As revered fashion judges deliberate over the winner of $10,000 cash and a launch supported by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, audience and media alike bask in the awesome that is the fashion week tents. Hackers and disrupters sit around the runway as the presenters explain their product in under four minutes while moderated by no-nonsense Vogue.com contributing editor Candy Pratts Price. Startup presenters: 42, Coveted, and SWATCHit defend their creations as intimidating judges Steven Kolb, Zac Posen, Uri Minkoff, Susan Lyne, and Dirk Standen ask the tough questions. After much deliberation Price announces the winner—Swatchit, an incredible and extremely disruptive new way to connect designers with emerging market artisans globally. “Managing communication, coordination and efficiency is fraught with complexities and frustrations as international designers navigate cultural, language and geographical barriers,” according to Hacker League. SWATCHit, a platform for connecting designers and artisians, transcends these issues and promotes overseas trade and effective outsourcing. Coveted, one-click purchasing for Tumblr, was first runner-up. 42, in-store retail analytics, came in third. Avant-Garde and Fashion Dashboard were also finalists.
After listening to the amazing ideas of the brilliant finalists, the event transitions appropriately into what lies in store for the future of fashion tech. Decoded Fashion’s future of fashion panelists Kevin Kollenda, Coco Rocha and Valentine Uhovski explain that when it comes to social media and uploading, bloggers, writers and audience are obligated to do a good job relaying the information – no uploading “fuzzy pictures.” Rocha comments, “I would never tweet during a fashion show!” When brand supporters are connecting online she continues: “You have to make sure that it’s in fact great content. It takes a lot of time, but I know it will be better…what’s the story behind it? That’s way more interesting.” We the storytellers should not take the job lightly, but respect it – like how professional photographers get paid to take the best pictures, we must also take it more seriously and realize the importance of what we post.
Editor of Glamour Cindi Lieve facilitates, quoting Kevin Kollenda’s saying “The end is the beginning.” Kevin explains the past was exclusive and protected, but with the generation on Tumblr now “all doors open…it’s a beautiful message to watch” and it’s free. He says because we have never paid for digital before with Facebook, Tumblr, etc., they are all being used more extensively than any phone or cable service. “In our minds we shouldn’t pay” for services like Tumblr or Facebook, but they’re far more used as tools than any other digital service that we pay for. Kollenda concludes, “We’re at the beginning of where it’s all going to go…you have to open up and let go and say: I don’t know anymore.” Rocha agrees when it comes to the new fashion technology frontier, “Embrace it!”