South by Southwest has been in existence since 1987, when it was started as a music festival, and has since grown to include both interactive and film categories. Over the past years, the interactive portion has been largely made up of technology start-ups (think Facebook and Foursquare in their early days), investment firms and agencies. Not this year though; this year fashion is making itself a known presence in the interactive segment of SXSW, even more so than last year, which marked the first installment of Style X (the style element added to the festival). In this week alone, I’ve spoken to people from Burberry, Refinery29, WGSN, StyleCaster, Gap, Third Wave Fashion and Bergdorfs, all who will all be attending SXSW interactive. It seems this is the year for fashion and technology to claim it’s stake in the interactive industry and prove that we are committed to learning, to participating and to innovating.
I am thrilled to report that I’ll be there, speaking on 2 different panels (information below). But, as excited as I am to be attending, I must admit that I’m also a bit afraid, too. SXSW is notorious for being an intense experience, in more ways than one.
First, hotels book out years in advance, so finding the right accommodation + airfare combination might as well require a ten year resume as a travel agent. To give you an idea, I had to book a hotel that was 7 miles away, and really, really dumpy looking, just to secure a place to lay my head at night. After weeks of daily research though, with many thanks to Airbnb.com, I was able to score a really nice house, centrally located, allowing me to cancel our dumpy hotel, (which I’m sure had a waiting list of poor souls ready to pounce).
Secondly, the agenda at SXSW is incredibly aggressive, with panels, presentations and parties happening all day, everyday. It’s a tough job just to decide where and how to spend your time. Do you want to be in the audience hearing an industry stalwart talk about the next big thing, or do you want to be sipping cocktails and rubbing elbows with the founder of Pinterest (maybe a lousy example as he’s not yet of drinking age). Creating your calendar is a necessary and daunting task, but thankfully this year Fashionably Marketing has put together a rundown of can’t miss events within the fashion industry.
Some other things I’m wondering…How on earth do you stay connected with everyone you meet? How many trees are destroyed just to make all of the business cards handed out at SXSW? Is there anywhere else on the planet that has a queue for the LinkedIn party? What in the world do you wear to speak on a panel, schlep around town on a bicycle, professionally network and kick back cocktails, all in the same day?
Will you be there? Come say hi! I know for sure I’ll be at the 2 events below because I’m speaking. As for the rest, who knows! Probably best to tweet me @elizabethcanon_ to connect.
March 13, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Cannon Hodge, Manager of Social Media at Bergdorf Goodman
Hilary Peterson, VP Business Development at Lyst
Dave Surgan, Manager of Digital Media Communication at Morpheus Media
Rachel Tipograph, Director of Global Digital and Social Media at Gap
Elizabeth Canon, Founder at Fashion’s Collective
Brunch and Panel
March 11, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Diego Berdakin – Cofounder and President – BeachMint
Elizabeth Canon – Founder and Editor – Fashion’s Collective
Enrico Moses – Cofounder and President – FIDOO
Alisa Gould Simon – Marketing and Communications Director – Pose
Jessica Moore – Cofounder – StyleBook App
Chris Morton – CEO + Cofounder - Lyst
Philippe Von Borries – Founder and CEO – Refinery 29