sxsw

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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  1. How Beacon Technology Could Change the Way We Shop
    With more retailers taking an omnichannel approach to shopping, the line is blurring between online and offline.
  2. Looking Back at SXSW: Wearables, Privacy and Avoiding Bandwagons
    Recaps the highlights of this year’s SXSW Interactive conference and identifies key takeaways for the fashion industry.
  3. Why Fashion is Key in the Wearable-Tech Craze
    Wearable technology will be the next “it girl” in the fashion world.
  4. Jimmy Choo Owner Labelux Said to Hold Early Talks for Unit’s IPO
    The company that holds brands including Bally, has had preliminary meetings with bankers about the possible sale of a stake in the luxury shoemaker via an initial public offering, a person familiar with the matter said.

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  1. Fashion Firms Try Wearable Tech
    The popular designer is launching a line of metal jewelry that incorporates a fitness tracker from Fitbit Inc., a San Francisco-based technology company.
  2. How Wearable Tech Goes From Geek Fad to Mega-Trend
    Wearable tech continues to be one of the hottest trends in the technology world. At every big tech event, the number of wearable devices available to consumers – wristbands, watches, gloves, glasses, helmets and armbands – seems to grow at an exponential rate.
  3. Computers in Your Underwear: Where Wearable Tech Must Go to Succeed
    While it’s common to see Google Glass at events such as SXSW, wearable technology is still on the fringe for many.
  4. Mobile Shopping App Paytm Challenges E-Commerce Rivals In India
    India’s nearly 100 million smartphone users are beginning to shop online at a pace that the country’s biggest
    e-commerce companies.

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  1. Smart Helmet Startup Wins Wearable Tech Award At The SXSW 2014
    The privately-owned Silicon Valley startup company Skully Helmets won the award for the Wearable Tech category at the 2014 SXSW Interactive.
  2. Carbon Wants To Kick That Smartwatch Off Your Wrist
    A new Kickstarter project also wants to be a contender, with the Carbon wearable solar charger.
  3. Google Is Making It Easier for Developers to Build Android Wearables
    With wristband fitness trackers, smartwatches and other tech wearables gaining massive traction, Google will be making it easier for developers to create these types of devices for its Android platform.
  4. 3M’s Magic Liquid Cannot Destroy Your iPhone
    The technology company 3M’s magic water, you can drop an unprotected iPhone and it will still work.

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  1. Wearable Tech Startups Pitch Their Wares at SXSW 2014 Some of the hottest new ideas for wearable technologies.
  2. iPad DJ Launches Lightwave To Provide Wearable Today, a new startup called Lightwave is using wearable technology to provide analytics around live events for performers and artists.
  3. Paris is For Lovers or for Startups? Paris is known for many things, including fine art, fashion and food, but tech startups? Mais oui! Artistic, tech-savvy entrepreneurs, ready to subvert conventional business models and make big money.
  4. Nasty Gal Founder Plans Brick-and-Mortar Expansion This Year
    The fast-growing e-commerce site for vintage-inspired fashion, is gearing up for its first brick-and-mortar store.

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  1. Startups to Watch at SXSWi 2014
    Another year, another crop of upstart startups looking to use South by Southwest as a springboard to success.
  2. No Longer Clashing, Wearable Tech Embraces Fashion
    Wearable electronics have been stuck in a design rut. Bulky watches, bright wristbands and Roman-gladiator-meets-the-Jetsons arm straps have been the go-to look for manufacturers like Nike and Jawbone.

  3. A Look At The iBeacon Store Of The Future With Retail Startup Thirdshelf
    Montreal-based Thirdshelf had a fully functional demonstration retail store with iBeacon proximity based shopper customization in place.
  4. South Korea Gets the Startup Bug
    Tech geeks submitted hundreds of mobile apps last year to New York City’s first-ever “GapApp” competition.

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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/.

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.

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  1. Tech Takes The Runway At New York Fashion Week
    Celebrities, designers, editors, bloggers and brands descending on New York’s Fashion Week are being treated not just to the latest in clothing styles but technology.”There’s a push to closely align technology with fashion,” said Rachel Arthur, global senior editor of digital media and marketing at WGSN.
  2. Gilt Groupe Said to Choose Goldman Groupe Inc
    Gilt Groupe Inc., an online retailer of discounted luxury goods, picked Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to manage its initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the deal.
  3. New York Fashion Week: Herve Leger marries style, tech                                                                                                                  When Lubov Azria and her husband, Max Azria, set out to design the latest Herve Leger collection, she says the idea was to pay homage to the technology that rules our everyday lives.
  4. Wearable Technology and Fashion: Can They Merge?                                                                                                                      Wearables are gaining popularity by the minute, as they were all the rage at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Right now, most of the fitness wearables on the market have the same black rubber bracelet look – which is typically fine for men.

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FASHIONOTES Closet: Naked & Famous Denim Thermochromic Jeans
You no longer have to obsess about getting dark or light denim, Naked & Famous lets you have both with just one touch. Fashionotes has more.

Net-a-Porter Launches Beauty
Business of Fashion reports that Net-a-Porter’s beauty section, launching on March 20, will introduce one new beauty brand per week as part of a phased launch.

Workout Clothing Changes Color Based on Body Temperature
Goodbye sweaty gym sessions – this brand keeps you dry while changing colors to let you know which muscles you’re working at that particular moment. PSFK has the details.

The Winners and Losers of SXSW: Crunching the numbers
Yes, Grumpy Cat took over social media for a week, but SXSWi also presented more serious and fascinating moments. Check out AdWeek’s hits and misses at SXSWi.