Open Circle Lab
The digital edition
The 13th annual HOT-SHOP, also know as THE EXPERIMENT with the theme DISRUPTION.
The title and theme for this year’s HOT-SHOP were chosen in October last year before the global pandemic revealed itself. Premonition, or coincidence – the naming could not have been more pertinent. DISRUPTION was at the forefront of everyone’s minds; designers, futurists, artists, and marketers from around the world have been thinking of nothing else for months. And HOT-SHOP 2020, held virtually for the first time in 13 years was definitely going to be an interesting EXPERIMENT.
120 attendees in 5 different timezones attended a program of live-stream meet-ups and working sessions. Despite the time differences and remote connectivity, facilitators from ECCO Leather on the ground in the Netherlands were blown away by the levels of engagement and commitment shown by attendees.
“This year’s HOT-SHOP effectively ran 24/7 for a whole week. With participants all over the world there was always someone creating somewhere. Even though we weren’t in the same room people turned up and gave it their all, and the results in leather innovation are amazing,” said Christine Mukakasa, Design Director at ECCO Leather.
This year’s attendees were tasked with creating new leather concepts that delivered against the theme of ‘Disruption.’ They were asked to imagine leather that could impact or change the way we live, and that would make sense in an uncertain future. The creative process required attendees to brainstorm, swap words and images, create presentations, and share final concepts. These concepts were then executed at the ECCO Leather tannery.
Three strong areas of innovation emerged from the week’s workshops. Highly-technical human-made concepts included the use of silver Mylar blankets (the type used for insulating runners at the finish line) sandwiched between layers of leather. In contrast, other teams chose to explore natural ingredients and properties such as scent-infused leather using citrus extracts. The third standout area of innovation was sustainability, particularly with regards to compostability and a garment’s end of life.
Panos Mytaros, CEO of ECCO Leather reflected on the theme of ‘Disruption’ in the leather concepts that were presented by teams, “When I created the HOT-SHOP, I wished to disrupt the leather industry. Due to the circumstances HOT-SHOP 13 turned out to be incredibly disruptive before we’d even started. These circumstances fuelled my dream of a worldwide creative energy collaborating via a well developed digital platform and agile physical lab. Now it’s up to us to keep the disruptive momentum going.”