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Decode Fashion Wearable Technology Show Kiroco

Last week we headed down to the Wearable Technology Show in London’s Olympia, where a multitude of new wearables were exhibiting, from UV activity monitors to responsive running jackets. Most of the gadgets that were on show, were versatile in terms of the applications they could be used for and the industries they could be used in. With some seeming to serve a recreational purpose, others had functionalities that could also be applied in retailing, healthcare and even military contexts. Here’s our top picks:

  1. Intelligent Headset, the world’s first 3D audio headset, made its debut along with it’s own Zombie game that requires players to ‘listen’ rather than ‘look out.’  This also has great applications for the educational sector and atmospheric marketing.
  2. ViewAR showcased apps that allow customers to navigate through virtual environments by means of gesture control – beyond gaming, this has some very interesting implications for retailing and branding.
  3. SnapWatch showcased their fun concept – a rigid steel band featuring a display that can snap around the wrist thanks to the flexible nature of its display. The modern comeback of the eighties Slap Bracelet!
  4. A piece of wearable tech that might serve to motivate sports enthusiasts to improve their running times is the Glofaster running jacket – it syncs with the wearer’s mobile phone and lights up as long as they are running above their minimal speed.
  5. A showcased product that is already on the market is the emotional jewellery by the British brand Kiroco Touch. Content in the form of images, videos or text can be stored on bracelets or necklaces and then unlocked when the jewellery gets into contact with a mobile phone. This won the award for ‘Best Innovation.’

 

Reported By Anna Abrell

Paris Launch

After touching down for all of 8 hrs after SXSW, we hopped on the Eurostar to continue our European Meetup tour! First stop Paris, with the support of our local host Celine Lippi, Co-Founder of Fashion Capital Partners. With a full house at the newly opened Le Numa, it was time to discuss the ins and outs of the ever growing omni-channel.

Kicking off with an opening keynote from Google‘s Pauline Butor who told us an astonishing five billion queries regarding fashion and beauty are made through Google every month! She went on to demonstrate the vast amount of Google tools available to fashion brands, that can help them gather data and create content. Talking us through last years hugely successful Topshop Fashion Week campaign, which used live hangouts to create another layer of content and a live view of a model’s runway walk.

Next both iVentures Consulting and DemandWare discussed how to improve customer experience, with the connection between both physical and digital stores. iVentures Consulting gave us a preview of their eShopper Index, which brands came up top digitally? The top 5 included Zalando, Zappos, Amazon, NET-A-PORTER and Gap.

Fusalp, Vilebrequin & l’Exception debated best practices; rethinking retail with smart shopping experiences, digital windows and customer touchpoints, with a gentle reminder that at the heart of all these tech innovations still remains the physical product and of course the consumer!

The evening closed with 3 startup pitches; Shop’n’Brag, a mobile shopping app that seems to do just about everything, with augmented reality features and deal finders rolled into one; HappyBeacon, allowing retailers to interact directly with the consumer through push notifications and our final startup Bodi.me, joining the fight against returns by letting the consumer try on clothes virtually.

For all the photos from the evening, head over here and Paris, we cannot wait to return in June!

Decoded Fashion SXSW

Every year Austin opens it’s city to over 30,000 visitors for the notorious SXSW festival and last week we joined the lineup with our first event! With over 500 attendees crossing the threshold to take in three hours of panels, talks and face-to-face meetings at the Mentorship Hub. Here are the best bits from the conversations that took place.

First up, ” Onboarding Tech” with Amy Walker, Director of Online Marketing at Neiman Marcus, Jen Rubio, Global Director of Innovation at AllSaints and Will Young, Director of Zappos Labs at Zappos.com

All speakers emphasised their preference for finding new tech companies through networking and receiving recommendations from venture capital firms over receiving cold calls and emails.

Brands don’t want to be subjected to hard sales pitches that make unrealistic promises, but would rather engage in a conversation with a startup that has done extensive background research about the brand, has contacted the relevant department to pitch, and already has an idea about what the challenges may be and how they could be tackled. And naturally, if the technology is easier to onboard, then brands will implement it much faster. Young drives home this point “If you set the expectations we are doing something really interesting, that you might be interested in and we would love to learn what your challenges are […]’ it’s much more of a conversation than guns blazing sales pitching. And then I leave that meeting feeling like I wanna continue that conversation.”

And what technologies are brands looking for? Brands want to increase their conversion rates and their ROI in an engaging and sustainable manner, rather than invest in a fad that attracts media attention. What tools can help them seamlessly merge their content and their commerce? What can help them build an online community by telling their brand story?

Our second panel focused on content curation, featuring Rachel Tipograph, Director of Global Digital and Social Media at GAP, Kristina Di Matteo, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Kate Spade and Katalina Sharkey de Solis, Director of Digital at Chanel.

Tipograph cited simplicity as key, it’s at the core of GAP’s brand and that filters into all of their processes, whether it’s creating content, or onboarding a new start-up. This also rings true for the Kate Spade brand, who have a tiny team creating all this fantastic content, but if it’s too complicated to onboard it just doesn’t work.

With luxury, Sharkey de Solis pointed out that social media channels engage aspirational and potential luxury consumers much more than they do existing consumers. The challenge for them  is finding a way in which to excite current consumers, which means, “We’re really looking for experiential technologies because with this very high-end consumer, they’re not necessarily wanting to engage with the brands on [social media] channels” – Sharkey de Solis

And, though traditional long-term branding campaigns may not be devised with specific measurement matrices in mind and may be ideally measured qualitatively, Di Matteo emphasised how difficult it is for brands to quantitatively measure the success of more fast-moving online campaigns. “If it were up to me, I would create the coolest reporting tool that would allow for me to understand everything that’s happening and have it really succinctly tie up into my [ecommerce] data because, at the end of the day, our goal is to generate sales, but also be able to tell a great story.” Anyone got an idea for this?

Last week’s event was a milestone for Decoded Fashion, and you can be sure to find us at next year’s SXSW.

For all the photos from the event you can check them out here, and for further SXSW fashion coverage take a peek at the FT’s feature and Stylus’s report.

Reported by Anna Abrell 

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Decoded Fashion at SXSW presented by Cusp by Neiman Marcus is the only event bringing together digital heads of Fashion, Beauty & Retail brands to discover and mentor startups founders.

On stage, it will host two panels on brands seeking new tech, with speakers from Gap, Zappos.com, Neiman Marcus, AllSaints, kate+spade and Chanel. Fast paced startup demos will uncover what’s hot in fashion and tech, with a closing presentation from former TopShop CMO, Justin Cooke.

At the Decoded Fashion Mentorship Hub presented by Stylus, tech founders can receive candid feedback and advice on their startup concept and plans, from investors and various executives in Fashion and Retail. Each mentor will offer 10-minute sessions and these are not to be mere sales pitch sessions, but an opportunity for founders to explore their messaging, value prop and even pricing with those who truly understand your target market.

To sign up for a mentor meeting, head to www.decodedfashion.com/sxsw/.

shopping

Retail data startup, 42, launched this week with the backing of Y Combinator. The company came to life during Decoded Fashion Hackathon last year, and headed to Milan as a finalist for our Fashion Pitch competition presented by e-Pitti. 42 went on to debut at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, being then accepted at the prestigious accelerator program Y Combinator.

The company turns raw point-of-sale data into actionable insights that help businesses boost sales. The idea that ignited the company came from co-Founder Cathy Han, formerly of Procter & Gamble. As she told Techcrunch while working with larger retailers to help them better analyze data, she realized that a lot of brick-and-mortar businesses lacked a suite of online tools to leverage customer and sales data.

“One of the things we’ve been focused on is our data infrastructure – to design it to handle retailers with a growing quantity of data, and to have an API that will allow it to handle any type of query,” said Han.

Today, 42 works with its customers to configure custom reporting for their businesses, these custom reports can be automatically sent out via email to store managers in all locations on a regular basis.

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As London Fashion Week draws to a close, we took a moment to check out some of the tech that made the headlines for us.

Livestreaming enables us to watch the shows anywhere we choose, or in the case of Topshop through a shop window. This season Topshop made this illusion come to life, collaborating with 3D agency Inition to create a virtual front row in the windows of their flagship store on Oxford street. Five Topshop fans had the opportunity to wear Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets & headphones, giving them a front row ticket to watch the vibrant A/W14  collection walk down the runway sitting in the window of Topshop.

Next up, Fyodor Golan’s collaboration with Nokia, his collection consisted of a piece that still has us reminiscing about his show: a £68,000 skirt that was made up of 80 Nokia Lumia 1520 Smartphones. Whatever happened to the classic pencil skirt? Golan has clearly tossed that trend out the window. The bell-shaped mini-skirt was broadcasting snaps of colored visuals, which looking like butterfly wings that were beating away.

Milan Fashion Pitch finalists Wowcracy made their mark, with their online fashion platform that enables you to purchase high quality fashion before it lands on the market.  They  pre-sold a new collection live from LFW, launching Milan based designer, Flavia La Rocca’s A/W14 collection on the opening day of LFW.  Flavia La Rocca’s collection is a combination of sustainable materials and exquisite design,  made available to buy through Wowcracy  before hitting the stores in Autumn.

And finally, the “Twitter Mirror” made a debut at LFW, with Matthew Williamson giving it some serious showtime. The “mirror” was set-up like a photo booth backstage for celebrities, models, make-up artists, and a whole lot more to snap their selfies. All could be spied upon Matthew Williamson’s Twitter feed and under the ever evolving  #OhMW.

Reported by Anisa Sojka

startup-villlage-body_5-1With Fashion Week behind us, it’s time for SXSW! One of the cool additions this year was a wearable tech component added to SXSW accelerator competition presented by Oracle.

Our CEO, Liz Bacelar participated as a judge, and we are eager to share the finalists with you. Selected pitching companies were pulled from a pool of over 500 applicants applying for a chance to shine at Startup Village:

  1. Bionym – A wearable device that authenticates users through their unique cardiac rhythm, and communicates identity wirelessly for seamless and dynamic interaction with technology.

  2. Fashion Discovery Labs – Enables everyone to “Discover Fashion Instantly” in the real world through Google Glass, which aims to enrich the online and retail shopping experience.

  3. Jon Lou – A lifestyle brand for people who love fashion, love technology, and think it’s about time the two of them met for a drink.

  4. Kiwi Wearable Technologies – Builds products which help wearers enjoy happier and healthier lives.

  5. Mighty Cast – Connects physical objects to the cloud through its patent-pending technology and proprietary platform.

  6. Pauline van Dongen – A fashion designer working closely with companies in the field of science and innovation. She aims to merge fashion and technology.

  7. People+ – An innovative, curated business directory of professionals and companies.

  8. Skully Helmets – Pioneering augmented reality solutions for the head protection industry.

A complete list of all 2014 SXSW Accelerator finalists can be found here.

Lyst Loves Mary Katranzou

On the first day of London Fashion Week, Lyst announced a new partnership with top iconic British fashion designer, Mary Katrantzou. Lyst are exclusively retailing a selection of the brand’s limited edition Spring 2014 resort collection, these pieces are only available on Lyst.com in the USA.

Launching on Valentine’s Day at the start of LFW, the collection comprises of ten garments, including the iconic Lanta & Nevis dresses.  It is hugely exciting to see two innovative brands coming together, but also importantly marks Lyst’s first exclusive retail partnership (a sign of things to come).

This partnership comes shortly after Lyst announced an impressive $14 million round of investment and the launch of Mary Katrantzou’s own ecommerce site, back in November 2013. The collaboration is likely to give the designer a much further reach in the states and it is an exciting new proposition from the Lyst team.

Check out the cute Instagram video and spread the love #Lyst Loves Mary Katranzou.

Reported by Anisa Sojka

Apple Store Meetup

Screaming girls and Sherlock Holmes, what a way to open our Apple Store Meetup. If you arrived on time, you would’ve been met with an outpour of Benedict Cumberbatch fans, as we did a swift turn around to get ready for our event.

With a full house, it was time for us to reveal our 2014 Calendar and a special opportunity for founder Liz Bacelar to tell the story behind Decoded Fashion. We unveiled our plans for SXSW and the launch of the Fashion Hackathon and Summit for London this May. Not only that, but this year we have expanded our Meetup to create a global community to uncover the best tech in fashion. January saw us head to Toronto, whilst in March we will be in Dublin, Berlin and Singapore.

Up next fit solutions go to war Fits.me and Metail- let battle commence!! With the CEO’s of both discussing different approaches to the problem of fit and how they are bringing return rates down. There is no doubt the tech is great but do customers use it? With the key issues across fit solutions being 3D representation, digitising clothes cheaply and size/shape of people against size/shape of clothing. It’s also about understanding consumer mindset and behaviour, do they need to learn to use a fit tool? And the bigger question to be asked to the retailers, do they prefer conversion sells vs reduced return? With both solutions collecting a huge database of “body shapes”, it’s clear that there is further potential in this data, yet to be put into practise. With Metail CEO Tom Adeyoola closing with “the past 5 years have been about putting infinite things on the internet, the next 5 will be about making choices”.

Diffusing the debate, CEO, Runar Reistrup introduces Depop, a mobile shopping app, that could be described as a little like Instagram with a buy button.  Yes, it is another social shopping app but what stands out is it’s network of influential sellers and it’s clever use of high profile social figures to help onboard users. It’s a great way for emerging designers to sell directly to the consumer, with Designer Katie Eary using Depop to sell her designs straight from the runway.

And finally, what a breath of fresh air when ShuffleHub’s two young founders took to the stage. With a dramatic intro and a book on the floor here is Shufflehub “taking away the work and bringing the feel good” to shopping. Taking us through the UX golden rules and introducing us to a humorous testing regime on hungover friends. “We get out friends drunk, and make them sleep over” just to prove it’s easy to use. Aiming for the purest and simplest browsing on the internet, one big button, easy shopping for when you don’t know what you want and also for when you do. We have a good feeling about these boys!

The podcast is now available for download on itunes.

Toronto has joined London, Sydney, New York and Milan to become the next host city for Decoded Fashion’s global fashion and technology meetup. Hosted by The Working Group, Toronto’s first leg kicked off with a keynote from Fashionotes, followed by the latest from three of Canada’s hottest startups Flixel, Kiwi Wearables and Fashion Forward. And if that wasn’t enough, we threw in a live 3D printing demo from Makelab!

dfFashionotes kicked things off with an exploration of the latest fashion and technology trends. As one of the only dedicated fashion and technology publications they are well placed to spot what’s hot – the rise of the flash sale, Instagram’s growing role in driving e-commerce and socially-integrated street style. They also gave us their top three startups to watch out for in 2014: The Cools, The Runthrough and Poshmark.

Fans of America’s Next Top Model will already be familiar with Flixel, creators of the cinematography-inspired “living photograph” which can be used to create digital campaigns, portfolio pieces, art pieces and more. Their team also provides consulting for brands and agencies, and offers a complete visual package using cinemagraphs to enhance any type of campaign.

Kiwi Wearables, creators of the Kiwi Move, joined us fresh from their CES Debut. The Kiwi Move is a smart activity tracker that sync it with internet-enabled devices whilst its supporting app analyses wearer’s behaviour and suggests improvements over time. Imagine a sleek device that clips to your collar that can help you track and organize your life.

Fashion Forward, a recent graduate of Toronto’s INCubes Accelerator, shared tales from the front lines of a new fashion startup. Their mission is to help consumers maximize the resale value of their wardrobe by giving them a place to list their unwanted clothes and browse for new items. They spoke candidly about the challenges that face a new startup in the space, giving the audience plenty of food for thought about what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur.

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Reported by Holly Knowlman, The Working Group

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