Here Is What You (Nearly) Missed at the Fashion Tech Forum


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The meeting of fashion and tech came to water on Chelsea Piers as innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, designers, visionaries, and CEOs gathered for Fashion Tech Forum to discuss their insights, predictions, and philosophies on fashion and business.  The event showcased talent from The Gap, Refinery 29, Coach, Elle, Neiman Marcus, Box Group, Nasty Gal, Pose, Yahoo Fashion, and countless others.

Karen Harvey Consulting hosted and , award winning journalist and Random House Editor at Large of Random House, Alino Cho, moderated.

Some of the topics discussed were utilizing innovation to engage, sell, and market, talent acquisition (always), the future of clothing.

And the Millennials.

The Millennial consumer, otherwise known as Generation Y, is that intrepid group of men and women born between the early 80’s and the early 2000’s, who shape trends and buck tradition with technology, social media, and advertising.

According to a report from The Intelligence Group, they’re 2 billion strong globally and 90 million strong domestically. They will spend over $2.5 trillion and make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.  Family and friends influence 84% of their purchases.  Many are fiscally frugal, but there are a few risk-takers in the group.

Quite a few of the speakers emphasized the importance of their role in the job and retail markets.  This group of game changers provides insight into the needs and desires of their generation. The notion of predicting what the future of sales holds for them, and for other generations was obvious: it’s about mobile and desktop transactions.


By 2017, a majority of purchases will be managed through the tap of a device.  This growing sense of inevitability is encouraging retailers to distinguish their brand from their competitors. An innovative approach to style and the creative process are key factors in attracting loyal consumers who believe in the brand and quality of their product.

The companies who are fortunate to sustain and, hopefully, innovate, will be scaling opportunities, sifting through content and increasing user visibility.  A creative-driven organization is the one that’s most likely to excel.  It can eliminate the clutter of traditional marketing by humanizing a brand and creating a dialogue where the consumer is involved and engaged behind the scenes.

And the secret weapon for this success… Knowledge.

Consumers are educated anddemand tiers of service, terms of agreement, and the freedom to offer feedback to companies. They are redefining what companies have come to anticipate in buyers.

The buyers of today are mostly women, who make up 75% of purchases conducted in stores and online.  This demographic is shifting the psychology of how, why, and where we shop.  It also outlines what and whom we are shopping for.

A tactile connection, a sense of presentation, and virtual enhancements are what distinguishes the direction of what a business will achieve in the digital age.  The discussion also touched on the authenticity of a name and the word of mouth.

Fashion Tech Forum concluded with its presentation of “Founders of the Future Challenge.”  This was an opportunity for rising fashion-driven startups, and the winner receive $50,000 and six weeks of mentorship.  The three semi-finalists were: Cosmic Cart, Rank & Style, and Just, and the winner was…

Rank & Style, a site offering top ten lists for beauty products and clothing facilitated by an algorithm that determines the best products based on public data, user reviews, best seller lists, and editorial recommendations.

All in all, a good day for fashion.

About the author: Mark Michael Stephens

Mark Michael Stephens is a professional writer specializing in pop culture, technology, human rights, and trends.  Mark has contributed to numerous publications and is honing a novel on growing up in Nevada.  He has a BA with Honors from The New School and lives in Manhattan.

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