5 Things You May Have Missed This Week

By Georgia Buchanan

1. FashTech partners with Condé Nast Digital for the inaugural April London Summit!

This week we announced that Condé Nast Digital will be partnering with FashTech for our upcoming London Summit. We are delighted with this collaboration and are especially excited for the great list of Condé Nast speakers joining our panel, including Will Harris, Head of Digital; Oli Franklin, Associate Editor of Wired; Nick Carvell, Fashion Editor or GQ.co.uk; Malcolm Attwells, Commercial Director and Hazel Lubbock, Deputy Editor of CNTraveller.com.

Zoe Willis, Partnerships Director of Condé Nast Digital commented “Condé Nast Digital is spearheading high profile and innovative projects as well as a limited number of partnerships in 2016, the first of which is FashTech. We are hugely excited to be involved in a pioneering summit that brings together such influential leaders in the fashion and digital space.”

Read the full press release here: http://www.fashtech.org/news/
 

2. Natalie Massenet hails London the “Capital for Fashion and Technology”

London Fashion Week kicked off this week with the bold and wise words of Dame Natalie Massenet, hailing our city the world capital of fash tech.

The Chairman of the British Fashion Council, who just received a Damehood at Buckingham Palace, said “As an organisation we are fiercely proud of [London’s] reputation - FashTech is essential to growth in our sector and it keeps us well ahead of the competition… I believe that London is really the greatest fashion capital in the world”, she said, explaining that it is “the centre of creative talent, a hub of technological innovation and a vibrant business community - with Fashion Week at its creative and commercial heart - attended by thousands and watched by millions worldwide”.

“We were the first capital to live stream our shows from our central venue in 2009 making London now a capital for Fashion and Technology… Living and breathing in the digital world informs everything that we do. As an organisation we amplify our events to a global audience through live streaming, social media and content distribution”.

So now even Natalie Massenet has said it herself: London is the place to be for the latest in FashTech innovations. Want to see why? Get your tickets for our London Summit here:
http://www.fashtech-summit.com/tickets/
 

3. Technology Enabling Fashion at AW16 Fashion Week
Guest Article by Noemie Balmat, Founding Editor-in-Chief of Clausette, a proud media partner

Christopher Bailey from Burberry made it a statement, technology has to be considered as a fashion enabler. And the runways this week sneakily showed us some hints on how tech is going to enhance fashion this season.

Fitbit partners with Public School, making wearables actually wearable: the New York-based fashion label has been developing a range of accessories for the Fitbit Alta activity tracker, which will go on sale March 1st, priced at $129.95. “What we’re trying to do with Fitbit is put a more organic face onto technology so it can seamlessly integrate into your everyday life - so it’s not really technology, but an accessory that has technology in it”, said Chow, one of the two founders of Public School.

3D printed dresses at ThreeASFOUR’s NY show: The New York-based label showcased two sculptural 3D printed dresses. The label collaborated with designer Travis Fitch and 3D printing company Stratasys using a brand new flexible material, the Nano Enhanced Elastometric Technology material.

Lite-up dresses at NY’s Chromat: Becca McCharen’s Girls had stretchable sensors covered by stylish hand wraps, lighting their dresses up each time they squeezed them, thanks to a wireless signal.

BFC showcasing Fashion Week screens all over London for LFW: in a move to democratise fashion for all, the British Fashion Council showed LFW footage to over 35 million people, through 60 screens around London and in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

#GucciGhost taking over the brand’s Snapchat: Gucci unveiled its latest street art collaboration on Snapchat this Tuesday. Moving from the streets to the catwalk, the GucciGhost (Trevor, aka Trouble Andrew) collaboration with the brand features graffiti on skirts, handbags and emblazoned across the back of jacket. As Gucci creative director, Alessandro Michele, told WWD: “I saw the way Trevor was using the symbol of the company and I thought it was quite genius. It’s completely different than the idea of copying. It’s the idea that you try to [take to] the street, through language like graffiti, the symbols of the company”. 
 

4. Amazon’s Quiet Clothing Launch & Private Label Team

Amazon has ever-so-quietly launched seven in-house fashion labels selling a range of different apparel and accessories for men, women and children. Launched with little fanfare, the seven private label brands, including Lark & Ro, North Eleven and Society New York, have about 1,800 stock-keeping units. The clothing has only been available for the past few months and the labels do not give shoppers any clue that they’re Amazon-controlled brands.

Ed Yruma, KeyBanc Capital analyst, said of the international brand: “Amazon is one of the most disruptive forces in retail and technology. We think it will continue to take market share and also benefit as total share accorded to e-commerce continues to grow”.

Not only is the company selling under its own trademarked brands, it is also building a team to make private label goods. Whilst Amazon hasn’t yet revealed its exact plans, the e-commerce giant has been seen to post job listings for the “Amazon Fashion Private Label Team”, spelling serious potential trouble for other companies selling fast-fashion or basics.

Experts see Amazon’s push into private-label apparel as a savvy move. It could benefit the brand in many ways; it could make good use of its revolutionary data-collection capabilities to immediately read consumer trends and deliver products to match them; fill gaps in its merchandise selection that leading brands won’t supply, and ride the change taking place in retail and fashion at the moment towards the see-now, buy-now, wear-now movement.

Overall, it seems that Amazon is well poised to be a significant contender in offering basics and fast fashion. Following Apple’s open demonstration of wanting to infiltrate the fashion industry (as sponsors of the MET Costume Institute’s 2016 exhibition), Amazon seems to be the next global brand giant wanting to get in on the goods.
 

5. YouTube Influencers x Brands

I’ve talked about the power of social media influencers in the fashion world in previous digests, and here’s yet another platform on which they reign supreme: YouTube.

These modern-day stars can be serious cash cows for big brands as just one passing mention from these connoisseurs of cool can make products fly off the shelves overnight. In the same way that celebrities have the power to influence what’s hot and what’s not, these YouTube vloggers’ endorsements can have a stratospheric effect on a brand’s product or name. It has even been reported this week that beauty bloggers are now more impactful than experts for the industry’s continued growth.

However, the big stars (i.e. Zoella, Jack & Finn Harries, Tanya Burr), and even those with just the few tens of thousands of subscribers (…!), now have so many brands knocking on their door that it may prove impossible to get in contact; and even if you do manage, it may cost you half of what they could potentially earn you just to get a mention.

Enter FameBit, the Tinder for YouTube influencers and brands; an online marketplace where the two can connect. It has proven to increase yearly sales substantially whilst also decreasing the cost of acquiring a customer. Not only that, but “When you enlist an influencer to market your product, you get an audience that is very well disposed to that influencer’s opinions because they are fans” said Paul Verna, a media analyst for the research firm eMarketer in New York.

It can be really challenging for smaller brands and smaller influencers to find one another. FameBit allows them to connect and mutually benefit from the relationship. The company also recently teamed up with e-commerce platform Shopify to enable it’s influencers to open online stores.

Whilst the huge global YouTube stars obviously have their pros, such as mass international reach, smaller influencers have a lot of sway with consumers, said Coltrane Curtis, founder & managing partner of Team Epiphany, a full-service marketing agency whose services include helping brands leverage influencers. Engagement is what a brand needs, not celebrity. “If the influencer is considered an expert in a particular area and their subscribers follow them because of that, those subscribers will also listen to them”.

So for any startups reading this digest who are looking for some great exposure, this may be a good avenue to consider! Finding a popular vlogger that loves your product is invaluable for brands; it’s the gift that just keeps on giving.