FashionTech Under The Skin
Specialized in the digital and 3D manufacturing of jewelry and bags, the young Luso-Luxemburgish entrepreneur Stéphanie Santos wants to launch her own line of virtual clothing and accessories for games and social networks.
Author: Marc Auxenfants
It was the only FashionTech to represent Luxembourg at CES 2021. Stéphanie Santos, founder of the eponymous startup, attended the event to establish contacts, find partners and investors, and above all to communicate her concept and creations in order to gain more visibility.
For the young woman who positions herself as an avant-garde designer, offering experimental, aesthetic and artistic clothing, via digital design and 3D printing.
Her concept: design accessories (plastic bags, jewelry and earrings) from her computer which she then “edits” on her 2D and 3D printers.
The collections already include around twenty models of clothes and accessories.
The parts of her bags are printed individually, then assembled with metal elements (also recyclable), like traditional bags made of leather goods.
For her raw materials, she works with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a plastic she believes is non-polluting, recyclable, and can be reused indefinitely.
“The idea is to work with a material that has a sustainable production and life cycle: each piece I print can be cut into small pieces again and remelted into filaments that can be reused by a machine for other productions,” she explains.
“The Grand Duchy is a difficult terrain for an innovation activity like mine.”
Virtual and augmented design
Apart from recycling, which she entrusts to a Spanish company, she carries out the design, production and assembly in her workshop in Luxembourg City.
Specialized in women’s clothing, Stéphanie Santos is keen to specialize in women’s lingerie, and to propose hybrid articles, between lingerie and ready-to-wear. Her clients will be women who love the artistic and innovative side of fashion, and wear lingerie with enthusiasm.
She also has design projects in virtual and augmented reality. The idea: to create digital clothes for animations, gaming or as filters for social networks.
Her clients will above all be the users of these social platforms and online games, who are also fashion fans, and who wish to renew their own virtual wardrobe – or that of their avatars – from time to time with clothes, and fashion accessories bought with real currency or the more fictitious currency used in the game.
She sees a growing demand in this niche. For a few years now, major brands such as Gucci, Versace, or even Adidas and Supreme have seen the business opportunity of these virtual worlds.
For her business, she is therefore looking for developers and investors, in the hope of launching her own collection soon.
“I hope that in the future there will be an ethical and sustainable consumption system based on printing or digital 3D.”
In search of ecosystems
If she wants to achieve her dreams, she must first and foremost leave Luxembourg, whose FashionTech ecosystem is, according to her, not very developed and not very capable of accompanying her in her ambitions.
“The Grand Duchy is a difficult terrain for an innovation activity like mine,” she regrets. “My activity is so new, for the economic and technological fabric of the country, that it is very complicated to make oneself known.”
So she plans to set up in European countries that are already more advanced in these trends: the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal. There she will find collaborators and partners ready to believe in her project and to support it.
Born in Luxembourg just over a quarter of a century ago, of Portuguese origin and dual nationality, Stéphanie Santos studied luxury fashion and haute couture at ESMOD, the Fashion Design School in Roubaix.
During her last year of training, she decided to specialize in FashionTech, and to commit herself to fashion, based on technological and sustainable innovation, in response to the current practices of hyperconsumption and all-waste.
She then completed an internship with Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, one of the first to integrate technology into fashion.
She went on to complete a one-year course in Fashion Tech at the Fabricademy in Amsterdam.
Back in Luxembourg, she launched her workshop at the beginning of 2020. “Everything I do is also from the perspective of research, because everything is so new, and the methods evolve so quickly,” she notes. “I hope that in the future there will be an ethical and sustainable consumption system based on printing or digital 3D, and that digital production will become the main standard.”
About The Author:
Marc is a reporter covering startup, fintech, regtech, entrepreneurship, and more generally business and management issues. He previously worked for Luxembourg Times, Luxemburger Wort and paperjam, and wrote contributions among others for the BBC, Wunnen and Made in Luxe.