Your Danish Post

Aarhus Walks On Water: Designing clothes that combine Fashion and Technology – for humans

Throbbing music booms out over the water surrounding DOKK1. A model struts down a catwalk jutting out in the harbour. Caught in light beams, her silhouette is reflected in the water. In the shadows of DOKK1 the other models are waiting, their dresses softly glowing and blinking in the dark. Here technology and fashion meet. Fashion tech has come to Aarhus.

By Inger Stokkink Pictures: Inger Stokkink, Jesper Voldgaard, Sebastian Vistisen Toft

It started as a design competition for design students of VIA University College. It grew to become an international event connecting designers, fashion houses from all over Jutland, engineers, Filmby Aarhus, Aarhus European Capital of Culture, students and even boat builders:

The Aarhus Walks On Water Fashion Show and Talent Award – #AWOW2017

The challenge: design clothes that combine fashion and technology. Eight designer teams made it to the final level with a more specific assignment: design four new items, and re-design four already existing items from established fashion houses.

The article continues below.

Tradition and tech

Manoli Ly Pedersen, engineer and originally from France but now living in Denmark, accepted the challenge. Designer Myroslava Vetokha from Ukraine is her partner. Their vision is almost shockingly normal: make e-wearables that are really wearable. Comfortable. Pretty. Feminine, even.

“I want to make clothes for now, not for the future,” says Myroslava. “Not for robots,” adds Manoli.

She is the engineer in the team, her aim is to mainstream available technology for clothing. “The tech part should just be ‘there’, as part of the design. Not flashy.”

Myroslava’s designs and re-designs are inspired by the Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of the icons of the Art Nouveau movement in the beginning of the twentieth century. The effect of stained glass in clothes is what she was after. Appliqué patterns of leaves and flowers quietly lighting up simple dark coats, jackets and dresses, are the result.

The article continues below.

Walking on air
It’s past ten o’clock, the jury hands out awards. Third prize! Surprised and elated, Manoli and Myroslava walk out hand in hand on the floating catwalk. Before the show, they felt like outsiders.

Where the general trend in fashion tech points towards avant-garde, state of the art and the future, they felt that their choice for the natural and traditional, for user-friendliness – to use computer lingo – would not be appreciated.

However, the jury praised their use of natural fibres, their designs and last but not least, that their designs were almost ready to go into production.

Manoli and Myroslava were matched with Cream, a brand belonging to Danish fashion house DK Company in Herning. Backstage, after the show, chief designer Helle Dahse and her colleagues have a closer look at the re-designs.

Cries of surprise and laughter fill the air: T-shirts have become skirts, tunics have been dip-dyed and pimped with felt brooches, sending out delicate beams of light.

“They understand our DNA, they have a sense for the detail that is exactly like ours, they have captured the way we express femininity,” says Helle Dahse.

She admiringly touches a quietly flashing, embroidered felt coat. These coats, by the way, were designed and sewn in a hurry when Myroslava realised that the show would be outdoors. What else can you do, when comfort is part of your design?

“Ready for production,” said the jury report. What says Helle Dahse?

“Unfortunately, the technology is still too complicated. It’s difficult to wash or clean a coat with electronics inside. But when these problems will be solved in the future – who knows?”

The second prize went to Tiia Maria Jaakola from Finland who was paired with Lego Wear,  and the first prize and Award to Yiyu Chen from Taiwan who was paired with  VRS.

The article continues below.

The eight teams of designers matched with fashion companies were

  1. LEGO ® Wear with Tiia Maria Jaakkola fra Finland

VRS (the house brand of Bilka) with designer Yiyu Chen from Taiwan

CREAM, DK Company with Myroslava Vetokha and Manoli Ly Pedersen from Ukraine og Danmark


KAFFE, DK Company with designers Stanislav Ondrus and Zuzana Jelcicova from Slovakia

LauRie with Zoltan Szepesi and Gaby Gosztola from Hungary

JBS with Ana Manuela Secara from Rumania

CULTURE, DK Company with Boa Kim and Pernille Bech-Larsen from South Korea and Denmark

KAREN BY SIMONSEN, DK Company with Dana Jasinkevica from Letland