As most schoolchildren are told from a young age, A stands for Apple; April, on the other hand, surely stands for the Apple Watch. The industry’s most hotly-anticipated wearable has been preceded by months of speculation – could it sell as well as the iPad on its launch? Will it provide a natural fit for fashion editorials? Now, on the eve of its launch, keen industry-watchers are looking to Baselworld (the watch industry’s international trade fair) for possible rivals. There, a crop of new announcements are proving themselves worthy contenders to the smart watch throne – one which, as we should remind ourselves, Apple hasn’t ascended to quite yet.
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
Topics: wearable tech, Apple Watch, Decoded Fashion NYC Global Summit, MICA, wearables, barney's, Decoded Fashion New York, fashionista, Amy Puliafito, intel, Misfit, opening ceremony, Weekly Stories, NYFW, apple, Matthew Woolsey, Lauren Sherman
Screaming girls and Sherlock Holmes, what a way to open our Apple Store Meetup. If you arrived on time, you would’ve been met with an outpour of Benedict Cumberbatch fans, as we did a swift turn around to get ready for our event.
With a full house, it was time for us to reveal our 2014 Calendar and a special opportunity for founder Liz Bacelar to tell the story behind Decoded Fashion. We unveiled our plans for SXSW and the launch of the Fashion Hackathon and Summit for London this May. Not only that, but this year we have expanded our Meetup to create a global community to uncover the best tech in fashion. January saw us head to Toronto, whilst in March we will be in Dublin, Berlin and Singapore.
Up next fit solutions go to war Fits.me and Metail- let battle commence!! With the CEO’s of both discussing different approaches to the problem of fit and how they are bringing return rates down. There is no doubt the tech is great but do customers use it? With the key issues across fit solutions being 3D representation, digitising clothes cheaply and size/shape of people against size/shape of clothing. It’s also about understanding consumer mindset and behaviour, do they need to learn to use a fit tool? And the bigger question to be asked to the retailers, do they prefer conversion sells vs reduced return? With both solutions collecting a huge database of “body shapes”, it’s clear that there is further potential in this data, yet to be put into practise. With Metail CEO Tom Adeyoola closing with "the past 5 years have been about putting infinite things on the internet, the next 5 will be about making choices”.
Diffusing the debate, CEO, Runar Reistrup introduces Depop, a mobile shopping app, that could be described as a little like Instagram with a buy button. Yes, it is another social shopping app but what stands out is it’s network of influential sellers and it’s clever use of high profile social figures to help onboard users. It’s a great way for emerging designers to sell directly to the consumer, with Designer Katie Eary using Depop to sell her designs straight from the runway.
And finally, what a breath of fresh air when ShuffleHub’s two young founders took to the stage. With a dramatic intro and a book on the floor here is Shufflehub “taking away the work and bringing the feel good” to shopping. Taking us through the UX golden rules and introducing us to a humorous testing regime on hungover friends. "We get out friends drunk, and make them sleep over" just to prove it's easy to use. Aiming for the purest and simplest browsing on the internet, one big button, easy shopping for when you don’t know what you want and also for when you do. We have a good feeling about these boys!
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