UK government encourages tech in fashion by offering cash incentives

Worried that the UK isn't doing enough to embrace technology in fashion design, IC tomorrow, a technology strategy board programme backed by the UK government, has launched a £120,000 competition to find a solution.

The competition will focus around the areas of design, retail, online and mobile and aims to come up with some creative ideas to help fashion designers and shops improve their standing.

Four awards of £30,000 are being offered by the competition, which is open to all companies and developers – not just those currently involved in the fashion industry.

The four partners are the London College of Fashion's Centre of Fashion Enterprise, augmented retail company Holiton, Boxpark in Shoreditch, and fashion mag Grazia.

Winners will be able to trial their prototypes with the individual challenge partner over a minimum three-month period and all applications must include some element that is novel and inventive.

The design category will look at ways to transform how small, high-end designers engage with and respond to the preferences of their customers, while the mobile section will look at ways to find innovative use of mobile technology to digitise clothing and accessories.

In the retail category, Boxpark, will work with innovative digital applications or services to increase footfall and create a truly communal and multi-channel shopping centre.

Meanwhile, Grazia is hoping the challenge will help it build a more interactive, responsive and multi-dimensional online experience.

All entries have to be submitted online by noon on Wednesday 12 June. The final will be held in London on Wednesday 10 July.

One new technology that is taking the fashion world by storm is 3D printing, which might provide inspiration for the design category.

Recently, one designer created a pair of high-heeled shoes with a built-in iPhone case.

Created by Alan Nguyen of Freedom of Creation in Amsterdam and Bart Veldhuizen, an online community manager at Shapeways in Eindhoven, the bright red and yellow shoes bring new meaning to the iPhone case that we all know and some of us use.