Fashion Tech competition elevates opportunities in emerging industry

Friday, April 6, 2018

Designers, creatives, developers invited to network, participate in first-ever gathering for state’s fashion workforce, businesses "Fashion Hackathon" April 20-22 at Lawrence Tech in Detroit co-hosted by PMBC, WHIM-Detroit No cost to participants

LANSING, Mich. – In a city known around the world as the capitol of the automotive industry, center of mobility and for inspiring some of the most influential popular music, there’s an intensified focus on the emergence of Detroit’s innovative fashion scene.



With that in mind, Pure Michigan Business Connect and WHIM-Detroit are bringing together designers, creators, developers and fashion industry experts in the first “Fashion Hackathon.” The three-day competition, which provides networking opportunities with industry experts, will be held 5 p.m. Friday, April 20 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at Lawrence Tech University Center for Design + Technology, 4219 Woodward Avenue, Detroit.

The competition is a collaboration between PMBC and WHIM-Detroit, a Detroit-based tech company specializing in the apparel, athletic, retail and fashion 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.”

Since 2011, PMBC initiatives have brought together purchasers and suppliers in 25 distinct industries, including agriculture, automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and energy. The matchmaking gatherings have facilitated $5.73 billion in revenue for Michigan companies, while creating or retaining 27,941 jobs.

"Detroit has been home to makers for many generations and with the goal of diversifying trades and manufacturing we have an opportunity to diversity technology and innovation to bring creatives together in a new and sustainable way,” said Lori McColl, entrepreneur/founder, WHIM-Detroit.

“Finding a new way of working and thinking about fashion and retail is the goal of our Hackathon,” she said.

The format for the Fashion Hackathon includes 6 to 10 teams with two to five participants on each team. At least one person per team will be familiar with writing code. Other team members will include student/graduate in fashion, design, art; retailer or entrepreneur; product/data specialist; and, do-it-yourselfers (i.e. makers of bags, scarves, accessories, etc.).

The teams collaborate to find solutions to hypothetical market-based issue in the retail and fashion industry. Part of the collaboration requires developing web-based solutions.

Participants can sign up individually, in pairs, or as a team. Participants will be notified of the competition schedule prior to the event.

The competition will be judged on the quality of participants’ responses to how their proposed solution presents an innovative approach in addressing the customers’ needs in a target market. Further, judges will consider originality, scalability, creativity and practical application of the ideas. Cash and in-kind prizes will be awarded.

In addition to the competition, there will be panel discussions, technical demonstrations, and networking opportunities with industry experts.

Refreshments will be provided.

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 For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.