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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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“When Intel unveiled the MICA smart bracelet designed with fashion house Opening Ceremony last fall, the news came amid a flood of other, similar announcements. Buzz surrounding the Apple Watch’s high-end accessories had become deafening; Will.i.am announced plans for his own smartwatch.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Intel x MICA
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“The effort to blend traditional Swiss watchmaking with Silicon Valley technology continues with one of the biggest heavy hitters out of Switzerland.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - TAG Heuer x Google x Intel
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“At Intel’s big Make It Wearable competition in San Francisco late last year, the theme of the day was “no way.” As a parade of entrepreneurs took the stage to promote their Next Big Things, the phrase erupted in my brain again and again. A glove that tracks workers’ movements on a factory floor? “

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Wearables

NRF

Image source: https://nrf.com

Not ones to leave room for misinterpretation, NRF’s Annual Expo and Convention earned the nickname “Retail’s BIG show” some years ago – and yes, it’s sprawling enough to be quite difficult to summarise in the space of an article. A leading flagship event in the industry, the four-day event took place in New York just last week. For those of us who couldn’t make it, here’s our rundown of the top emerging retail trends set to disrupt the in-store/on-line shopping experience in a big way in 2015.

Interactive mirrors

Intel’s interactive MemoMi MemoryMirror was an undoubted star of NRF. A digital mirror designed for changing rooms, it captures and augments the experience of trying on clothing: including 360-degree views, comparisons of what you’ve tried on so far and virtual garment changes. The omni-channel MemoryMirror is already in place at Neiman Marcus, where it has prompted increased customer loyalty and boosted sales. On the flip side, more interaction means more valuable information can be converted: turning the anonymous customer into a fully connected one. But don’t worry – we don’t think the mirror can tell whether you’re the most beautiful of all just yet.

The digital wallet

Will collaborations between big tech companies and retailers convince us to ditch our metal and plastic in 2015? Digital wallets – that is, payment methods that use any connected device such as your smartphone – are designed for two reasons: to allow consumers to shop not only more quickly, but (arguably) more securely. In-store, contactless payment terminals make transactions speedier, whilst at home it can also facilitate online shopping as it stores payment details. In a panel discussion dedicated to the subject, speakers agreed that making the transaction easier will inevitably win over customers – as those speaking were Maria Thomas (of SmartThings) and Lisa Gavales (CEO of Things Remembered), however, their vested interest in proclaiming the dawn of the digital wallet was pretty evident.

Crowdsourced clothes

Are customers the new designers? In the age of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, allowing customers input into the process of bringing a product to the point of sale could be the key to not only engaging customers, but also shaking up a manufacturing process that hasn’t caught up with the digital generation. One of NRF’s most popular talks was given by Jane Park, CEO of award winning website Julep: a beauty brand that uses crowdsourced feedback and technological innovation to produce and launch 300 new products each year. One case in point is the brand’s Plié Wand nail polish applicator, for which 6000 customers pledged $75,000 toward developing the product – and that’s within a mere 24 hours.

 Even faster delivery

The rise of click-and-collect has been one of the biggest success stories for retailers this season: take John Lewis, whose Click and Collect service overtook its home delivery and helped online sales grow 19% over the Christmas period. New delivery concepts were on the agenda at NRF, however – for example, VP of corporate strategy at Cole Haan Kyle Gallery spoke about the brand’s efforts in trying out new delivery innovations. Its partnership with Uber Rush – offering New Yorkers $10 same day delivery on online purchases in September – was immensely successful, with customers receiving their goods within the hour. Overall, NRF showed that the next step for faster delivery won’t be drones, but rather, somewhere in the middle. Wipro’s drone caught eyes at the Exhibition Hall, but its Wipro Sight System provides shelf space analysis in the warehouse space as opposed to delivering your new shoes to your front door.

Reported by: Claire Healy

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“Intel Corp. will supply the electronic brains for a new version of Google Inc. ’s Glass device expected next year, people familiar with the matter said, part of a push by the semiconductor giant into wearable technology.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Google Glass and Intel
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“It’s rare to find a written description of Opening Ceremony that doesn’t include the word cool. The downtown “It” retailer has parlayed its “cool factor” into everything from live theater to your dad’s favorite hiking sandals. Meanwhile, it’s hard to find descriptions of wearable tech that don’t at least touch on the sector’s very uncoolness — think of obsessive Glassholes or dorky Fitbit enthusiasts who want to brag about their pedometer count. Big-time fashion hires on the part of Apple and Google and the avid courting of fashion editors in the run-up to the Apple Watch haven’t done much to quell the chatter. So Intel was smart to enlist Humberto Leon and Carol Lim to launch its first wearable tech device, titled MICA (which stands for My Intelligent Communication Accessory).”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Opening Ceremony + Intel Wearable

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Story - Ralph Lauren Polo Tech
Image source: Gizmag.com

With the hype over Apple Watch and Google Glass coming to define the wearables scene as 2014 draws to a close, it’s time to examine the industry’s trajectory and predict which trends are due to explode in the upcoming year (we’ll leave aside the inaugural selfie hat, for now). If beauty really is only skin-deep, it’s time to get up close and personal: commercially viable, truly technological materials are just around the corner. Sophisticated and scientific, here’s our pick of the most exciting developments in a material world.

Washable fabric circuit boards
With the most sure-fire way of identifying designer clothing still being those fatal three words, “Specialist-clean only”, one recent invention by engineers at Hong Kong Polytechnic university might be about to turn the standards of washability inside-out. The fabric circuit board (FCB), made of pre-stretched elastic yarn and polyurethane-coated copper fibre, has electrical wiring knitted in and can be worn, washed, folded and even shot with bullets. Stinky computer shirts, be gone!

Smart gloves
Need a helping hand? Awarded third place in Intel’s Make It Wearable competition on Monday, ProGlove is a smart glove more designed for industrial use than your below-freezing morning commute (hello, November). The glove can track the worker’s movements, heart rate, mood and productivity, as well as identify tools as the fingers touch them during the assembly process.

Under Armour
Founded in 1996 by former American football player Kevin Plank, Under Armour is the original game-changer in performance clothing. Trademarked technical fabrics for sports apparel might be fairly ubiquitous now, but UA are still making the news for their latest innovations – they timed last week’s launch of their latest running shoe, with soles made with the brand’s ‘Charged Foam’, just days before the NY marathon. Their Armour39 self-monitoring system combines a small Bluetooth LE-enabled pod in a distinctive chest strap, connected to an app, to track levels of exertion.

Ralph Lauren Polo at the US Open
Polo-branded wearable technology is here. A select few ball boys at this summer’s US Open wore tech “smartshirts” with biometric capabilities. In snug black compressed nylon, the polo shirts were developed by OMsignal and included conductive threads with a small snap-on module to relay health information to Bluetooth-connected iPhones or iPads.

Digital Skins?
The logical next step up from materials on the skin? Wearable tech that feels like skin. A new gen of start-ups are exploring wearable options that adhere to the skin like temporary tattoos or plasters – including MC10, a company based in Cambridge, Mass., who are currently testing ‘attachable computers’ that include wireless antennae, temperature and heart-rate sensors and a teeny-tiny battery. The infinite possibilities of the technology makes it equally exciting for health professionals as it is for style aficionados who are looking to combine fashion and tech through body art.

Our NY Summit will play host to material girls (and boys) in our panel discussion on Smart Manufacturing Transforming Fashion Today on November 18th: speakers will include; Bradley Quinn, Creative Director, Stylus Fashion; Sabine Seymour, CEO, Moondial; Dr. Amanda Parkes, Chief of Technology & Research, Manufacture NY and Francis Bitonti, Designer.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories

To look at the messenger bag, hoody and that gingham shirt of the average start-up worker, Silicon Valley really has valued function over fashion over the years. Not so, these days- 2014 has seen style and tech fused like never before, as digital stalwarts from Apple to Intel race to collaborate with the fashion world’s brightest. And, with NY-based firm CB Insights tracking a massive $1.4 billion of investment into wearable start-ups over the past 5 years – around $500 million of which was doled out in 2014 – the rest of this year and beyond is shaping up to be a retail landscape game changer.

So who are the need-to-know pioneers on the fashion x tech frontier? The Apple Watch, revealed last month, has set the bar high for covetable wearables. Smaller start-ups looking to move into the business of fashion, though, should be taking notes from more than just its high-tech specs and sleek personalisation – perhaps most savvy was the way it was rolled out. The Cupertino launch capitalised on the energy of NYFW – even convincing big fashion names like Natalie Massanet to skip the shows altogether to get a sneak peek – and later hosted a Colette takeover, attended by Karl and Anna, on the penultimate day of Paris Fashion Week. Elsewhere on the wearable scene, Intel and Opening Ceremony’s MICA – short for My Intelligent Communication Accessory – will launch this winter. The bracelet fuses luxury semi-precious stones with a 1.6-inch sapphire touch screen, but you’ll have to wait until December to find out what exactly its “communication capabilities” are.

With bold statements from fashion and tech’s biggest fish, the fear might set in as to whether smaller start-ups can break into the market in 2015. As our NYC global summit will demonstrate on November 18-19, the opportunities in wearables for retailers are huge – and far more tangible than you might first suppose. Industry movers and shakers who will be speaking on wearable innovations over the weekend include Lauren Sherman (editor and strategist at Fashionista), Matthew Woolsey (EVP of Digital at Barneys) and Amy Puliafito of wearable computing company Misfit. The latter company, specializing in stylish fitness and sleep monitors, combines affordability and style with every design: a combination that, though worlds away from the luxury vibe of more news-worthy designs of late, looks ahead to just how wearable wearable tech will be in 2015.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion New York will take place on November 18-19, 2014 at Metropolitan West. The full agenda can be found here.

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“Intel was late to the mobile revolution, but it won’t miss out on the next wave of high-tech innovation. From its “Make It Wearable Challenge” to its fashionable tech collaboration with Barney’s New York, Intel has set its sights on the burgeoning wearable technology market.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Intel Wearables