neiman marcus

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

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 


  1. Neiman Marcus Teams Up with 3D Printing Company on Holiday Collection
    Neiman Marcus has just announced a new collaboration with 3D printing powerhouse Shapeways on a small capsule collection of 3D printed designs that are now available.
  2. Fab Cofounder Leaves the Company
    Bradford Shellhammer, cofounder and chief designer of, is leaving the company after just more than four years.
  3. Polyvore Now for iPad
    The wait is finally over for the 20 million users of Polyvore – the organizational site featuring millions of style choices is now available on the iPad.
  4. Dior Favors Heritage to E-Commerce on Redesigned Website
    Christian Dior is giving enthusiasts a guided tour of the brand’s inner workings through a renovated Web site that stresses the importance of heritage rather than pushing e-commerce.

mens new 2 sml

  1. Owners of Neiman Marcus Sell Chain for $6 Billion
    Ares Management and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board announced Monday they are buying the luxury chain Neiman Marcus for $6 billion.
  2. Vying for Fashion Week’s “It” Moment
    As live streaming demystifies the shows themselves, social media companies are taking it a step further by launching programs to give users virtual backstage passes behind the scenes at New York’s Lincoln Center.
  3. Vine Mosaic Brings Kenneth Cole Fans to the Virtual Front Row
    The theme of Kenneth Cole’s Spring 2014 presentation on Saturday was “Your Point Of View Depends On Your Points Of View,” a mantra that was made clear by the pervasive use of social media throughout the show.
  4. Louis Vuitton, Chanel Survey User Opinions Via Pinxter App
    Through the Pinxter app, users can vote on whether they like the featured looks from brands and click through to shop on mcommerce sites


Google shows off a talking shoe
Google uses talking shoe to spur conversation with marketers and advertisers at SXSW. CNET has more.

Neiman Marcus Launches Fashion Contest on Pinterest
Neiman Marcus’s offers followers a chance to curate their own Art of Fashion board on Pinterest. The creator of the best board will be awarded with a $1,000 gift card to the luxury retailer, WWD reports.

Google Glass Already Banned In Seattle Dive Bar, But Why?
The first ban for using Google Glass before it enters the market comes from a Seattle Dive bar. iTech Post reports that the owner set the ban to protect customer privacy.

Warby Parker Founder Trades Retro Eyeglasses for Shaving Supplies
Jeff Raider, co-founder of Warby Parker, assembles a great team to enter another hipster-sphere of e-commerce: grooming. Read more on AdAge.

The Future of Fashion: Download File and Print
In the future, programmers might be referred to as fashion designers. Forbes discusses the high tech developments in fashion.



LinkMe SMS Bracelet Helps Improve Your Manners
LinkMe makes it easier to stay polite allowing users to check texts and caller IDs with a flick of the wrist. DeviceMag has more.

Last Call for Neiman Marcus’s eBay Store
Reuters reports that Neiman Marcus outlet brand “Last Call” will now only appear on the “Last Call” website.

Louis Vuitton casts Cara Delevinge & Lily McMenamy in Risqué New Film
Louis Vuitton creates romantic lingerie film with supermodels to create buzz for AW 13 collection. Read more on Fashionotes.

New apps unveiled at SXSW
Every year, SXSW brings new innovative apps and concepts. CNET presents some, including Yappem, an app making users brand evangelists in exchange for gift cards.

3D Fashion: Nonstop Innovation in Production & Fit
Don’t forget to check out our founder, Liz Bacelar, discussing and demonstrating the powers of 3D technology today at SXSW!