Muchaneta Kapfunde on the importance of Slow Fashion and Sustainability

Today we meet Muchaneta Kapfunde, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FashNerd.com. Muchaneta has strong knowledge of the merger of fashion and technology. Focusing on the evolution of smart fabrics, she has given talks at events like #FashionTech Berlin, Munich Fabric Start and Look Forward.

With a flair for online publishing, Muchaneta’s strengths include leadership, brand building and digital content creation. Her extensive experience and accomplishments within the fashion industry led to FashNerd.com. Launched in 2015, the digital magazine focuses on fashion and lifestyle from a technology standpoint.

Instagram and all of these blogging platforms have been so revolutionary in the fashion world over the years; it just seems like fashion does embrace technology on its end. Do you have any ideas for the next big app? Maybe in a post-Instagram world, that the fashion world will embrace? Or are you still waiting to see what emerges?

The next big app is going to be about enhancing our shopping experience. There are already apps available with AR capabilities, especially in the beauty industry but I think the merger of AR with fashion is still in its infancy. Therefore, shopping apps are going to evolve as technology improves. 

Robots inspire fashion industry, competing with reals models, many of them are like models, influencers and in pages of fashion magazines while being celebrated by brands despite the fact that they are not real. It’s a phenomenon that fascinates as much as it worries. Does fashion become multidisciplinary? How do you imagine fashion industry with sector such as robotic?

There are some who argue that the future belongs to multidisciplinary designers although the term multidisciplinary, is a word often used in academic settings than the marketplace. I think Anna Fitzpatrick, who has worked on sustainable fashion projects at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, said it best when she said that fashion students need to take a systems-wide and multidisciplinary approach.

When it comes to robots, it is inevitable that they will be, if not already, part of the fashion technology movement. Destined to flourish, robotics in the fashion industry will make changes in one central area, and that is manufacturing. It is in this space that the advancements of robotics will benefit the fashion industry on a whole. So although Sophia the robot was the must-have fashion accessory of 2017, I do think that the humanoid robots are not going be the gamechanger that fashion needs.

There was a time when fashion brand was making their collections on the natural rhythm of seasons by releasing two collections a year. Nowadays, many of retailers, big brands launch new products every two weeks. Some shops in London are open seven days a week and 24/7 in Dubai. An infernal rhythm that occurs to produce and consume excessively almost compulsively. Do you have alternatives solutions in favour of slow fashion?

Fashion currently operates on consumer demand, and technology is being used as a tool to meet these needs. It is hard to change consumer behaviour, but it is easier to offer alternative solutions. For example, Dutch Startup Lena is offering an alternative to fast fashion.With an estimated $500bn value lost every year due to barely worn and rarely recycled clothing Lena has provided a solution to a library where you can borrow clothes instead of books. A great alternative to fast fashion, the ‘borrow for a week’ concept encourages people to borrow instead of buy. Should you fall in love with a pair of jeans that you must have, Lena also gives customers the option to purchase outright.

Fashion activism is very on-trend at the moment, with many brands positioning themselves as feminist and claiming to champion diversity. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma attached to sustainable fashion, and generally, it isn’t deemed cool or a priority for most shoppers. Why do you think that is?  What are your top tips for brands trying to lead more sustainable lives?

When one used to think of sustainable fashion, earthy tones and Birkenstocks were usually the visuals that popped into mind. Now with various brands using technology as a tool to become more sustainable. Many companies are using technological innovation to go green. Just a few examples: DuPont has made a biodegradable polyester called Apexa; Modern Meadow will showcase a leather made from yeast; and Thread International supplies fabric made from discarded plastic bottles.You only have to look at the collaboration between Stella McCartney and Bolt Threads, Adidas and Parley and Dropel Fabrics and Ceam to realise the future of fashion is green. 

When it comes to top tips for brands, I would say they should look at usual technology as a tool. They also need to approach sustainability as being part of their brand objective more than just a PR stunt. They should also look at their customers, what do they want and need. 

Advice to our readers who want to start to shop more responsibly or have a more ethical wardrobe? 

Know your brands. We always write about great fashion brands making a difference. I am a big believer in that educating people on “who made their clothes” is a great start. In the future I foresee Blockchain playing a pivotal role in people’s buying decisions.

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