New York puts the spotlight on the fashion industry's disruptive innovations to inspire and improve not only your business but the quality of life in 2019.
The second edition of Fashinnovation happened on the last February 13th, in New York (USA), in a naturally bright room at Tribeca Rooftop. With minimalist decoration, it gave the visitors a relaxed feel (very desirable during the busy days of New York Fashion Week) and a space to share visionary ideas. What can be cooler for an event that focuses, for one day only, on the latest tech innovations in the fashion industry?
Marcelo and Jordana Guimarães, originally from entrepreneurship and fashion respectively, joined passions and founded Fashinnovation, now on its 2nd edition. Images by ChineyLee.
Let's Talk About Fashion Technology
Fashinnovation's proposal is simple: a series of panel talks distributed along the day, with all fashion areas included in the technology subject. CEOs, independent designers, bloggers, tech startups, music producers, photographers, online retailers: no one's contribution is left out, they are the fashinnovators. The idea came from Marcelo & Jordana Guimarães -- one from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the other from the fashion world -- that brought their passions together under the motto where fashion & technology connect while sparking the entrepreneurial mindset, creating a wide discussion about how fashion technology could be implemented in different points of the industry's chain, and what are the most innovative tech advances currently on the market.
[Left]: speakers Jennie Baik (co-founder and CEO of Orchard Mile), Alfredo Orobio (from Awaytomars) and Nina Farran (from Fashionkind). Image by Clifford Toy. [Right]: Lilian Liu (manager of partnerships, United Nations) brings insights about sustainability. Image by ChineyLee.
Their curatorship provides an incredible selection of fashion industry people: Michael Ferraro (Director of Fashion Institute of Technology's Information Design & Technology Lab), Renata Black (Cofounder, EBY), Mark Price (CEO of Firewire Surfboards), Lilian Liu (Manager of Partnerships, UN Global), Gonzalo Pertile (Sustainable Director, J. Crew), Paul Dillinger (VP and Head of Global Product Innovation, Levi Strauss), and many more. They shared their unique experiences and insights from different perspectives within the fashion business -- a relevant point of view that makes every edition of Fashinnovation unmissable.
Karina Mondini, Digifair365's Ambassador at Fashinnovation
Karina Mondini, womenswear designer and Digifair365's Ambassador, shares her relationship with the new fabric sourcing platform. Images courtesy of FASHINNOVATION.
We were delighted to have taken part on Fashinnovation with our very first brand ambassador. Brazilian-Italian womenswear designer Karina Mondini shared some of her pains as an independent designer and fashion brand creator. With no time to go to fairs and suppliers rejecting her demands because of her low minimum quantity requests, Karina was finding impossible to get her brand off the ground -- until she found Digifair365. "A friend told me it was like an Uber, all I had to do was to say what I needed and the product would come to me", she explains; and now she is one of the early adopters of the platform. As our ambassador, she presented Digifair365's on-demand fashion technology to the avid and curious ears of Fashinnovation audience. "This is an example of technology that didn't arrive to take people's jobs. On the contrary: it puts them on the map and connects them. I'm very honoured to be part of what´s being called the 4.0 revolution". We are very excited to be part of it as well, watching technology absorb operations with efficiency, opening space for human creativity to arise.
Our eyes and ears during the event, Karina reports that one important message from Fashinnovation is that "innovation means to restore and re-imagine the connection with people and communities -- fashion technology acts as a vehicle for those values, and not just as a value alone". Fashinnovators believe in that idea as well, and apply the concept in different projects and businesses, some of which we share below:
Ryan Leslie and the SuperPhone: Technology with a Personal Touch
Grammy-nominated artist and music producer, Ryan Leslie turned into an entrepreneur with his SuperPhone: a texting marketing service to bring a personal touch to communication between brands and consumers. Image courtesy of FASHINNOVATION.
A Grammy-nominated artist and music producer, Ryan Leslie is also the founder and CEO of SuperPhone -- a texting marketing service that promises to make texting the strongest marketing channel of a company within 3 months, allowing companies to talk to millions of people and create a strong relationship to the consumer. The proof: he removed his album from iTunes and used his own SMS campaign to promote his latest release, driving over 2 million dollars in gross revenue. A text establishes a very personal connection, a storyline that doesn't need to restart every time a company reaches the consumer. His thoughts are extremely logical: the consumer is already mobile, so what better, fastest way to reach them?
Levi's Commuter X Jacquard by Google
[Left]: People trying on the Levi´s Commuter jacket and experimenting the technology. Image by ChineyLee. [Right]: Paul Dillinger, from Levi's, Dr Ivan Poupyrev, from Google, and moderator Michael Ferraro, from Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), present Levi's Commuter x Jacquard by Google, with Bluetooth that connects to a mobile and touchscreen technology in the jacket's thread. Image by Clifford Toy.
We know Google firmly believes in wearable technology, and experiencing their collaboration with Levi's first hand was mindblowing. Bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) to clothing, the technology is in the actual thread of the Commuter jacket, concentrated on the left-hand sleeve and matching Bluetooth with touchscreen technology. Specific movements can then be linked to specific mobile applications, for instance: two quick taps to start music, and swipes to change the songs. A cool detail for eternal phone losers: the jacket will vibrate more and more as you get closer to it.
Eno Polo, Havaianas North America: Brand Experience Through Technology
 Eno Polo, from Havaianas North America, poses with attendees of the conference. Image by Clifford Toy.
 Visitors could interact with different fashion technologies at Fashinnovation. Here, a visitor experiments with YouCam Makeup from PerfectCorp, that allows people to try new looks in real time. Images by ChineyLee.
 Singer and actor Deemo poses for pictures after his talk. His philanthropy work revolves around homelessness issues and inspiring inmates. Image by Clifford Toy.
 Exchanging ideas and connecting people was one of the main perks of the event. Image by ChineyLee.
Mr Eno Polo had a tough job: relaunch and rebrand the Havaianas brand (a very popular type of Brazilian flip-flops and sandals) for the US market. In theory, Havaianas was perfect to thrive in the digital market without the need for a physical space, and still, the challenges were many -- including a target to retain the sandals' sales during the winter period. His solution? To improve the retail experience: in the case of Havaianas, to give the customers in its shops a sunny, solar experience even in the middle of the winter. Innovative and surprising pop-ups were added to that strategy, such as a shop in Santa Monica Pier (California, US) made entirely of ice, opened until the structure melted. They also implemented a Virtual Reality Experience (VRE) at some shops, where the user is invited to build their own beach and interact with it.
The lesson is: yes, the digital market exists and it's a vital part of an omnichannel retail experience, but that does not represent the end of retail as a unique meeting point with the consumer -- the challenge is to find new ways to implement fashion technology in the physical space and experience. Companies can communicate the very core of their brand in a very personal manner, and that bonding with the customer is extremely valuable in a physical shop. The human touch should never be lost, and it is mandatory not only to gain a competitive edge but to create a brand and a product that's approachable and likeable both in the physical and digital worlds.
eStylar - the e-commerce virtual fitting room
Mathis Gath and Jaclynn Brennan created eStylar, a startup that aims to combine fashion technology to the fitting room, bringing it to the consumer's mobile phone. Using a 3D avatar that accurately provides volume and exacts measurements, along with augmented reality, eStylar creates a virtual fitting room specifically created for e-commerce fashion brands. This invention minimises the impact -- both financial and environmental -- of online retailers when it comes to returns (in the US, at least 30% of online shopping is returned or exchanged, compared to less than 9% in physical retail), and follows the trend of fashion on demand.
Fashion Technology vs Sustainability
1. [Left]: Giulio Bonazzi, CEO of Aquafil SpA. [Right]: the showcase for constanza+LAB, founded by Constanza Mas, a 21st-century experimental fashion design laboratory that merges fashion and technology in an innovative and sustainable way. Images by ChineyLee.
2. Gonzalo Pertile, director of corporate social responsibility at J.Crew, during his talk at Fashinnovation, along with Kohl Crecelius, co-founder and CEO of Known Supply and Krochet Kids. Image courtesy of FASHINNOVATION.
Nearly all speakers at Fashinnovation had unavoidable concerns about sustainability and community, looking into the integration of human value within the fashion chain. Projects and proposals approached the theme in a way that human and community values should be improved in order to have a better consumer x producer relationship and a smaller environmental impact, bringing more transparency for the fashion industry as well.
Gonzalo Pertile, from American giant J. Crew, shared the brand's efforts leading sustainable raw materials and social justice efforts; and Giulio Bonazzi, CEO of Aquafil SpA, presented his company's projects that aim to bring the circular economy into the mainstream by turning waste from landfills and oceans into high-quality fibres. Fashion technology is a great ally for a more sustainable and transparent industry.Tech-fashion innovations that can improve the efficiency of the fashion buyer's demand are closer than you think. Discover more by signing up to our platform.