To say September kept us busy will be an understatement. Straight after tons of catwalk shows, presentations and exhibitions at London Fashion Week, we headed to sunny Athens to take part in the first Digital Fashion Forum, organized by Fashion Daily.
The conference is the only event for fashion and retail professionals in the Greek market that addresses the technological developments changing the industry and highlights the new opportunities presented by the rise of digital.
Our founder, Kristina Dimitrova was one of three international speakers, alongside with Brian McBride (Chairman, ASOS) and Sue Seel (Lecturer, London College of Fashion). We had a fabulous day mingling with attendees, fellow speakers and exhibitors at DFF. For those who couldn’t join us in person, we’ve compiled some key takeaways from the day.
ON CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT
While in the US and UK (as well as most of Western Europe) the fashion blogging industry is quite saturated, in Greece the notion of blogging is just starting to get tracktion. A panel including Maritzina Kalognoma (Ogilvy Group), Galatea Laskaraki (Marie Claire), Zeta A.Tsakoumis (Journalist & Blooger), Tonia Fousek (Athens Xclusive Designers Week) among others, addressed the opportunities of working with influencers for publishers and brands. “Blogging doesn’t mean that magazines will become irrelevant,” agreed the panel. “Blogs represent just another channel of communication and engagement.”
Brand consultant and academic Sue Seel touched upon on the power of bloggers and hinted how brands can have just as personal interaction with consumers. ‘Make customers your heroes,’ she said referring to the fact that 55% of people share their purchases on social media. ‘Use that to engage with them and strengthen your relationship.’ Seel highlighted Nordstorm as a brand doing this by rewarding its Snapchat followers with exclusive content for the platform. Another example, this time from the high street, comes from affordable luxury brand Kate Spade. While its new store was being built, the brand unveiled interactive shoppable scaffolding in New Jersey’s Short Hills mall, which let passers-by interact and purchase items from Kate Spade even before the new location opens. Shoppers need to answer four questions and enter their email to receive a personal style statement and curated list of items that matched their profile. This let the brand gain insight into shoppers' preferences in a particular area and provide data for potential customers.
ON IN-STORE OPPORTUNITIES
Katerina Karagiannis, Business Unit Director of technology company UXLab (part of Atcom), explored further technological innovation in-stores. One such example comes from high street retailer House of Fraser, which used augmented reality on Black Friday last November to make its windows shoppable. People had to simply scan a vinyl shape on the window through the House of Fraser app to get a full list of the respective store’s Black Friday deals. Karagiannis also mentioned a recent project by Atcom. The company developed an interactive display for Kalogirou store that tracked women as they were moving in the shop and portrayed their feet as if they were wearing pairs of the brand’s new shoe collection.
ON THE FUTURE OF FASHION
Our own Kristina Dimitrova presented trends shaping the future of fashion through technology. She explained how smart fabrics can both enhance the garments in an aesthetic sense and also incorporate function in stylish fashion pieces. A standout example hinting towards the future, she said, is the smart Commuter Trucker Jacket. The product, result of the partnership between Google Jacquard and Levi’s, lets cyclists perform tasks like answering or blocking calls, changing music and accessing navigation information with a swipe or tap on their left sleeve (read more about The Commuter Trucker Jacket here).
Dimitrova also shared technology trends from London Fashion Week, which shook the runways this season. These included Burberry’s see now, buy now catwalk and Facebook bot, which excited its followers ahead of its fashion show. Topshop also got a mention with it’s runway to retail strategy, which let fashionistas buy carefully-selected items from the S/S17 Topshop Unique collection in store, online and at the brand’s show space in Old Spitalfields Market, immediately after the catwalk’s finale. ‘Emerging designers have an incredible opportunity to experiment with technology to showcase their collections and tell the story behind the clothes,” she said. “In a way, they are much better positioned to take risks in this direction as they’re not confronted by huge company structures and old ways of working.” This was referring to the way newcomer Martine Jarlgaard chose to show her presentation. With the help of Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset, the designer used holograms to present her new collection.
Overall, the day highlighted how, in each area of the industry, designers, retailers and practitioners can integrate technology to enhance the customer experience, their brand image, communication channels and working processes for the better.
Thank you Fashion Daily for having us. Until next time!
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