Labeledby | Work in Progress
Every two weeks we ask a design or tech talent about his or her work in progress. This edition: Jessica Joosse and Fabienne van der Weiden. Together they started LABELEDBY. a project to change the fashion industry. They’ve developed high tech tools to make customized clothing and feel like it’s time for the next step: using their knowledge outside the fashion industry too.
Q. What is your background?
A. "We both studied Industrial Design at the TU/e and specialized in high-tech textile processing. 3D printing and laser cutting are techniques we often use. We just found a workspace in the former ABN AMRO building near the Hurk. Fashion technology designer Marina Toeters has settled here to connect professionals in fashion and technology. It's great to work here and share knowledge. Together we can also take on larger assignments."
Q. Tell us about your project?
A. "As students we did of research on production processes and working conditions in the fashion industry. We were amazed at how little high-tech there is in the manufacturing process, while technology is so advanced and offers so many opportunities. An important development we saw was the demand for customized products. We decided to build a 3D printer with which you can print on textiles. This makes the production process more automated and you can use it to create beautiful, personal designs. Moreover, the entire process produces little waste."
Q. A gap in the market?
A. "We are indeed seeing an increase in the demand for customized products. Even at Zara you can now customize your clothing. Last week we were in Frankfurt and talked to Karl Mayer, a large textile machine manufacturer, and there too we noticed great interest in 3D printing technology. So we are in a very interesting market, but at the same time it is difficult to get anything off the ground as a starting entrepreneur. Over the last year, we have been thinking a lot about who we really are. Machine builders, fashion designers, salespeople? As a startup, you have to wear many hats, but it's also good to focus on one thing."
"It's a process of many meetings, drinking lots of coffees and a mindfuck here and there.
Let me explain the mindfuck: we have come out of many inspiring meeting, feeling energized and thinking: yes, this is how we're going to do it! But then after a while, reality hits you and things turn out to be different in practice. We've come to the conclusion that we're not going to build a factory for the time being, but that we want to use our knowledge in companies. Within the fashion industry, but also outside. A car, for example, also contains textiles, and it is precisely in this sector that the demand for personalized products is high.”
Q. What drives you?
A. "Changing the fashion industry, that's how it started for us. Why do so many people still work in such miserable conditions? Why is the process totally unsustainable and mainly based on mass production? We looked for an alternative, involving a lot of tech and local manufacturing. We built a 3D printer measuring 1.5 by 1.5 metres and actually wanted to open a factory here in Eindhoven to produce customized clothing on demand. But we can't get it off the ground here.”
“In the meantime we did get a call from Bangladesh, where a lot of clothing is made. A manufacturer there showed interest in our expertise and asked if we wanted to come to the Fashionology Summit in Dhaka, a conference on innovation in the fashion industry. Last year we went for the second time and curated the fashion show at the Summit. That was a great experience."
Q. Who inspires you?
A. Jessica: "For me, that's fashion designer Iris van Herpen. Even before I started studying ID, I was fascinated by her work. The way she knows how to make technology visible and sexy I think is clever." Fabienne: "At first I was mainly inspired by her creations, but now perhaps even more by how she approaches her business. How to form a team in which different specialists come together."
Q. What do you get from Eindhoven?
A. Jessica: "I think it's great that Eindhoven is much more than just a tech city. The city is bursting with creativity. It's precisely the combination of tech and design that produces interesting projects." Fabienne: "For me, it's a city that's bustling. A lot is changing here and the variety is great. You'll find vintage boutiques next to a super modern shop, I like that."
“Eindhoven is much more than just a tech city.”
Q. How can we help you?
A. "We would like to meet companies that are looking for experts in innovative textile processing and want to work together in that area. Or someone who can put us in touch with such companies."
Do you have any tips or connections to share with Jessica and Fabienne, please leave a comment on LinkedIn. Together we can help each other!
Telling a good story is usually easier afterwards. Looking back on your enormous success or that one moment when you took a wrong turn. But what if you’re at the very beginning of something new? When you feel like having gold in your hands, but still have a long way to go. Every two weeks we ask a designer about his or her work in progress. And if there's anything we can help with. If you’d like to know how, keep reading! Would you like to tell us about your project in ‘Work in progress’? Send us an e-mail!