Weekly Stories

Tunepics   2- Tunepics - The feed (2) (ON EMBARGO UNTIL 22 MAY 2014)

At last it’s here, the long anticipated launch of Justin Cooke’s multi sensory social network has finally happened! Months of rumours have surrounded the ex-Topshop CMO and Burberry alumni, back in March at SXSW Interactive at our event he claimed to be developing an app that would take on the top 5 social networks. TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher asked if it was an “Instagram for emotion?”, well now that question can be answered.

Tunepics, it’s more like Instagram with a soundtrack. The first social network to connect multiple senses, combining both sound and vision, with the hope to create nostalgia and trigger memories for the user. Beautifully designed by the innovate7 team, built by mega agency AKQA, (the team behind NIKE’s technological prowess), and already supported by a long list of the hottest celebrities around, this app has all the right ingredients in the mix.

“I’ve always had a fascination with music, colour, images and the weather and how they influence our mood and emotions. I want people to be able to share the depth behind the moments they experience and to articulate all the ones that they dream of having. This is a magical and cinematic celebration of people’s lives that touches all of our senses. Music is the most powerful way to express the things we see and feel; nothing else comes close. With Tunepics, everyone can create a soundtrack to their life.” Justin Cooke, founder and CEO, Tunepics

Good luck guys, we look forward to posting our summer selfies to the tune of Eve’s Who’s that girl? (La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la).

The Winners

Yesterday fresh from the battlefield of the weekend’s Fashion Hackathon five teams pitched for the chance to be crowned top hack. With just 24hrs to polish there products and prepare to present in front of William Kim, CEO of AllSaints, Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, Designer Lulu Guinness and an audience of over 350 fashion, retail and technology professionals.

All teams impressed with ideas ranging from enhanced fitting room experiences to creating unique content at the point of sale, but who did the top spots go to…

First Place: LOOP

Second Place: SUFFRO

Third Place: BESPOKY

All teams will have the chance to have their technology implemented in store and online,  the winning team LOOP will be taking a trip to San Francisco to meet with top industry players from fashion and technology. Not bad eh?

Congratulations to all our finalists!

 

Hackathon

Over this past weekend, May 10-11, 150 programmers, entrepreneurs, graphic designers and industry experts came together to build tech that could solve relevant problems in fashion & retail. It all started with a chat with the British Fashion Council, AllSaints and Mary Katrantzou – clarifying details on how the industry works, and inspiring teams to strive towards solutions that could be applied in the immediate future.

After working for 24 hours through the night, many going without much sleep, 30 teams submitted their ideas for judging – a 3-hour-long process that boiled it all down to five top teams. You will see the best ideas on the stage today. With your help, we’ll select the audience pick and the overall winner, which will be flown to San Francisco by AllSaints to meet with top industry players, and have its tech implemented globally by AllSaints, online and in store.

The Stats:

  • 30 apps were created
  • 200 hackers were registered
  • 150 participated until the end
  • 5 Finalist teams

 The Finalists:

BESPOKY – Stylist matching PROVENANCE – Content at point of sale LOOP – Recreating wish lists SUFFRO – Enhancing the fitting room NUDGE – Connecting brands to Passbook

HONORABLE MENTION: (not eligible for top prize)

ALLSAINTS ROW – 3D immersion brand experience NIXI – Inventory data in real-time

The Finalists will pitch on stage on Tuesday May 13, to a panel of top judges from the fashion industry at the Decoded Fashion Summit. 
Check out photos from the weekend here.

Decoded Fashion Meetup London April 2014

After launching in Paris, Dublin and Berlin, it was time to head back to London for our Meetup. Having recently moved into the old White Cube gallery, what better way to settle in to our new home in Hoxton Square, than a Meetup looking at “New Ideas in Ecom and Mcom”.

We kicked off with a discussion with three of our top partners for the upcoming London Hackathon and Summit this May; Gemma Ebelis from the British Fashion Council; Jen Rubio, Head of Innovation at AllSaints; and Chris Morton, founder and CEO of Lyst.

All speakers come from very different walks of the industry, all flying the flag for the importance of the Hackathon for the fashion industry. The discussion got the creative juices flowing and our minds bulging with ideas of what we want to create – so people get involved and make an impact!

We all know ecom and mcom without a doubt are inextricably linked, and Morton revealed that 40% of users experience Lyst on their mobiles. The use of affiliate marketing is often not ideal for online fashion retailers because of this, as it makes mobile shopping slower and less intuitive. That’s why Lyst created the universal checkout!

The BFC are just moving into their fifth pillar, and yes you guessed it, it’s digital innovation. Ebelis highlighted (the many) mountains that designers face when starting off, with the two biggies being business know how and in particular the offline and online time-to-market is crucial to a brand’s success.

AllSaints’ Rubio has deep knowledge of the startup world, working with Warby Parker before taking on her current role. She talked about the importance of startups understanding how the fashion industry, and businesses in general, function in order to develop the right technology. But she also stressed that there has to be an effort from the brands’ side – fashion brands need to make adjustments to their internal structure to be able to accommodate startups efficiently. “We found that, ultimately, it all boils down to this: startups need to think about how they can help fashion brands improve their customer experience”.

Up next our showcase of three startups: Nuji, Provenance and WonderLuk. Three very different concepts and we were impressed with them all! Nuji have created a very cool intuitive mobile app design that is fun and lets users do everything “with the swipe of one thumb.”

Provenance’s concept empowers producers and retailers to be more open about the things they create by allowing them to showcase their products’ stories. A social element also lets customers take a more proactive approach, by enabling them to contact producers directly on site and ask them questions.
And our final startup for the “Wonderwoman” in all of us! Recently launched WonderLuk were our final startup, a made-to-order jewellery brand that uses 3D printing.

See you next time London!

 

Dash-Hudson-large

Despite the challenges that online apparel shopping poses, clothing and accessories make up today’s fastest-growing ecommerce segment. As reported in a recent article by Thomas Rankin, the founder of the mobile menswear app Dash Hudson, this is led by innovative fashion technology solutions that allow brands and e-tailers to tailor both product and content to each shoppers’ specific needs. Not only does this engage consumers and allow them to shop more conveniently than ever before, but it has also revolutionised shopping for a commonly overlooked, yet highly important and loyal customer segment: men.

Mens’ shopping needs have often come second to womens’ in the world of offline retail. The growth of online apparel sales has enabled a multitude of e-tailers and online brands to step up and address this issue by creating sites specifically tailored to men’s needs. And, consequently, “the Internet has changed an experience men hate” as a recent Business Insider article accurately put it, and reduced “the barrier between men and style.” It therefore comes as no surprise that a recent Rakuten Linkshare study found that the vast majority of men (83%) prefer online to brick-and-mortar shopping. Some e-tailers that target both men and women, such as Gilt, have even found that men are ‘outshopping’ women.

A plethora of online shopping possibilities exist besides the usual online stores of existing offline brands and retailers. These cater to more specific needs in innovative ways:

Pure e-tailers who offer latest fashion trends at different price ranges (eg Bonobos, Jack Threads and Mr. Porter).

Curated subscription services such as The Chapar, handpick items and send them to customers on a prescription basis, and then only charge for items that the customers decide not to return (more about this here). Other examples of this include Frank & Oak, Bombfell and Trunk Club.

Social commerce brands who allow men to curate and draw inspiration from others (eg Fab and Svpply), though this type of shopping has been found to be more popular amongst women than men.

Virtual fit tools are also making online sizing choices easier, with custom ecommerce tailoring becoming highly competitive amongst menswear startups (more about this in our FTDaily-featured article here). And the blogosphere has also given birth to men’s fashion blogs such as The Dandy Project, The Simplistic Man, The Hobbyists and This Fellow.

Ultimately, it is a question of offering a service that is tailored appropriately to a certain customer need. Erik Lautier, EVP and Chief Digital Officer at bebe summarises this well in Rankin’s article: “the question you have to ask yourself as a brand is ‘am I creating content people will be passionate enough about to share with others?’ That question is no different from what it was 20 or 50 or 100 years ago – it’s just that now, sharing is easier and faster.”

Curation and greater niche specificity in men’s brands, many of whom are online-only, have made it easier for men to find exactly what they’re looking for, either because it is being served up to them or because the discovery process has been streamlined.”- Erik Lautier, EVP & Chief Digital Officer at bebe in Rankin’s article.

Reported By Anna Abrell

 

Decoded Fashion Press Hearst

Under Stylus, Decoded Fashion will accelerate the expansion of its event series in the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America, connecting thousands of decision makers and fueling dozens of collaborations between brands and tech companies.

Read More

 

 

DF-Dublin-Berlin-2

The past two weeks have seen the launch of two new cities in our Meetup series, first we headed to Dublin and then to Berlin. Both events were sold out and we had a great lineup of speakers giving us insight into these vibrant communities.

In Dublin, we were hosted by the Wayra Academy and Sonya Lennon, founder of Frockadvisor. The event kicked off with a panel discussion on ‘Globalisation versus Localisation,’ featuring speakers Rory Caren, IBM, IDR Marketing and Academic Manager, and Fidelma Healy, COO of Gilt Ireland. Caren highlighted that IBM place much importance on analytics and big data, and that retail challenges can only be solved by working with small startups. Healy in turn revealed that the biggest challenge for online apparel sales is getting over issues of fit and sizing. The panel was then followed by startup showcases by 365 Looks, Storpal and Frockadvisor.

Check out video coverage here.

Next up: uber cool Berlin at a new campus for startups and the soon-to-be home of SoundCloud, Factory. We had a mix of speakers from all over Germany; Stylight, Amazine, Parasol Island, Bragi and DGAG. Bragi introduced their multifunctional headphones – they have received a massive $3,390,551 on kickstarter for this project. Stylight explained their concept of using style influencers such as bloggers to inspire consumers and push sales, revealing big expansion plans as they head to the US. The founder of Amazine unveiled their B2B offering using shoppable content. Miki Devic closed with his 3D technology, something he passionately discussed becoming integrated into everyday life, with huge potential to enhancing fashion and retails. Not to mention his DGAG 3D-Selfie software, which has already been used to create full-size 3D-avatars of Cristiano Ronaldo

Further coverage of the event can be found here.

We would like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who attended and to all the speakers, hosts, and partners. Stay tuned for the next city!

Reported By Anna Abrell

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