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Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Magnetic Dress Collab
Image source: Iris Van Herpen

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘craftsman’? Perhaps an elderly, bespectacled man hunched over a kiln; perhaps a more fashion-fitting scenario, featuring a Hermès Birkin being carefully hand-stitched by a pair of expert hands. Either way, when considering the concept of craft, most of us automatically think of something slightly antiquated and nostalgic. So how can craftsmanship – and the luxury goods that go hand-in-hand with it – possibly survive in 2015?

As a society, we keep wanting more. Social media has benefited us a lot, but it has done nothing for our buying habits. Thanks to the internet, new sartorial temptation is only a click away; apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Depop and Villoid can easily pique your interest in things you never knew you needed. Furthermore, high street stores and low-cost e-tailers now have a lot of advertising tools at their fingertips. They may not be able to rival Chanel or Saint Laurent in terms of expenditures on glossy magazine advertising space, but it’s 2015 – who reads magazines now, anyway? A backlash against disposable, poorly made fashion has started to make small waves across the industry, but for each individual flying the flag for quality over quantity, there is an army of 100 people hopelessly devoted to refreshing the Topshop website every morning.

“Digital technology brings to the craftsman and artist a range of tools that offer creative opportunities that, before, were too expensive for an individual making one-offs, or too time-consuming or just plain impossible,” Grayson Perry has noted. He has a point: technological advances can only ever be a good thing for the creative industries, expanding the paradigms of craftsmanship. An increased demand for cheap thrills shouldn’t mean it’s game over for the luxury goods sector – it’s time for some fashion houses to stop romanticising the past and recognise that the talented craftsman can still exist in our digitised society, but it’s time for him to change his tools.

Take Iris van Herpen, for example, who has collaborated with a variety of talents in order to produce some exciting, fully future-ready garments. From creating magnetic dresses in collaboration with product designer Jólan van der Wiel to conjuring up a 3D-printed water dress for Show Studio, van Herpen clearly isn’t scared of the future. On a less dramatic scale, many fashion designers are enjoying playing around with fabrics, as textile technology has allowed them to innovate and push the boundaries of their craft. Remember Christopher Kane’s delightful über-fine aluminium organza back in S/S 12? And what about Stella McCartney’s continuing dedication to research and develop animal-friendly leather alternatives (which are then stitched in Italy, mostly by hand, to create the brand’s latest shoes and bags)? With a luxury brand’s budget, the sky should be the limit when it comes to utilising tech. It is a shame, then, that some parts of the fashion industry still have a narrow-minded view of what classifies as craft.

An argument exists for tech being soulless. The average consumer will find it more appealing to hear that their new shoes were lovingly hand-stitched than if they heard they were created by a 3D printer, but it’s important to remember that (most of) the robots have some form of human influence behind them. Anyone can operate the basics of Photoshop, but learning how to use the software like a pro takes a lot of time and effort. While it’s obviously not comparable to spending weeks creating a garment by hand, surely using a 3D printer to create a one-of-a-kind, out-of-this-world luxury product counts as craftsmanship too?

We’re exploring how digital technologies can enhance craftsmanship at our Milan Summit on November 17-18 with Rene Caovilla. Join us, by booking your ticket here.

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



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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

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“You know that navy blazer, the really expensive one that you bought because fashion editors like me told you it was a for ever classic, that trends were over? Well, it’s no use this season. Sorry about that.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Instagram

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

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“Instagram is killing it, and it wants you to know so. The social network just said it now has 400 million people posting carefully plated food and pristine landscapes to its service every month.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Instagram
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“Let’s start with this: fashion weeks are becoming increasingly consumer facing. We know that. Gone are the days of exclusive events for press and buyers only. Social media changed it forever, live streaming opened it up even further, and now designers are inviting the public along in person too.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Henry Holland x London Fashion Week

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

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Givenchy
Image source: Givenchy

Courting consumers’ growing desire for insider access, in an industry first, French luxury fashion house Givenchy will open its New York Fashion Week show on September 11 2015 to the general public.

Consumers can get the tickets free of charge on a first come, first served basis by registering on GivenchyNYFW15.com, with 100 tickets being set aside for New York residents living in close proximity to the venue, which has not yet been revealed. A further 1,200 tickets have been dedicated to non-industry fashion fans and students from local fashion schools, including The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Pratt Institute and the High School of Fashion Industries. Givenchy collaborated closely with the City of New York’s marketing office on the project.

Suggesting a far wider rebrand, the move also coincides with the opening of its new flagship on Madison Avenue.

The event will showcase Givenchy’s S/S 16 collection, conceived by the brand’s creative director Riccardo Tisci. He is one of the most active in the industry on Instagram (with more than 951k followers), regularly posting behind-the-scenes images to build the brand’s socially savvy following.

Guest post Stylus.com by Marta PodeszwaKatie Baron

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