation to bring creatives together in a new and sustainable way,” states McColl.
The event was made possible with support of numerous sponsors. Platinum and technical sponsors included: Bedrock, who supported participants Bonobos and Ash & Erie, and Google. Swag sponsors included: WeWork, Detroit Gourmet Nut Company, and The Renewal Workshop. Community partners included: William + Bonnie, Northof41.org, Alchemy Detroit, Vajze, Detroit Denim Co., and Embrace Creatives.
To get involved in the 2nd annual next Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon as a sponsor, mentor, or participant, stop by detroitfashionhackathon.com.
About Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon
The 36-hour Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon brings together creatives, makers, and tech to create solutions to the problems facing the fashion and retail industries. The goal of the event is to support the overall foundation of innovation in Detroit.
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Whim-Detroit was founded with the mission to promote diversity in tech and innovation. Inclusive of a team doing game-changing work, Whim-Detroit pushes the limits of innovation, taking risks, and working with passion. Together, the Whim-Detroit team has more than 20 years of global experience in creative design, digital strategy, enterprise implementations, business transformations, and data analytics.
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About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.