Weekly Stories

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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/.

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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

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With 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

2013 is the breakout year for the digital closet. And that’s very good news for pretty much everyone in the fashion industry, whether you’re a brand, a retailer, a publisher, or a consumer.

If this is surprising to you, I can tell you, we’ve seen this movie before…

We’ve seen it in the early days of online retail. As recently as 2009, a lot of people were asking, “Why the heck would people shop for clothes online? What about fit? What about returns? People want to go into the store and touch the product, not order based on some picture online!”

These are fair questions. We still haven’t solved these friction points. And yet, Women’s Wear Daily reports that 72% of consumers shop for clothes online. Why did online retail take off? Because when you connect the storefront to the power and convenience of web and mobile, you unlock a whole new set of benefits that outweigh the friction for many consumers.

Similarly, when brands first started flirting with social media, a lot of people said, “Why would people want a brand talking to them 140 characters at a time?” They called it gimmicky and niche, and said it would cheapen the brand. And yet we’ve seen social media turn into the primary voice for many major players.

The rise of digital closets is a similar story for the similar reason: when you connect the closet to web and mobile, you can suddenly do some incredibly powerful things – with data, with retail, with recommendations – that were simply not possible before. At Stylitics, we’ve seen this first-hand. Digital styling for a fraction of the price. Personalized recommendations based on what you actually wore and bought, across brands. Creating your packing list with items in your closet…and your boyfriend’s closet…while sitting in a meeting. All these things are either live today or will be live before the summer.

The key to taking this completely mainstream is making it really easy for people to put their closets online. So, Stylitics is working with top brands and retailers on a technology we’ve developed called Closet Connect, launching in a few weeks. Closet Connect lets people pull in all their past purchases from across retailers into their digital closet, at one time and in a few seconds.  After that, every purchase you make from participating retailers is automatically synced to your closet online. It’s free for consumers and for retailers, and we think it’s going to change the industry!

Rohan Deuskar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Stylitics. He will speak at Decoded Fashion Forum on new approaches to forecasting trends. Follow him at @rohand

When we learned about The Fashion Hackathon we knew this was something we just had to get involved with. The mission of this event and Decoded Fashion is one that we share at Rightster. We’ve been on a mission to develop new technology solutions to advance the fashion industry for all stakeholders, from designers through to retailers and the end consumer from our inception, so we couldn’t wait to join up with Decoded Fashion on this initiative.

After industry leaders from the fashion industry shared the challenges they face in evolving their businesses at the weekend event, we experienced an amazing creative energy from the 30 finalist teams who overwhelmed us with the breadth and depth of their proposed solutions.

For two seasons we’ve helping designers reach more and more of their potential customers by distributing the live stream  and runway videos of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to hundreds of sites across the internet. Now, we’re excited to be able to bring the excitement and energy of the The Fashion Hackathon Finale straight from Lincoln Center to a wide audience on Decoded Fashion website and many other sites across the web with a live stream. The in-person attendees and at-home viewers will share a unified experience with the #fashionhack hashtag wherever they are watching.

We’d like to offer anyone with a site or blog who is interested in supporting Decoded Fashion the opportunity to live stream the finale on his or her site as well. Get in touch for more information at mbfw@rightster.com.

Congratulations to all the finalists and best of luck!

Rightster will livestream the Decoded Fashion Forum on Feb. 14. Watch on mbfashionweek.com.

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Last night, Zac Posen showed his Fall 2013 collection at the Plaza—we only wish it was digital too!

He took some new direction than his past seasons, which are traditionally full of evening gowns. Style.com noted that “Posen focused less on evening gowns with his famous anatomical seaming than he usually does on the runway, favoring evening separates and a surprising number of pants, but the clothes were nonetheless loaded up with detail: soutache embroidery, origami draping and folds.”

We like the change, though, and hope thats a sign of new things to come for his brand, including dipping into more tech. He’ll be launching a more affordable line, Zac Zac Posen, and we want to see it sell online. What do you think? Hear more when he talks with WIRED’s Editor-in-Chief Scott Dadich—register now. And check out all the looks, including Coco Rocha’s closing number, on Style.com here.

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