ECCO Leather is taking their annual HOT-SHOP co-creation event to the next level by going online while remaining very much hands-on when it comes to experimentation. “We need to change how the materials industry works from the ground up and focus our energies on continual research and reappraisal of processes,” says CEO Panos Mytaros. “For us, this means making radically innovative leather radically accessible.”
ECCO Leather is grounded in challenging the conventions of not only the leather industry but the materials industry at large. A key inspiration platform for this attitude of continual product innovation is the leather campus HOT-SHOP, formulated by current CEO Panos Mytaros 12 editions ago as an open source for ECCO Leather emerging technologies.
As an alternative to industry events and trade shows, the annual 3-day workshop usually takes place at the ECCO Leather tannery in Dongen, the Netherlands. Involving not only designers, the hands-on thinktank-meets-festival also brought together futurists, artists, material specifiers, marketers and leather technicians from the worlds of fashion, industrial design, furniture and electronics.
Online and open to innovators
The 13th annual event is named THE EXPERIMENT and has the theme of DISRUPTION. Taking place 7-10 July 2020, all participants will learn how leather is made and be able to make leather and influence the leather making process online.
This exclusive invite-only event is for global creatives who have sharp ideas they want to turn into a solid product. ECCO Leather wants to use this experiment as a future basis for leather development. Therefore, this year the unique opportunity arises to those outside the current ECCO Leather network. Those interested can reach out by an email with motivation in order to receive a potential personal invitation.
Towards a better world
While the COVID-19 crisis is an obvious reason for moving online, it also gives ECCO Leather an opportunity to experiment with a long-held dream of working remotely on leather design – to do custom developments with short lead times and less waste.
“And with accelerating innovation, we must become as open as possible – so we can better apply and share positive outcomes in these strange times,” says Panos.
“At the same time, HOT-SHOP was always about bringing together the best creatives worldwide that work at different companies and getting them all to work together. So, this feels less like a pragmatic response to the corona crisis and more like a natural evolution. Besides, it’s always inspiring to shake things up.”
Invitees will receive a personal invitation which comes with a physical introductory kit with a variety of leather crust and basic tools, all backed by exclusive digital classes on subjects such as the tanning process and design techniques.
The event itself will take place on a specially-built platform which will host a 24/7 Livestream connection with the tannery in Dongen. Participants will work together in virtual rooms to design leather concepts, which will then be developed with ECCO Leather’s designers and technicians.
From the thinnest, strongest leather to twisted sneakers
Countless innovative ideas have been born at past HOT-SHOPS, with every participant leaving with fresh ideas and inspiration.
As examples, the event rates as the birthplace of not only long-term collaborations across the industry but also of distinctive products: from the thinnest yet strongest leather on the market Dyneema® Bonded Leather to parent company ECCO teaming up with sneaker provocateur Studio Hagel to create the witty and ultra-cult UTW63716 collection.
The unique HOT-SHOP format has also inspired many other materials companies that are looking to bust out of the standard trade show and seasonal collection paradigm. The revolution released under the current pandemic only underlines the need for drastic changes.
THE EXPERIMENT very much fits with ECCO Leather’s design philosophy: to create an industry more built around customisation than waste. Why build a huge collection if only 5-10% is even sold?
“Tanneries should continually spend energy in creating new technologies and investigating new techniques that give leather new unique looks and performances, which are based on the real-time desires of the public, brands and retailers,” says Panos.
“So, let’s take a leap into the future of the leather industry. Imagine custom leather design, bookable in sprints focusing on specific aspects: may it be making the product more beautiful or the production smarter or cleaner. And that’s how we set up THE EXPERIMENT: as a digital interactive platform that will allow creatives to remotely design and develop leather, using our knowledge and facilities.”
“This could all soon become reality: agile tanneries working closely with international designers and brands to create, on demand, the next leather innovation using ECCO Leather technology. So let’s do this!”
For more information:
THE EXPERIMENT will take place through the ECCO Leather WEB: https://eccoleather.com/events/hot-shop-the-experiment.
The event is open now for applicants and applications can be submitted via HotShop@ecco.com.
Event details: Live July 7 – July 10 2020
About ECCO Leather
ECCO Leather develops highly progressive leather qualities for the industry’s most innovative designers and brands. It operates award-winning tanning facilities in Europe, South East Asia, and the Far East. ECCO Leather’s production network is characterized by clean, secure and flexible operations scaled to suit growing customer needs while ensuring seamless communication with customer-designated finished-goods manufacturers.
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