To say today’s consumer is connected is a vast understatement. Technology enables people to be instantly and constantly connected to experiences, information, other people, to brand stories, and to products. What’s more, their expectations of how businesses and brands can, and should, leverage technology are dramatically rising. Clearly, this is impacting the retail environment and we have already seen multiple brands respond by incorporating digital to the store experience in various ways (some successfully, others less so).
Internally at FC, we are closing out SxSW. The preparation is over; the event has come and gone. Our Fashion Brain Bar is in the past, as are all of the panels and presentations attended. Our inner circle dinner party in Austin, which took place for a small group of industry friends and leaders at our beautiful rental house, is now but a memory of great fun, great wine and great dialogue. We even brought the lessons of SxSW back to NYC and taught a workshop last week on the most critical insights, some of which are presented below in this article. However, as much as we may have SxSW fatigue, and are closing the chapter on this year’s festival, we can’t help but feel that the opposite is more attuned with reality; much more than an ending, this represents many beginnings. What will our industry do with the knowledge and insights that were presented? How will new advances in technology impact our culture over the next year or few years?
Again this year, Pitti gathered hundreds of brands to showcase their collections to the industry’s top merchants. But along with regular attendees like buyers from Barney’s and Bergdorfs, and street style photographers like Scott Schuman, this year’s Pitti brought something else…the intense heat. Temperatures soared to nearly 100°F, by my iphone’s measure. Taking a stroll through Pitti with fellow Fashion’s Collective contributor Ceci Guicciardi was anything but leisurely. And, while Pitti doesn’t discount digital as part of the experience (it’s digital platform e-Pitti is a repository of information published at the discretion of each vendor), there are certainly opportunities to improve one’s encounter. At times of severe discomfort, (scouring hundreds of vendors in Sahara-like conditions while under time constraints, trying to look chic and act professionally, for example), anything to ease the experience is both welcomed and necessary.