Mustapha Zaouini, who runs a Johannesburg-based tech startup studio, says the market for fashiontech solutions in Africa is as yet unquantified, but adds that it is growing. He points to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index which forecasts that industry sales are expected to nearly triple between 2016 and 2018, from 1.5% to between 3.5% to 4.5%.

Last Monday (16 April) Zaouini’s studio Fliptin hosted the FashionTech Africa Hackathon in collaboration with business consultancy NonZero, and the Tshimologong Digital Precinct as part of the graduation event of the Standard Bank fashion accelerator Threads. The 24-hour long hackathon culminated in three teams presenting live demos on 18 April at the FashionTech Africa Conference in Johannesburg.

In an email to Ventureburn, Zaouini said that the aim of the hackathon was to come up innovative solutions to how technology can enable convergence with the fashion industry both offline and online. “It was an opportunity to create technology-driven solutions to advance the African fashion retail industry and create products that can enhance their ability to compete in the markets they operate in, as well as those they aspire to expand to,” he said.

The hackathon also served as the final challenge for designers in Standard Bank’s 12-week long fashion accelerator. The accelerator aims to equip fashion entrepreneurs with skills in logistics, ecommerce, franchising, accounting and marketing that will enable them to develop profitable and sustainable businesses.

The accelerator is held across locations in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. In its most recent cohort the accelerator assisted 12 fashion entrepreneurs. Zaouini said the hackathon also aimed to immerse these entrepreneurs in the digital world so they could explore new ways that technology can grow their business and allow them to respond to changing customer tastes and shopping preferences. Read more from…

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