Do you have an entrepreneurial mind? Are your thoughts filled with ideas of the possibilities the latest development in advanced fabric has to offer? Well, this may be an opportunity waiting to happen.
What is the Fabric Revolution?
As explained by AFFOA, “Recent breakthroughs in fibers and fabrics are transforming these age-old materials into high tech for the first time in history. Fabrics that can see, hear, sense, communicate, store and converts energy, regulate temperature, monitor health and change color will soon be possible.”
In support of AFFOA’s advanced fabric entrepreneurship ecosystem, AFFOA threw an amazing event called Entrepreneurship Fest ! There was an exciting list of cross-section of companies and individuals in AFFOA’s network that were present. The occasion highlighted networking as well as a poster session presenting AFFOA related ventures and start-ups.
AFFOA’s Entrepreneurship program’s primary goal is to provide support for entrepreneurs by offering access to an extensive array of resources targeted at building marketable value for your product, access to the advanced fabric ecosystem, knowledgeable mentors, technical know how, prototypes, understanding customer perceptions, team construction, and a host of other resources all aligned to prepare the right person for a smooth transition to creating and launching a new and innovative company.
I joined the festivities and spoke to the participants! It’s been an entire year since the members of this unique program have had an opportunity to hone in on the skills learned. We discussed the challenges and the rewards that come along for those participating in the program.
Desire Wallace of Wallace Hosiery commented that she came into this program with the idea of starting a sustainable and bio degradable hosiery company. As time progressed she realized that the original idea transformed into a greater one. This idea can encompass many other products besides hosiery. As she explained, in general, the great challenge is not to get upset if the first attempts don’t go as planned. Persistence is the key! When something doesn’t turn out as planned, it may actually be the beginning of seeing your project and company in a new light, and from there, a new direction can take flight. Desire already has potential customers awaiting her final product to sell in their stores!
One of the participants, Kalea Wear is already selling her garments online! Kalea is inspired and made by Nurses and Doctors for the Medical Professionals. CEO and Founder of Kalea Wear, Dr. Liz Kwo, is a mother of two and felt there was so much missing within the uniform space. She wanted something design friendly and life proof, so she founded Kalea Wear. “We believe your scrubs should support the performance you bring to long shifts and the moments of life that happen in between.” states Dr. Kwo. There are 4 levels of protection in occupational health in the hospital, and most scrubs are just level one, (cotton) At AFFOA, the team of Kalea Wear are working towards having their scrubs to be level 2 protection. Currently, Kalea Wear medical scrubs are antimicrobial, water repellent and 4-Way Stretch. Shop now! https://www.kaleawear.com/
Next, I talked to Neurable. The future of Virtual/Alternate Reality is here! Neurable’s vision is to create a world without limitations. Neurable develops brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) for next-generation computing platforms. Their revolutionary technology allows people to interact with AR/VR environments using only their brain activity. Neurable designs software and solutions that function as a natural extension of our brains, creating new possibilities for human empowerment. This could be a breakthrough for people with mobility issues.
Their approach is science-driven and cross disciplinary, incorporating elements of neuroscience, biology, statistics, machine learning and design to create the ultimate user interface. With Neurable, mixed reality can finally achieve its full potential. AFFOA and Neurable have joined forces to scale the business to the next level.
Multi-material Optical Fiber Dress
By Joshua J. Kaufman, Ph.D.
How it works? An electric current passes through a microscopic metal core which rapidly changes the fiber color. Yarns made of these fibers can be woven into fabrics for use in a multitude of apparel items such as dresses, T shirts, neckties and even full garments such as a sport jacket, blouse or a dress. This multi-material optical fiber dress has made it’s way to the Fashion Institute of Technology’s and has even graced the presence of Martha Stewart !