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For a Cursor Special about the explorer, Monique van de Ven and Tom Jeltes interviewed eight pioneers of the Eindhoven University of Technology. Today: ID-students Jessica Joosse and Fabienne van der Weiden want to get rid of fast fashion, produced by child labor. Pictures by Bart van Overbeeke.

We publish one TU/e-Pioneer-story every day – Read the complete series here

Using new digital techniques to accelerate, personalize and fully automate clothing production processes – locally, and free from child labor, exploitation, and dreadful working conditions. This is possible and it must happen, declare Jessica Joosse and Fabienne van der Weiden, final year Master’s students of Industrial Design. With their company LABELEDBY., they want to convince fashion designers and brands of the potential of such things as laser cutting, 3D printing, and body scanning. With the intention of putting a stop to fast fashion that is produced somewhere distant, which is now so dominant in the west. And doing so as soon as possible.

What question would you like to be asked?
Fabienne: “Do we think we can do this? After all, at TU/e fashion doesn’t get the attention it deserves.” Jessica: “As two girls it isn’t easy to get our ideas taken seriously – especially at other departments, which we are also visiting in search of knowledge. It is difficult to convince people that fashion is technically very interesting and that it offers plenty of scope for innovation.” Fabienne: “And yes, it is possible. If only because our drive is so strong and we complement each other well.”

What led you to become a pioneer?

Jessica: “It all started with fashion designer Iris van Herpen. She was one of the first to seek cooperation with, for instance, architects and engineers and, by clustering all these strengths, was able to create really cool things. I wanted to do that too.” Fabienne: “I was a bit of a failure; it took me eight years to complete pre-university education, which usually takes six years. After that, I wanted to go to university so that all my hard work would seem worthwhile. At ID you are strongly encouraged right from the start to develop your own vision and identity and to follow your heart. I’m still grateful to the department for that.”

What is it about your personality that makes you a pioneer?

Jessica: “Being driven, giving 100 percent. This is something I am involved with the whole time; it is my work as well as my hobby and relaxation.” Fabienne: “We no longer say that we’re going to college, we say we’re going to work on LABELEDBY. – And that doesn’t stop at six in the evening.”

How do you relax?

Fabienne: “I dance, hip-hop. When I’m dancing, I can forget everything for a while, empty my mind completely. Afterwards, though, ideas often come bubbling up straight away.” Jessica concludes with considerable thought: “Making things, being creative in some way, that is actually how I relax. At home, I have a 3D printer and I am addicted to trying things out – anything at all, it doesn’t have to be relevant.”

What will it take for you to say that your life has been a success?
Fabienne: “If we come to be regarded as pioneers who unleashed a revolution in the fashion industry. A worldwide revolution is perhaps too ambitious a notion, but if we are able to change something in the Netherlands, even at just one chain, that in itself would be great. All the tools exist – they just need to be brought together.”

Jessica: “First of all we hope to work with fashion designers, but next year we want to approach the brands.” Already the pressure on companies to seek alternatives to their production in third-world countries, which is cheap but usually involves poor conditions, is growing, slowly; these ID students believe it is just a matter of time until the message hits home. “When that happens we want LABELEDBY. to be well prepared so we can respond immediately.”

www.labeledby.nl / Instagram: @labeledby

This interview was first published in Cursor’s ‘Explorer’-special.