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Valencia Dreams: WISP's Time at WORTH Weekend

Back in early March, B.G. (Before Global-Isolation), WISP had the honour of returning to the WORTH Weekend in the gorgeous city of Valencia.

After our success as a Second-Call-Winner in 2019, we joined a multitude of unique ventures all at different stages in their Worth Partnership journey.

For those who don’t know, WORTH Partnership Project creates and supports transnational collaborations between fashion designers, creative people, manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) and technology firms looking to develop design-driven and innovative products.

On the first day of the conference, Friday 5th March, we entered the incredible Arts & Sciences building (as seen in Tomorrowland, Doctor Who and Westworld), designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela.

We were introduced to the event by Collision Maker, Koen Snoeckx who gave an inspiring welcome talk on the topics of getting unstuck, organised serendipity and passion based co-creation. This set cogs in motion in all of our minds… Who was I going to meet this weekend? And what could we achieve together? Akin to the concept of the Medici Effect thoughts introduced by Frans Johansson, which involves innovation that happens when disciplines and ideas intersect.

We were lucky enough to have Koen himself to support us on a monthly basis in progressing our business model. Official IRL (in real life) introductions were made in the Spanish sunshine after months of invisible Skype sessions.

This was put to practice as we hungrily mingled around the first buffet of the weekend, thirsty for coffee and sandwiches. It was here that the beautiful minds behind the beautiful projects started to collide and caught up with our incredible partner from Italy, Silvia Zancarli.

We met Silvia through WEAR Sustain, another EU funding programme. Her background is in fashion and marketing and she's helped up a lot in developing our product and finding local connections in Milan. We appreciated her kindness and passion for helping small businesses and continue to keep a relationship.

Not before long was the next portion of the day, where we were ushered into a networking workshop for further collisions.

Some of the wonderful genius founders we met included:

  • Sarmite Polakova of Studio Sarmite. Her project, PineSkin, consists of a design collection of pine bark products with unusual aesthetics from forests that are breaking the existing stereotypes of traditional bark products.

  • Lisa Stolz of MOWO, Move with Wood. Her product Aera is a structure in woven plywood, adaptable to the weight and shape of the body allowing small deformations within its volumes.

  • Surzhana Adnaeva, Slow Fashion Design. Designing garments inspired by her deep interest for different cultures, along with diverse life experiences, and minimalistic style.

  • Max Zara Sterk, Womenswear designer that values the artistic necessity in fashion as well as the importance of quality and durability. Focusing on body, shape and movement to create delicate.

  • Archibald Godts of Studio Plastique, a Brussels based design practice that strives for empathic approaches in an increasingly dehumanised world, combined with the necessary rational methodology, results in environments and objects conceived for human life to bloom, as well as critical reactions on contemporary phenomena and envisions of future scenarios

In these workshops, we had icebreakers and shared our experiences with the partnership, the good, the bad and the ugly. We understand that this was vital to the growth of Worth itself - and would benefit future projects, just as last year’s helped ours.

The highlight of the day had to be our ‘Pitch To Investors Practice Workshop’. The task: build a Humour Solution. The hilarious collaborative ideas were as follows:

  • Deliverlololol. Laughs delivered to your door when stress levels increase in the body. Using artificially intelligent sensors on the abdomen, the heart and the wrist, your subscription service automatically hires a fully trained Laugh Coach to help you wind down.

  • Interspecies Animal VR. To encourage more eco-compassion in the world, live your life through the eyes of your favourite animal.

  • Giggle Translate. You know when you tell a joke to your friend from another culture, and it just doesn’t quite land? This service would translate your jokes for everyone to enjoy a laugh.

  • Comedian Chef. This hire service hits two birds with one stone. You’re evening entertainment sorted, a chef that cooks you a wonderful meal while making you laugh.

  • Ministry of Humour ltd. Public service department charged with overseeing societies happiness and joy.

Our evening was then filled with Tapas and Red wine… but of course not too much as we had an early start the following day.

Saturday morning was introduced with an empowering talk on Brand Identity, given by Daniel Perez Barriga, Brand Identity. We learnt the importance of an authentic personality of companies today. The difference being that with traditional companies it was valued to be politically neutral, commodity driven, totemic and humanistic. Whereas today, honesty, transparency, purpose beyond commercial gain, humble and human values are prioritised.

Next up we had Leslie Holden presenting on Future Proofing Fashion Education amidst the digitalisation era of fashion. Holden listed key brands who are change-makers such as Carlings and The Fabricant.

After our final brunch buffet of mini Spanish nibbles, the day was summed up with mini presentations from DeFine and Re-FREAM, calling for applicants. DeFINE is a collaborative project co-funded by the European Commission’s COSME programme which aims to support the fusion of cutting-edge technologies and innovation with the European fashion and design industries.

Re-FREAM offers access to new production technology to re-think the future of the fashion sector by researching novel concepts in a collaborative way between scientists, researchers and artists, designers.

The day closed with practice pitches from fellow designers where we peer reviewed and offered constructive feedback.

As the sun shone over Valencia, we collected each other’s contact details and went our separate ways to enjoy the rest of the weekend.


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