Decoded Fashion Forum

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.

mager spotify

We may be the first Fashion Hackathon, but we’re also the first Hackathon for plenty of developers, designers and business and marketing professionals. What? how? why? do you do what? when? To answer some of the top questions, we talked to Spotify’s Hacker Advocate Andrew Mager, who’s been to more than 50 hackathons around the world.

What is the most challenging aspect of the Fashion Hackathon?
Getting people to understand that it’s more than fashion. It’s art, it’s e-commerce, it’s music, it’s retail.

What are your top 3 tips to first-time hackers?
Make friends early, network your ass off. Listen carefully to the API pitches to see what’s possible. And have fun; you’re building something in a short time that you aren’t getting paid for. You could be building the next big thing though, so don’t have too much fun!

What is the best way to form a team?
Network as soon as you walk in the door. Watch people as they watch the API demos to see which talks to interesting people. At the end of the API demos, stand up on the mic and say your skills and say what your idea is. Ask for help if you need it.

What are your top tips to experienced hackers who have never worked with fashion or retail tech?
Expand your horizons. A fashion hack is more than just nice clothes and runways. Even if you wear a nerdy black t-shirt everyday, there is a place for you at a fashion hackathon.

Andrew will meet with the Hackathon finalists for a mentorship session before they pitch at the Decoded Fashion Forum at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. @mager

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