From smart umbrellas to shirts that hug to gloves that can talk in sign language for you, all these innovations and much more are being created by Women of Wearables (WoW) and its member companies. Initiated in 2016 by Marija Bukovic, former lawyer turned entrepreneur originally from Croatia who now resides in London, the online organization now has an astounding 10,000 members over more than 20 countries within a mere 2 years.
The journey began as Marija moved to London and started the project with an essential for Londoners, the umbrella. “Perfect for London, right”, she says jauntily. Kisha, the company offers smart umbrellas that you can keep track of and so they don’t get lost, and tell you when to take it along as it carries a weather forecast feature. With the setup of this company, Marija noticed some common trends in fashion; lack of communication between sectors and also not enough women in fashion and wearable tech, and naturally as a female in the field she wanted to work with other female technologists and designers. That’s how she started WoW with her co-founder Michelle, now an ambassador for the company in Newcastle and Manchester.
The company is for everyone, men and women:
It’s meant to be a platform for people looking to get into wearable and fashion tech, whether women or men. Quoting Marija,
“I often get asked by men if they can join our community, and the answer is always YES! Women of Wearables is not just for professional women, but for anyone with an interest in wearable technology and providing women with a platform for growth.”
Fashion Tech isn’t new!
According to Marija, who’s not your typical tech person, rather jaunty and funny while having command over her field and a wealth of knowledge, fashion tech isn’t something new.
“Fashion tech is not as new as people think. 200 years ago, the roots of wearable tech were conceived. In 1884, The Electric Girl Lighting Company in the US started using ballet dancers with electric lights attached to their clothing to entertain guests, The “Electro Girls” as they were called were a huge success. The first “go pro” was also created in the 19th century. A photographer Julius Neubronner, put a tiny camera on the neck of a pigeon that took pictures every 10-15 seconds. You could then purchase them on a postcard. In 1961, Edward Thorpe and Claude Shannon created a computer that could fit into a shoe in order to cheat at Roulette in Vegas.”
The company is looking to launch 10-15 more chapters within the year, trying to expand throughout US and Europe and into Asia hopefully. Marija hopes to keep working to expand the company itself and those associated with and working with it, thus continuing to help entrepreneurs launch businesses, connect people within the field, enhance communications and create a global community.