First-ever Michigan Fashion + Tech Hackathon Aims to Attract Investments and Create Jobs


    It is an innovative idea – bring together industry experts in technology, fashion and related creative industries for 36 hours and see what happens.

    Recently, the first Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon merged creatives, makers, and tech to create solutions to the problems facing the fashion and retail industries. The goal of the event, which hopes to become an annual get-together, is to support the overall foundation of innovation in Detroit.

    The Hackathon, which took place in April, 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.

    Creating innovation
    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.

    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,” Ryan Michael, director of PMBC, said in a statement. “As with our other programs, the long-term goal is to build a sustainable ecosystem to attract private investment and create jobs.”