Today, #FASHIONTECH Berlin surprised me, in a very good way. Since starting FashNerd.com over a year ago, I have been wooed to attend many events that ended up being retail tech cloaked in the words ‘Fashion Tech’. It’s not to say that I have no interest in retail tech, because I do, but let’s be honest here, you can’t promise me steak and then serve me spam.
So as I made my way from London to Berlin I decided to have no expectations whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I was just honoured to have been invited to give a keynote to the #FASHIONTECH Berlin audience on Fashion And Technology, The New Power Couple?
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For those unfamiliar with the event, #FASHIONTECH Berlin is currently in its fourth round at Berlin’s Fashion Week. Gaining a reputation for being quite topical in their combination of fashion design and technology, I was quite pleased to be chosen to be among the passionate fashion tech voices in the industry talking fashion tech on stage.
On arrival to the rather super cool looking Kuhlhaus venue, I found myself getting high on the buzz that was in the air. Observing the long line of taxis slowly crawling up the street, I decided to hop out of mine and walk the rest of the way. On arrival, the atmosphere was electric. You could see that the people queuing outside were more than a little excited to be there.
Taking a moment to admire the fashion parade in front me, I realised that the majority of the crowd was dressed in modern, functional and understated attire, which I found to be quite fitting for the event. Glancing at their preferred footwear, I breathed a sigh of relief at my last minute decision to leave my heels at the hotel. My sensible flat shoes definitely suited the look of the day among the Berlin fashion crowd. On arrival to the front desk, I was quickly greeted by the lovely Katharina. She kindly showed me around the venue, which was a walkabout that included five flights of stairs! Once the tour was over I quickly settled into a kind of zen like mood so as to prepare myself.
As the room filled up, I peeked from behind the stage curtain. Part of me was happy to see such a great turn out and the other part of me was wishing half the crowd would magically disappear. As I pondered on this, I was called up on stage by Ole Tillmann, a smartly dressed guy who was moderating all the talks. Once on stage, I took one look at the bright eyed and bushy tailed audience and began.
The main points of my keynote centred around defining fashion technology, looking at the inspiration behind the merge, tackling the issue of designing for consumers, challenging the perception that wearable technology isn’t fashionable, taking a closer look at the evolution of fashion collaborations, before finishing off with how fashion technology can stay ahead of the curve. As I uttered my last sentence I was pleased to hear applause, and it was only then that I realised that my breathing had returned back to normal again.
Now a member of the audience, I decided to indulge in the discussion of ‘Wearables and Design’. Joining the eager audience, we were treated to a panel of industry insiders discussing unfolding the future of fashion and technology, which was followed by Agnieszka Wojdyr and Dr. Christian Ehler keynote on Fashion and Technology: The European Perspective. Other influencers that graced the stage included Amanda Cosco of Electric Runway discussing Wearable Technology and the Future of Fashion and Anina Net of 360 Fashion Network talking about Powering Up Your Fashion Without Coding. As we broke up for lunch, I was left wanting more. Watching the crowd disperse, I felt like my head was buzzing with ideas and excitement. I felt right at home in the company of like minded individuals who I could freely converse, debate and talk about fashion technology to my heart’s content.
After lunch, #FASHIONTECH Berlin turned to the topic of retail tech. By this point, I did not mind so much because A, they called it what it is ‘E-commerce and the Future of Retail’ and B, a little bit of variety at such events can definitely go a long way in keeping the crowd interested. As I listened to all the talks, there were two keynotes in this segment that caught my attention. They were Genevieve Kunst of Popsugar, talking about the future of online shopping: What the Millenials Want and Daniel Raschke of Picalike talking about visual technology empowering fashion e-commerce. I really enjoyed their keynote because after spending the morning indulging in all things fashion tech, I welcomed a sprinkle of retail tech.
As #FASHIONTECH Berlin came to a close, it was rounded up with interesting keynotes on digital marketing and communication, before Anita Tillman and Andreas Gebhard hopped on stage to bid us farewell.
Grabbing my belongings, I was glad that I had made the effort to attend #FASHIONTECH Berlin. It was as refreshing as a cool glass of fresh lemonade on a sunny day. In my eyes, they had successfully showed us that when it comes to satisfying the appetites of many, you need to serve them a variety of delights. Do not try to do a fashion tech event with hardly any fashion tech, because people, like myself, will notice. So as I headed off to catch my plane home, I felt confident that I would definitely attend #FASHIONTECH Berlin again. I am already looking forward to it.