DAY 1: Decoding The Game Changers

It was not so long ago that we were enjoying the spoils of Decoded Fashion London Summit, this time round we are in the city that never sleeps, New York City.

Decoded Fashion’s New York City Summit is being held in the fashionable Chelsea area. Taking place in the beehive shaped IAC building, the two day event is all about connecting the decision-makers in Fashion, Beauty and Retail with emerging and established technology companies. Decoded Fashion has been successfully exposing the fashion community to new ideas, whilst demystify technology and foster creative partnerships between tech startups, designers, retailers and media professionals in highly interactive summit formats.

ALSO READ: Day 2: Decoded Fashion, We Got You Covered!

What makes this event stand out from the rest is that it embraces brands and companies that specialize in retail, E-commerce or luxury. We love how Decoded Fashion invites you to be in the company of game changers who share their knowledge and experience with enthusiasts such as ourselves. This time round, I am looking forward to exploring the latest fashion and technology from the top influencers in the industry.

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Day 1 was all about the hustle and bustle. I enjoyed being in the company of tech enthusiasts who spoke the Decoded Fashion language. They knew the definition of Fashion Pitch, Hackathon, Meetup Mentorship Hub and Startup Demo, how can you not love that? Before we could throw ourselves into the jam packed schedule,  we where first introduced to the event by founder Liz Bacelar. Dressed in a long black Rebecca Minkoff (who is going to be a featured panel speaker on Day 2 of the event) skirt, Liz’s powwow had the right amount of omph needed to hype us up before she introduced us to the first panel speakers of the day.

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Moderated by Eliza Brooke (Editor in Chief of Fashionista.com), the speakers included Henry Davis (President of Glossier) and Mathew Woolsey (Executive Vice President of Digital at Barney’s New York). The panel discussion was about user experience, authenticity on social media and consumer investments. It centered around the concept of getting into the minds of consumers to improve their experiences online, through paying close attention to the needs of customers consumed by digital technology, brands are continuing to improve user experiences on mobile and social media in hopes to building long lasting relationships with loyal fans. The brands represented on panel, such as Glossier and Spring are success stories of digital branding due to having concentrating on the analysis and feedback of customers. I personally think that it is really important to appreciate the efforts that brands make in remaining innovative in terms of technology, especially in an industry, like fashion, that thrives on trends. As the panel discussion came to end I was left wondering, is the relatively recent marriage between fashion and technology simply a trend?

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I did not have to wonder long because I found the answer to that exact question during Decoded’s Think Tank: The Future of Wearables. One of the most common ways that we see wearables on the market is through fitness, fashion or mobile enhancing tools but we don’t always think about the long and often arduous process that revolves around building a wearable product from its conception. When technology and fashion become one, technology often has to disappear behind the scenes, usually through Bluetooth or wireless connectivity. Not only does this make the product easily portable and desirable by clients who require lightweight products that are easy to use, but it also puts the designers and their brands in a position to lead tech teams. Clare King, President of Propell LLC, has years of experience working with the technology in garment and uniforms. During the Think Tank she explained that the only way to build strong wearable products is to make sure that we keep bringing engineers, designers and tech experts together. That way, wearables can continue to be relevant because the right people are coming together to satisfy demand.

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Besides attending all the interesting panel discussions, I also checked out the brands showcasing their latest products and projects. As I browsed, there was a brand that quickly caught my eye, it was the new wearable ring called Oura. I had heard about this wearable tech ring from a friend of mine. They had excitedly told me that it was one of the coolest ways to monitor sleep and health patterns via its respective mobile app. Not only was I psyched to have had the chance to get my hands on the Oura, but I was also honored that I got the chance to speak with Kari Kivelä, Co-Founder and head of designer. During our chat, I found out that it is a ring that aims to help users revolutionize the way they sleep whilst monitoring their health. Designed and developed in Finland, it is available in both black and white as well as in Gloss and Matte finishes. Kari explained “With the unisex design, the basic idea was that the matte would be for men, who might like things like matte sports cars while the glossy style was targeted towards women”.

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As the day progressed I found out that Decoded Fashion NY, was certainly not all talk. Attendees also had access to booths located away from the main stage in the west lobby of the building. It was there that I came across a bright screen that played models walking on a catwalk on loop. I’m a sucker for beautiful shoes, so when I saw that three gorgeous pairs of high heels were strategically placed in front of the screen, I knew I had to stop and take a closer look. Jared Schiffan, Founder and CEO of Perched, a revolutionary technology for retailers explained that the interactive screen works to help customers find answers to their styling questions. How it worked is that, when a customer picks up a product at a retail store (in my case, a gorgeous pair of royal blue suede heels) the interactive touch screens navigate a customer to scroll through styling recommendations, reviews and information about products currently in stock within seconds. According to Schiffan, it’s important to put this information at the hands of consumers because we never know what they might get distracted by when they reach for their phones to look up said information.

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Leaving the booth area, I decided it was time to head on home. I left feeling satisfied that Day 1 had somewhat quenched my thirst for tech. I now looked forward to Day 2, when , &  will take to the stage!

Be sure to follow the Decoded Fashion conversation @MariaAzua_ | @FashNerd using hashtag #DFNYW.

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