Fashion Tech Farm | Work in Progress
The Fashion Tech Farm is a hub for fashion technology companies. In an old bank building on Zeelsterstraat, Marina Toeters and her husband Matthijs Vertooren started this studio, incubator and production facility in one two years ago. The place is now home to seven companies and several scientists and artists.
In addition to running the Farm, Marina herself supervises several projects. We went to visit her and asked what she is working on now.
Have you always worked in fashion?
"I studied Fashion Design at HKU and started to specialize in innovation in fashion, especially in the application of technology in textiles. I advise companies on how best to adapt their production process if they want to incorporate electronics into t-shirts, for example. And I teach one day a week at Industrial Design at TU/e."
What do you see as important developments in your field?
"Fashion is mainly about identity, I am fascinated by the functional side of it. For example, why heat or cool an entire building, if you could also regulate the tempurate with your clothes? I work a lot with printed electronics, and what really interests me right now is the question of what happens to a product when it reaches the end of its life. A t-shirt might last a few years, but what do you do with the textile and the electronics in it after that? That question is still rarely asked."
You used to live in Utrecht. Why did you choose Eindhoven?
Smiles: "Well, eighty percent of the invoices I sent went to Eindhoven, so that made it an easy desicion. But seriously, there are many parties here with knowledge in the field of design and technology. I myself am closely linked to TU/e, but also work with Holst Centre and young, innovative companies from the region."
Were you able to find a house in Eindhoven easily?
“We were lucky to find a house here in the street quickly. But our plan is to build a floor on top of the Fashion Tech Farm, so we can work and live in the same place. Just like a real farm actually. Our goal is to create a recognizable and exciting place in Strijp, which is seen as a center of innovative fashion."
What project are you working on now?
"I would like to contribute to making healthcare more sustainable. When my grandmother had COVID-19 and she had to be cared for four times a day, I saw the garbage bags of disposable wear accumulating in front of her door. Each time, a care worker had to put on protective clothing that was then thrown away. We want to disinfect that protective clothing with UVC light, so you can use it again afterwards."
UVC light is also used in corona time for cleaning aircraft, for example.
"True. But it is also common to work with UVC light in operating rooms. The challenge lies in the material. Hard surfaces are easier to sterilize than soft ones. With textiles, virus particles can migrate into the fibers and you have shaded areas that are harder to reach. We are now investigating how the UV light can penetrate anywhere in the clothing."
Is there anything we can help you with?
"We're looking for a testing group to join us in combating medical waste. So, are you a healthcare worker who uses protective robes and would like to participate in our pilot to sterilize protective clothing with UVC units? If so, we'd love to get in touch with you."