Weekly Stories

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - FFANY15 Shortlist
Image source: Decoded Fashion

Today, Decoded Fashion announce the shortlist for the Fashion Futures Awards in New York. In partnership with W magazine, this is the first year that the event is coming to New York. The awards celebrate and recognize the innovators, disruptors and pioneers who are revolutionizing the worlds of fashion, retail and tech and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in these industries.

With a mix of judged and nominated categories, the 10 awards being presented on the night range from mobile and e-commerce, to omnichannel and data and analytics.  


Combatant Gentleman
Covet Fashion

Frank and Oak
Opening Ceremony
Rebecca Minkoff

Michael Kors

Misha Nonoo
Rebecca Minkoff
Tommy Hilfiger
Yigal Azrouel

Kenneth Cole
Mara Hoffman
Tanya Taylor

CLO Virtual Fashion
Shoes of Prey
The RealReal

Material Wrld & Steven Alan
Nineteenth Amendment & Macys
OMSignal & Ralph Lauren
Ready Pulse & Stance


Adore Me
Combatant Gentleman
Shop Stage/Kate Spade
Style Sage


The shortlist will be judged by an esteemed panel of experts from across both the fashion and tech industries:

  • Stefano Tonchi, Editor in Chief,  W Magazine
  • Steven Kolb, President and Chief Executive Officer, CFDA
  • Tory Burch, Founder, Tory Burch
  • Dirk Standen, Editor in Chief, 23 Stories
  • Fred Santarpia, Chief Digital Officer, Condé Nast
  • Joshua Schulman, President, Bergdorf Goodman
  • Rodrigo Bazan, President, Alexander Wang
  • Burak Cakmak, New Dean of the School of Fashion, Parsons
  • Leandre Medine, author and fashion blogger, Man Repeller
  • Kirstine Stewart, Vice President, North American Media Partnerships, Twitter
  • Lisa Green, Head of Industry, Fashion & Luxury Brands, Google
  • Taylor Green, Partner, Lerer Hippeau Ventures
  • Brian Philips, President & Chief Executive, Black Frame

The events highest honor, The Visionaries, presented by W magazine, honors two leaders – one from fashion, the other from tech – who are spearheading innovation, disrupting the norm and are changing the face of the industry as we know it.

All winners will be announced at the Fashion Futures Awards ceremony, which will be held at The Bowery Hotel in New York City on October 29, following the final day of the Decoded Fashion New York Summit.

For further information, visit: fashionfutures.decodedfashion.com.

Reported by Grace Howard


Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Dissolving Coat PFW
Image source: Hussein Chalayan

With the Paris shows coming to a close this week, Fashion Month is now over. But what did Paris Fashion Week bring to the table in terms of tech? From light-up sandals to dissolvable dresses and bags that can showcase your favourite films, it seems that Paris loves its wearables. Here are just five of our top tech moments from the French capital.

Hussein Chalayan’s Dissolvable Dresses

“If you don’t take risks in the fashion world, you stay static,” says Hussein Chalayan. A perfectly valid reason, then, to make two of his designs dissolve on his SS16 runway. At the end of Chalayan’s show, two models stood calmly under a running shower and slowly – magically – their white, water-soluble shirt dresses broke down to reveal beautiful Swarovski-embellished gowns underneath.

As well as being yet another tech-meets-design triumph for Chalayan, who has a reputation for bringing a performance art element to his shows, this particular fashion moment went viral online.

Anrealage’s Light Show

Japanese designer Kunihiko Morinaga, the brains behind young brand Anrealage, challenged his audience to change the way they see clothes on the runway. Show attendees were invited to use the flash on their cameras when photographing the clothes, which were constructed using photosensitive fabric. Under harsh, bright flashlight, the colour of the clothes transformed. Putting the fun element aside, however, was this perhaps a bit too gimmicky to translate anywhere away from the runway?

Tom Ford & Lady Gaga Join Forces

Tom Ford shunned a generic runway presentation this season, instead opting to showcase his latest wares through the medium of video – music video, to be precise. Guest-starring Lady Gaga, who also provided the short film’s soundtrack, the video showcases Ford’s gaudy eveningwear in an engaging way, showing a ‘fun’ side of fashion that isn’t often seen at Paris Fashion Week. “Having a runway show has become so much about the creation of imagery for online and social media,” Ford explained. “I wanted to think about how to present a collection in a cinematic way.”

Diana Broussard’s Customisable Video Bag

Despite hailing from New York, accessories designer Diana Broussard decided to wait until Paris Fashion Week to showcase her latest design: a Plexiglas shoulder bag with an LCD video screen. The dbChronicle bag, which will retail for $1,950, can either play a video of the consumer’s choice, or a generic, so-called “aspirational” video created by Broussard and her team. Recharging the bag is as simple as plugging it into your laptop via a USB cable.

Old-School Wearables at Chanel

Even if live streaming didn’t exist, Chanel shows would still become trending topics on Twitter. The brand hardly pushes boundaries with its approach to tech, but it probably doesn’t need to – the ever extravagant, themed, expensive sets are a spectacle in themselves that never fail to hit Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat feeds all over the world.

Similarly, the celebrity hype surrounding the brand – both on the front row with Lily-Rose Depp and on the catwalk with Kendall Jenner – speaks for itself. However, Lagerfeld did bring some more tech into the mix for SS16 in the form of light-up Teva-style sandals, bringing back memories of 90s trainers with flashing soles.

Join us at our Milan Summit on November 17-18 to see how luxury brands are pushing tech to enhance their brand offering. Book your ticket here.

Reported by Grace Howard

Download Decoded Fashion's Milan Agenda

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Primark Social
Image source: Primark, Boston

Irish fast-fashion retailer Primark has opened its first US flagship in Boston’s Downtown Crossing shopping district.

Spread over four floors, the 77,000 sq ft store, designed by British retail specialists Dalziel + Pow, inhabits the former home of department store Filenes – a fact paid homage to via a mural detailing its heritage. Other nods to local culture include a bespoke ‘Hello Boston’ neon entry sign and a storefront installation by students from Boston’s MassArt School.

The tech-meets-industrial interior (original features include terracotta ceilings and exposed brickwork) firmly caters to high-volume sales, with 84 fitting rooms, 73 till points and 530 mannequins. A 1,000 sq ft shop-in-shop called the ‘Trends Room’ calls out key pieces, while high-definition LED screens show images of the brand’s global collections.

While it has a website, Primark currently has no e-commerce arm, and is subsequently banking on social media to drive footfall. Signs encourage visitors to take photos and upload them with the hashtag #Primania to the brand’s user-generated image platform of the same name – facilitated by free wi-fi and charging stations.

George Watson, CEO of Primark’s parent company Associated British Food, cited Boston’s prominent Irish population and college students as the motivation for choosing the city. Eight to 10 more US stores are expected to open by the end of 2016, with locations including Staten Island, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Macys Millenial Moms
Image source: Macy’s

Trading on the still-growing consumer appetite for out-of-season retail, US department store chain Macy’s has simultaneously debuted three off-price outlet concepts called Backstage in New York’s outer boroughs of Brooklyn, Long Island and Queens.

Averaging about 30,000 sq ft, the locations sell a wide range of previous-season products, including apparel, accessories, home decor and beauty, as well as exclusive newer items at up to an 80% discount.

According to Vanessa LeFebvre, senior vice-president and general merchandise manager of Backstage, the new concept was developed to attract the millennial mother, who it hopes will “graduate” to shopping at full-priced Macy’s stores as she gains more disposable income. Travel-sized products are used as a form of brand introduction, while the weekly influx of new merchandise encourages repeat visits.

Trading explicitly on the social media savvy of its millennial audience, “pin it, snap it, share it” stickers on store mirrors encourage shoppers to share the “treasure hunt” experience of discount discoveries. Additional amenities for this on-the-move generation include mobile checkout handheld devices for employees, as well as sit-down charging stations dubbed “juice bars” located just outside fitting rooms.

Social media also heavily influences the visual merchandising of the Backstage stores. Each features a single prominent display known as the “centre stage” which showcases a weekly product trend, such as ‘Country Life’. These themes are carried throughout the store on multiple Pinterest-esque product display boards.

Three more Backstage stores are set to open in 2015 in an additional Long Island location, the Bronx and New Jersey.

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - R29
Image source: R29

Using New York Fashion Week to push an agenda based on marrying culture, content and commerce, US lifestyle e-tailer Refinery 29 created a two-day wonderland of immersive installations in Brooklyn last week (September 11-12).

Dubbed 29 Rooms, the multisensory showcase consisted of 29 overtly Instagram-worthy rooms housed in a 50,000 sq ft waterfront warehouse. The site-specific art installations, virtual reality experiences, live performances and film screenings were the result of partnerships with artists, designers, brands and charity groups.

US chain Nordstrom Rack presented Fierce in Fiction – a door-mounted peep show featuring the surreal worlds of literary heroines Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. Meanwhile, US accessories brand Fossil’s Calling All Curious explored the world of makers through a series of large, curiosity-inspiring keyholes that posed questions such as “Do you colour inside the lines?” alongside an invitation to fill in the drawing behind the door.

A handful of rooms aimed to “give women a voice to express themselves, to feel good in their own skin”, tackling topics from body positivity to politics. US women’s activewear retailer SIX:02 and German sportswear giant Puma’s industrial-looking room encouraged visitors to pledge to accomplish a new goal, recorded in text using stop-frame animation, and then projected into the room. The Vote Your Values room, meanwhile, featured mock voting booths where participants recorded short messages for the future US president about issues that were important to them.

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Gucci Runway
Image source: Gucci

Since becoming president of the Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana in April, Carlo Capasa has spoken about his desire to bring fresh energy to the Italian fashion scene. So how has he been promoting innovation at Milan Fashion Week this season?

In April, Capasa told WWD he wanted to offer “real support, infrastructures, training and financial support” to young designers who wished to show at MFW. It seems he has kept his promise as, following in London and New York’s footsteps, Milan finally seems to be paying attention to new talent.

Rising star Arthur Arbesser showed his début collection for Iceberg on Friday – injecting a much-needed dose of zestiness into the brand – and commented that “Milan has a recognisably different energy today”. Meanwhile, MGSM’s Massimo Giorgetti’s first design effort for Pucci saw the brand enter a more modern, youthful phase, with its “urban mermaids” highlighted in the show notes.

To add to MFW’s new feel, its headquarters were relocated to Piazza Gae Aulenti, a newly developed area of the city. The Piazza housed the UniCredit Pavilion, another new addition to Milan’s fashion agenda, which showcased the collections of 17 young designers. Versace, Pucci and Gucci, some of MFW’s major players, also benefitted from a venue change, with the latter’s move perfectly timed with its new, forward-thinking design approach.

Since Gucci recruited Alessandro Michele as its new creative director in January, the brand has altered its design direction. Gone is the Gucci woman’s overt sexuality and moneyed appearance, coolly replaced by a more considered, androgynous and thoroughly modern figure – so the brand’s decision to stage its S/S 16 show at a disused railway station spoke volumes about the new-look Gucci.

Another of Capasa’s initiatives was commissioning online shop and magazine LaDoubleJ to create an MFW ‘Survival Guide’, containing insider advice on Milan’s lesser-known fashion haunts and eateries. “[Milan’s] getting a bit more interesting; the spotlight is on creativity and new designers,” said Sara Manio, senior editor at Vogue Italia, to the New York Times.

With Milan being Milan, great changes aren’t going to happen overnight. So while even usually predictable brands like Armani decided to play a wild card this season – exploring a “new femininity” manifested in transparent fabric and almost ombre stripes – Dolce & Gabbana stuck to what they know, with the brand’s army of models taking selfies on the catwalk, sporting outfits that celebrated all things Italian. However, their native fashion capital really is something worth celebrating this season.

Join us at our Milan Summit on November 17-18 to discuss how Italy plans to drive fashion innovation further. Book your ticket here.

Reported by Grace Howard

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Fairplay
Image source: Fairplay

MILAN, ITALY – With the Decoded Fashion Milan presented by e-Pitti.com rapidly approaching, Fairplay sat down with Alessandro Pacetti, responsible of Hogan’s Digital PR department, about the casual lifestyle brand’s role as a partner and judge of this year’s The Fashion Pitch competition that will award the best fashion-tech startup of the year.

Pacetti, a key force behind the luxury lifestyle brand’s savvy ad and social media campaigns like “#HoganClub” and “#HoganBusyBeautiful” discusses how Hogan has achieved worldwide recognition as THE luxury sneaker and apparel brand for Generation Y and Z and a launching pad for burgeoning celebrities.

What does it mean to Hogan to participate in Decoded Fashion Milan, an event that will unite some of the biggest players in fashion tech?

It is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on Hogan’s brand identity – its history as a luxury sneaker brands and our heritage as a lifestyle company. We are also excited about discovering new talents in the tech and fashion world.

What startups are exciting to you these days?

Those who present themselves with a deep understanding of consumer behaviour and those who know how to leverage data and influencer content, as well as what items people want to buy.

Hogan’s social media strategy is pretty exciting – take the #HoganBusyBeautiful campaign for example – that dives into the lives of female DJs, editors and opinion leaders who are constantly on the move, rather than run-of-the-mill A-list celebrities. What is the thought process behind this?

We are focused on story-telling and bringing to the fore the lifestyles of the images that we have worked with, who are all in line with what Hogan represents. Hogan’s history if full of personalities, whose careers took off, after they were featured in our ad campaigns.

We worked a lot with emerging names like Patricia Manfield and Giotto Calendoli and now they are really gaining steam. We also worked with Chiara Ferragni and Riccardo Pozzoli in early 2013 and now Chiara with The Blonde Salad team has just been awarded as Blogger of the Year during Bloglovin’ Awards 2015 in New York.

Hogan is intent on working with people who are really interesting and not necessarily famous –people who have a really strong identity — and this in turn gives us a strong identity. Not to mention, these people talk about us on social media. It becomes a virtuous circle of communication.

How do you stay abreast of all ongoing changes in social media?

First of all, you need to create quality content. And you need to adapt this story-telling to what’s happening today. When we are talking about a new platform, you really need to incorporate a distinct point of view that is tailored for that specific social media.

Socia media is a channel of awareness and impressions. We are pioneers in social media advertising – we were one of the first luxury brands that had a presence on Instagram advertising. We were right there on September 2015 as soon as it launched in Italy.

I really enjoyed “The Rebel Journey” about the dance off between Laurent and Larry Bourgeois. In telling the story of the luxury sneaker, how important is film as a mode of advertisement in the fashion world?

With films there are really so many possibilities. Films allow the viewer to see the attitude and style of a collection through movement. It is a way for us to present how you can wear your sneaker and at the same time, films convey a great sense of style and a great deal of emotion at the same time.

So how has Hogan embraced convergence on a social media level?

There has to be a great mix between still and moving images. We are at the precipice of an exciting time in social media – it is the moment of animated gifs on Facebook and mini-videos on Instagram. We are seeing lots of short films with lots of frames per second and slow movement. It is really cool.

Every channel has to have its own language and content. We have to adapt very quickly to the changes underway in the media and advertising industries.

What prepared you for a career in social media?

I have a creative-technical background. I worked as a designer and from interface design I switched to working in the mobile applications field and so on. And then, all of a sudden there was a huge emphasis on social media and the digital world and it was necessary for me to become more competent in those fields. So I adapted. I think I have knack for handling diverse types of content and an eye for what interacts well together.

These things together with a constant eye on what is new… you always need to keep an eye on burgeoning trends. You also need to look at young people and those who are more skilled than you – it is a more humble approach, but this is a very important in improving yourself professionally and personally.

Think you’ve got what it takes to win this year’s Fashion Pitch in Milan? Apply here.

Guest post e-PITTI.com by Sofia Celeste

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Contactless Jacket
Image source: Lyle & Scott

British banking corporation Barclays has adapted its near field communication (NFC) payment technology for the wearables market – as demonstrated by the Contactless Jacket, created with Scottish luxury menswear label Lyle & Scott.

Barclays’ NFC mobile payment service bPay allows customers to send money from any bank account to a digital wallet. The wallet is accessible via a number of devices, including a wristband, a key fob, the bPay sticker (which can be stuck onto items such as smartphones) – and now the Contactless Jacket.

The jacket has been designed with a small pouch in the sleeve cuff, where a Barclays bPay chip can be kept. This will enable the wearer to make payments of up to £30 ($46) by simply touching their cuff on any contactless payment terminal.

While the jacket may seem little more than a gimmick to some, the project is grounded in a solid appetite for wearable tech; the market is set to boom, with units to ship projected to reach 116 million devices by 2017 (Juniper Research, 2014).

As contactless payment becomes increasingly popular (UK shoppers have spent more than £2.5bn ($3.8bn) on contactless cards so far this year), point-of-sale solutions that permit quick, convenient transactions are more relevant than ever.

Guest post Stylus.com by Katie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Henry Holland
Image source: Visa Europe

It’s time to say “ta-ta” to the newly housed LFW! London Fashion Week felt refreshed in its new Soho location, with another wave of brands ensuring tech was embraced in the British fashion capital. So, who was killing it in the digital stakes this season?

Burberry’s Snap-Show

Given its track record of using tech to its advantage, it was little surprise that Burberry became the first brand to showcase its latest collection on Snapchat. Ahead of its S/S 16 show on Monday, the brand launched a featured Snapchat story that gave fans a preview of the collection on the app before it hit the runway, plus a look backstage. Models Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse and Jourdan Dunn, as well as Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey, also featured in the Snapchat collection.

Hunter’s Periscope Headliners

British heritage brand Hunter opted to use Periscope in the build-up to its S/S 16 Hunter Original show. The Twitter-owned, live video-streaming app gave Hunter the opportunity to showcase the bands lined up to play at the event – including Fear of Men and Tropics – before it began, as well as some behind-the-scenes action.

It wasn’t all done with existing Hunter fans in mind, though – the brand’s creative director Alasdhair Willis told Wonderland Magazine he hoped to reach “a broader audience that might not traditionally engage with London Fashion Week”.

Topshop’s Pinterest Palettes

Clued into taking the power of fashion week beyond the catwalk, Topshop collaborated with Pinterest to create Pinterest Palettes – a collection of shoppable Pinterest boards that use technology to spot emerging colour trends on the runways.

Topshop.com customers can also use Pinterest Palettes to find their “colour DNA” by submitting one of their own Pinterest boards to the system; customers then receive personalised shopping recommendations from Topshop based on their colour preferences.

Pinterest Palettes will remain online for the duration of the remaining Fashion Weeks and will conclude on October 8.

Henry Holland’s Invisible Tech

In an interesting move, House of Holland partnered with Visa Europe Collab to create what Henry Holland dubbed “connected jewellery”. At the brand’s S/S 16 show on Saturday, costume rings embedded with NFC technology were given to VIP guests, enabling them to shop the collection directly from the front row.

When guests – including Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe – decided they liked something on the catwalk, they could buy it instantly by sending out a signal through their jewellery. “For me, it was about making the technology invisible, so that the items are desirable pieces you’d want to wear regardless,” said Henry Holland.

IMG to Step Up London’s Tech Game

Finally, it has just been announced that IMG, the corporate brain behind many of New York Fashion Week’s best tech moments this season, has become a patron of the British Fashion Council. Expect to see bigger, better fashion-tech projects in future seasons at London Fashion Week.

Interested in who’s innovating at Fashion Week? Next month in New York, Decoded Fashion and W Magazine will launch the Fashion Futures Awards, celebrating talent across the fashion and technology industries. Find out more here.

Reported by Grace Howard

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Adrenaline Dress
Image source: Chromat

This is the first season that WME/IMG’s ownership of the ‘big four’ fashion weeks has truly come into play – but has that changed the way fashion shows work with tech? As New York Fashion Week comes to a close, we’ve analysed five of its best tech moments, from smart sportswear and phone-charging accessories to the use of social media as a customer engagement tool.

Chromat’s Clever Tech

Chromat collaborated with Intel – using the tech company’s Intel Curie Module which, according to Chromat, serves “as an extension of our sensory systems” – to create two garments that adapt to the wearer: the Adrenaline Dress and the Aeros Sports Bra.

The Adrenaline Dress responds to adrenalin levels; sudden spikes in the wearer’s adrenalin cause the 3D-printed, tech-powered framework to go into ‘fight or flight’ mode, forming an imposing shape around the wearer. Meanwhile, the mechanisms behind the Aeros Sports Bra are triggered by perspiration, respiration and body temperature. The responsive bra, which marks Chromat’s first foray into activewear, has air vents that open when the body starts overheating.

Hilfiger’s Halo

Tommy Hilfiger’s S/S 16 show was the first ever event to use Twitter’s new ‘Halo’ feature, which allows users to record 360-degree video footage with multi-camera devices. It wasn’t the first time Hilfiger had partnered with the social media site, though, as last season’s show made use of the ‘Twitter Mirror’ software.

The Instagram Takeover

Instagram offered a daily feature, The Best of Fashion Week, in its Explore section during NYFW, and fashion brands themselves also utilised the image-sharing app to engage customers.

DKNY’s newly appointed creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne decided to connect with the brand’s fans through Instagram. Using the new ‘Direct’ arrow on the app, users could send runway looks from the #DKNYSS16 hashtag to @DKNY in order to receive information about the story behind specific S/S 16 items.

Misha Nonoo, meanwhile, went a step further by foregoing the runway to stage her S/S 16 presentation on Instagram, uploading the whole shoot to an account called @mishanonoo_show. Speaking of her decision to use Instagram, the CFDA finalist said: “It’s so strange to me that [fashion] touches everyone, yet we have these location-specific events that touch just a rarefied few. To me, that doesn’t make sense; I love the inclusiveness of Instagram.”

Tumblr Goes Offline

For the past five years, Tumblr has been sending its most popular tastemakers to NYFW to document the shows. This September, however, the popular blogging platform decided to add an ‘offline’ element to the mix in the form of a pop-up shop and designated blogger meet-up space in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood. From September 11-13, it displayed a fashion line created by 10 Tumblr ‘artists’.

Rebecca Minkoff Loves the Apple Watch

A drone hovered over the Rebecca Minkoff runway last week, as the brand showcased an array of tech-enabled wallets and shoulder bags for S/S 16. Luxury bands for the Apple Watch also featured, meaning Minkoff has beaten Hermes to become the first designer label to sell Apple Watch bands.

The best thing about these thoroughly modern accessories? They’re all available to buy now. Uri Minkoff, CEO and co-founder of the brand, told TechCrunch: “Unlike the Hermes band, our [bands] are available to ship this month… with the new iPhone 6S coming out, women are wanting to buy their tech accessories now instead of waiting six months.”

Interested in who’s innovating at Fashion Week? Next month in New York, Decoded Fashion and W Magazine will launch the Fashion Futures Awards, celebrating talent across the fashion and technology industries. Find out more here.

Reported by Grace Howard

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