2020 Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon Creates Innovative Solutions to Global Problems Facing the Fashion and Retail Industries
Oct. 01, 2020
By A.Victoria MAE
2020 Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon Creates Innovative Solutions to Global Problems
Facing the Fashion and Retail Industries
Winning team from virtual 36-hour hackathon event announced
Detroit – The 2020 Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon (DF+TH) brought together 93 registrants from 11 countries and 11 states to solve real problems facing established brands in the fashion and retail industries. The 36-hour event kicked off Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. EDT and ran until 3:20 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. The DF+TH was co-hosted by Whim and Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC), an initiative of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
For the past three years, the DF+TH has set a number of goals related to diversity, creativity, and community. It achieved these diversity goals in 2020 by having 93 registrants from 11 countries and 11 states, 53 percent female registrants, and a mixture of registrant expertise in technology (29 percent), fashion (26 percent), both areas (17 percent), and other, including the automotive industry (28 percent). Last year, the DF+TH hosted 70 participants, becoming the largest retail and apparel innovation challenge in the Midwest, a title the DF+TH is still proud to hold in 2020.
“The Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon is unique,” said Lori McColl, Founder of DF+TH and Whim. “We’ve created something not every team can finish. The event focuses on human capital and pushes people out of their comfort zones, creating a prime display of collaboration.”
Prizes valued at more than $7,500 were awarded to the top three winning teams. First place received a $900 cash prize from TCF Bank, an entrepreneur package valued at $5,000 from ISM, Inc., and a three-month subscription to MixPose, a streaming platform for yoga and fitness professionals. Team Seamly, consisting of Kai Cui, Joshua Asker, Tammy Ong, Rifayat Uddin, and Avery Green, received first place with their solution.
The second-place team received a $600 cash prize from TCF Bank, two free sessions of 1:1 Technical Mentorship valued at $300 from Shift_Up, and a three-month subscription to MixPose. Team General Coders, consisting of Ashley Newman, Thomas Newman, Chelsea Wylie, and Christopher Wylie, received second place.
Third place received a $300 cash prize from TCF Bank, one free session of 1:1 Technical Mentorship valued at $150 from Shift_Up, and a three-month subscription to MixPose. Team Sus Supply, consisting of Vaidehi Ambardekar, Chioma Onukwuire, Yilin Jia, Ali Azzawi, and Tanya Sandeep Gupta, received third place for their solution.
There were two business challenges for the weekend. The first challenge, supported by Detroit Denim Co., centered around customer experience manufacturing. The second challenge, supported by Deviate Fashion, focused on AI and machine learning.
“I’m amazed at how much was accomplished in a 36-hour time frame,” said Eric Yelsma, Founder of Detroit Denim Co. “We were thrilled (and a little overwhelmed) by the scope and thoughtfulness of the winning presentation. It would have taken us months to get that type of work done. We are very excited to implement their ideas.”
The first-place team, Team Seamly, presented the best solution to Detroit Denim’s problem statement. Team Seamly created a new front-end experience for a made-to-order Shopify plug-in.
“I’m excited to share the news that our team, Team Seamly, won first place in this year’s Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon,” said Team Seamly participant, Kai Cui. “We had an incredibly talented and diverse team. I am so proud of our team! A big shout out to Lori. Thanks for hosting this amazing event!”
The 36-hour competition provided participants with unique mentorship as well. Whim and its mentor partner, Grand Circus, provided over six mentors with skills in computer science, systems engineering, manufacturing, and artificial intelligence. The mentors worked closely with participants throughout the weekend.
With collaboration from mentors, problem statement partners, and sponsors, this year’s teams brought new ideas to the table, as the industry adopts new methods of innovation to bridge the gap between consumers and fashion.
About Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon
The 36-hour Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon brings together creativity and technology to develop solutions to the problems facing the fashion and retail industries. This event supports the overall foundation of innovation in Detroit.
In a rapidly changing business world, Whim designs innovation models that grow new revenue channels, drive efficiencies in business, and leverage the latest technology to meet customers’ needs. With more than 50 years of collective experience, Whim knows how to follow the rules and when to break them to drive business strategies and design tailored architecture. Whim speaks your language, provides ongoing support, and ensures the return on investment.
About Pure Michigan Business Connect & Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Pure Michigan Business Connect is a free MEDC service that identifies procurement, engineering, and other supply chain opportunities from local, national, and global companies and proactively seeks to connect them to qualified Michigan companies and partners.
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.