Last Wednesday saw the first instalment of FashTech, a series of networking/panel events aimed at both the fashion and tech industries.
Over 100 startups, bloggers, PRs and fashionistas descended on the Shoreditch Google Campus to expose their wares, and to instruct folks like me what (not) to wear.
On the industry panel were ex-buying director at TopShop and ASOS, Caren Downie; co-founder of Nuji, Dean Fankhauser; co-founder of Dressipi, Sarah McVittie; and senior vice president of content at Stylus.com, Fiona Harkin.
The discussion included thoughts on social media, the relevance of bloggers to fashion brands, the alleged sleepiness of generation-Z, the Internet's "identikit" effect on fashion and whether online retail would ultimately replace the high street. On the last point, a show of hands illustrated how few people would part with over £2,000 via mobile, suggesting that app-based shopping hasn't quite consumed the mind of the consumer.
On show were several colourful stands promoting fashion tech startups. I spoke to Cally Russell, founder of iPhone app Mallzee, which he described as a "cross between Whatsapp and Tinder". Users tell Mallzee their style rates and hates, then the app finds and collates style suggestions attuned to them. "There shall be no more trawling through hundreds of pages of clothes online, thanks to Mallzee," said Russell.
I also met Daniel Evans, Senior Product Manager of Depop. This app aims at the seller – just snap the product and it's uploaded online to buy (and share). It's Ebay for the young social media-attuned artisan. With Italian fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni as a social ambassador, this app is an interesting one to watch.
One further app caught my eye, half due to their attention-grabbing cardboard YouTube frame (for which this merry reporter was happy to pose for) and half due to their take on online shopping. Grabble users simply "grab" items they like with a dedicated browser tool, then Grabble sends recommendations and trending items based on what they choose. Following my fetching pose above I was termed a 'hipster', much to my protest. But hey, when you write for ITProPortal you gotta have an edge.
The next FashTech is on 16 April (venue TBC) and covers wearable tech and iBeacon. If you're interested in fashion, retail, tech or online marketing, I'd recommend a visit, because judging by the March installment, these events should continue to vibrantly explore a fast-developing link between tech and fashion.