Last weekend saw the world’s first hackathon in a shopping centre: From September 20th to 21st, London’s Westfield Shopping Centre (and it’s shoppers) bore witness to a 24 hour hackathon. A group of sixty elite hackers from varied backgrounds teamed up and worked through the night to find solutions to the fashion, beauty and retail industries’ problems.
Participants included developers from the likes of fashion retailer ASOS and augmented reality agency Holition; marketing minds such as senior lecturers from the London College of Fashion; and designers with backgrounds in fields such as UX design for large retailers. The competition was filled with winner from past hackathons, such as the Salesforce Hackathon, the LinkedIn and EE Hackathon, BBC News Hack and Google Chrome Drone Hackathon, along with members of Women Who Code. It was sure to be competitive!
On both Saturday and Sunday, industry experts from Google, Twitter, AllSaints, Front Row I/O were on hand to mentor teams and help them tweak their concepts. The event was accompanied by an exhibition of new technologies around the fashion, beauty and retail space. Westfield shop goers were able to test out the L’Oréal Makeup Genius, try on Google Glass, find the perfect coat using the Fashion 3D augmented reality mirror, and use vrAse to turn their smartphone into a virtual reality headset. Also available to try: the touch-responsive Displair air display; the award-winning 3D controller Leap Motion which requires only your hands, the world’s first bracelet that can charge a phone upon a mere touch, by QDesigns; and a Sound Chamber by NudeAudio. Children were also provided coding classes by FireTech Camp, London’s only tech focussed day campus for kids aged 9 – 17, and CuteCircuit held a fashion show to showcase their innovative designs.
On Sunday, the teams pitched their ideas to our panel of judges: Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council; Myf Ryan, Marketing Director UK & Europe, Westfield; Lisa Bridgett, Director of Global Sales & Marketing at the Net-A-Porter Group; Lee Epting, Vice President at the Samsung Media Solution Centre Europe; Pia Stanchina, Senior Industry Manager at Google; and Millie Mackintosh. They judged the concepts according to four criteria: Is it innovative? Would it excite consumers? Is it cool/beautiful? and Does it solve a real problem?
And the winner? SkipQ, a system that works as an automatic check-out for fast fashion retailers: using unique removable security tags and detachers that only allow the removal of security tags of items that have been paid for, it allows users to pay for an item of clothing on their phone in-store, and leave the store. The SkipQ team will fly to San Francisco for three nights, to receive mentoring from industry leaders of Silicon Valley, including Westfield Labs’ Global Chief Digital Officer Kevin McKenzie. Congratulations!
The audience pick was ShopAID(E), which was designed to enrich the personal shopping experience through allowing users to shop with friends and influencers around the world by way of donating to charity. Check out all the highlights here.
Reported by Anna Abrell
With the Westfield Hackathon just 24hrs away, we’re excited to announce our panel of tech-savvy ladies that will be judging the teams comprised of 60 of the most tech- and fashion-savvy individuals from across Europe. The Future Fashion: 24 Hour Hack, which takes place over September 20th and 21st, aims to develop new ways to improve the customer experience for the fashion and retail brands located in Westfield. The judges for Sunday include:
Lisa Bridgett – Global Sales & Marketing, The NET-A-PORTER Group
Lee Epting – Vice President Media Solution Centre Europe, Samsung
Caroline Rush – Chief Executive, British Fashion Council
Myf Ryan – Marketing Director UK & Europe, Westfield Labs
Pia Stanchina – Senior Industry Manager, Google
Millie Mackintosh – Model, Actress and Entrepreneur
As the first hackathon to take place in a shopping centre, the event will provide a unique experience for the public and the teams participating in the competition. “Traditionally, technology advancements are for those ‘in-the-know,’ and the hackathon at Westfield London not only ‘lifts the lid’ on the tech community, but encourages shoppers to actually get involved,” says Myf Ryan of Westfield. Mentors for the teams will come from companies such as ASOS, AllSaints, Twitter, and Google, amongst others. We will then fly the winning team to San Francisco to pitch their creation to Westfield Labs’ Global Chief Officer, Kevin McKenzie.
Our judges will provide insight into the industry and offer a broad spectrum of experiences and expertise to the competition. It will be an event focused on innovation between fashion and technology, as Liz Bacelar, Founder of Decoded Fashion, states: “It’s a weekend of inspiration for participants and audience, a moment to create and learn about the possibilities of improving the consumer experience through the power of new tech.” Interested in learning more about the event? Check out the event site here.
Reported by Kelsey Wandmacher
More than 150 developers and designers meet in London for Decoded Fashion’s latest hack event, with judges from All Saints, Net-a-Porter, Conde Nast and the British Fashion Council.
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!
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.
- 30 apps were created
- 200 hackers were registered
- 150 participated until the end
- 5 Finalist teams
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
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!
The event was a blast and, I think, a pretty big success. It was the most diverse Hackathon anyone could remember – by a lot. The competition was tough, and people worked hard. Some honest good ideas emerged. Judges were fair and asked the right questions. It felt a little bit like Group Week on American Idol.
A month ago hackathons were an exotic notion, the terrain of guys like the genius 23-year-old developer who built me the website of my dreams. Now it’s something I’m looking forward to doing again next year.
The weekend kicked off with a diverse panel of articulate fashion insiders. They shared frustrations and ideas. Distilling what we had each just heard, my team and I quickly aligned on a few observations.
Given our backgrounds – two of us were lawyers, two have MBAs, one is a legit MD from Stanford Medical School – we came to see the industry’s problems as systemic, structural, and epidemic in nature. Everywhere you turn, you find just-slightly-lagging technology; and everyone you meet seems to feel things ought to be way more futuristic by now; but nobody has really defined for the industry yet what that is gonna look like, and people are tiring of humoring the notion that a radically different future awaits.
“The industry’s problems” may be the wrong phrase for the thing we diagnosed Saturday afternoon. But something smelled fishy, especially when we stepped back and assessed, as outsiders, the performance or health of the industry as a whole.
At almost every link in the value chain for fashion goods – in design, production, runway shows, curation/merchandising, distribution, pricing and markdowns, inventory forecasting, targeted marketing, and so on – people can intuit that they ought to have more data and stronger analytical tools guiding their decision-making. But nobody’s yet articulated what a good solution looks like, or how the killer app of the future differs from all the other fake-bespoke database tools already in widespread use today.
We observed that data are not at all scarce in the fashion industry – quite the opposite: there’s a ton of data, all around us, everywhere you could think to look. The problem plaguing all these pools of information is illiquidity. That is, knowledge fails to flow. Ideally, information should move from the parties generating or observing it, to any or all other parties who might valuably use it.
All the information anybody could possibly want is already, today, in someone’s reach, but it’s usually in someone else’s reach. And you can bet he or she is guarding it – jealously.
Perceiving this dynamic, my team and I explored ways we could use other people’s information to create value. We asked, if we could know anything anyone else is capable of knowing, how could we use that all-access knowledge pass to create real, lasting, exponentially-growing value for the fashion industry as a whole? A company that could do that would be everyone’s friend in no time. So we brainstormed ways new data sets might help grow overall-industry sales or lower overall-industry costs.
Then, for each idea, we spent a couple minutes cooking up product ideas and rapidly shooting most of them down – giving serious thought only to the few that we actually made sense as products someone would use or buy.
We were supposed to find ways to use sponsor-company APIs, but we wound up exploring ways to turn fashion companies themselves into APIs.
By imagining we could tap into an existing, worldwide network of hardware, software, and information, we couldn’t help feeling – and I continue to feel, strongly – that we have at our fingertips, in 2013, all the component parts of some newer, bigger, badder fashion industry. One that makes sense for, and stands to make money in, the twenty-first century.
This was the kind of thinking that had previously led my teammates Jill and Alain to found Modalyst, and the kind of reverse-problem-solving that led me to design and build The Shoplift in 2012. Last weekend, it led our team to unearth serious structural problems we believe trap creative potential, preclude discovery, set arbitrary speed limits on trends and slow down fashion as a whole, and lead to wasteful overspending on all kinds of things.
These are big challenges, too tough to resolve in 24 hours and tougher still to pitch about in two minutes.
Which is not at all a dig at the Hackathon format, honest. I found that the two-minute pitch timing nicely reflected the reality of an industry in which everyone is terribly busy, first impressions matter a lot, and success sometimes means making a scene.
Fashion insiders are furiously self-oriented people. When put on the spot to innovate, they mostly propose ideas to make their own jobs marginally easier. So far, blissfully missing out on the really important opportunities, they have steered the industry clear of the biggest revolutions, in favor of one-off features, simplifying tools, and easier ways to do business on other people’s terms (tricks to get more Likes on Facebook, for instance).
A mid-panel exit by Rachel Roy – looking amazing but ducking out early for a conflicting Saturday-morning commitment – nicely illustrated the industry’s tendency to hurry-up-and-get-back-to-work when new technology comes up in conversation.
This tendency is dangerous. It’s the kind of thing that can really hold an industry back. If we don’t decide for ourselves what the future looks like, we’re doomed to accept decisions people in other industries make for us.
I’m psyched to see how the finalists do next week. My pick to win is Fashion Dashboard, because if it doesn’t exist already it totally should. But it’s definitely still anyone’s game, and I wish all of the contestants the very best of luck. They’re currently working round-the-clock to finish their apps in time for their big day during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. (If you don’t have tickets yet, it’s not too late.)
Look for me there or check back here for my reactions after the show.
Miss the pitches by our five finalists teams or just want to relive the magic? Check out the video of pitches by 42, Avant-Garde, Coveted, Fashion Dashboard, and SWATCHit!
On Feb. 2-3, Decoded Fashion held the world’s first Fashion Hackathon, a 24-hour event where 550 registered participants and 78 teams competed to build a technology that helps American fashion designers.
About 300 developers, designers and entrepreneurs—40 percent women—worked on a variety of projects, from B2B software for production and merchandising to analytics for social media and e-commerce. Many projects were inspired by the Fashion Brief, a conversation with designer Rachel Roy, DKNY’s Aliza Licht, Rebecca Minkoff’s Uri Minkoff, Michael Kors’ Farryn Weiner, and the CFDA’s Kelly McCauley and Sideways’ Nathaniel Catanio, on what areas of the fashion industry could utilize technology to increase efficiency and drive business.
Five finalist teams were chosen to compete for the top prize—$10,000 and the chance to have its app launched by the CFDA. They will pitch live on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week during the Decoded Fashion Forum, to a panel of fashion judges including the CFDA’s Steven Kolb, Style.com’s Dirk Standen, Zac Posen, Rebecca Minkoff’s Uri Minkoff, and Gilt Groupe’s Susan Lyne.
42 personalizes the brick-and-mortar experience by using the best intelligence of online commerce. Founders: Cathy Han, Sarah Hum, Lucas Lemanowicz, Nicolas Porter
Avant-Garde remakes targeting marketing by matching customers with products by visually analyzing products and social media streams to understand exactly what customers want right now. Founders: Vladimir Dedov, Ajay Mantha, Carrie Mantha
Coveted is a 1-click platform for brands to sell their products through shareable tumblr images. Founders: Ian Culley, Michael Dizon, Jason Fertel
Fashion Dashboard optimizes commerce through competitive social media and merchandising analysis. Founder: Stephan Alber
SWATCHit is a peer-to-peer platform connecting global designers with emerging market artisans and overseas producers. Founders: Ramzi Abdoch, Jagjeet Gill, Jackson Lin, Henrika Makilya, Paul Yun
Fashion and Tech Combine at Decoded Fashion
Hacking teams spent nearly 24 hours combining the minds of developers, fashion enthusiasts, designers, and techies to create an app designed to support the overall growth of American fashion as a global industry.
Decoded Fashion Hackathon: Yes, I Said Hack
I was lucky enough to be a part of the fashion brief this morning along with Rachel Roy, Uri Minkoff, Aliza Licht, Nathaniel Catanio and Kelly MacCauley talking all things tech.
Hack This! My experience @DecodedFashion #FashionHack
This weekend I attended Decoded (my first official hackathon!) Everyone that knows me professionally knows I love hacking ideas together—it’s just something I love doing.