It’s no secret, the fashion industry hasn’t been the quickest to adapt in the digital space. For a while, there was this great resistance to social media participation through a slew of poorly functioning websites and a significant absence of branded ecommerce shops. It has always baffled me that, although the intrinsic nature of fashion is to dictate trends in aesthetic and culture, we have completely stalled our translation of fashion into the Information Age. Today, we’ve definitely shifted our attitude and efforts to not only play in the digital space, but to become a reputable player. There’s still a winding road of improvement until the industry truly arrives, but there are some pioneering brands leading the way through community, innovation, and communication. In the end, it’s collaboration between fashion and technology that will help us get there.
With that being said, I was thrilled when Liz Bacelear, the organizer of the first ever Assembled Fashion event produced by General Assembly, asked me to speak on behalf of Fashion’s Collective for the Rise of the Social Brand panel. GA has been a trailblazer in the tech start-up community, fostering innovation, talent and disruption of traditional business models. It was such a treat to sit on the panel with Gemma Carven, the Senior Vice President of Digital Influence at Ogilvy, Sarah Conley, the Social Media Manager at ideeli, and Daniel Saynt, the Director of Marketing at Rebecca Minkoff, with the incomparable Kathryn Finney of the Budget Fashionista leading the conversation. As Assembled Fashion was getting under way, there was this undeniable energy of innovation that was bursting from the seats of panelists, moderators and attendees alike.
Hot topics were discussed throughout the day, like how the tools of social media may be democratized but are certainly not free to utilize. Or how do you convert Facebook fans into loyal consumers? And the impassioned discourse around how the proper fit of clothing purchased through ecommerce will be the new killer app, started by Anthony Santagati, Lacoste USA’s Creative and Digital Media Manager.
With all the conversation and information shared that Saturday at Assembled Fashion, it had me thinking back to the power of collaboration and innovation. Hearing from Caroline Wexler, Lucky Magazine’s Director of Digital Content, she shared that the print publication is partnering with cutting edge tech start-ups in an effort to offer a more fulfilling experience for readers using mobiles and tablets. This is precisely the direction that publications, fashion and luxury brands should be looking towards – creating new, radical methods to achieve a better experience for consumers. Hand in hand, the tech and fashion communities can take that same innovative spirit felt at Assembled Fashion to become the prime trailblazers in this vast digital frontier.