What the Retailers Had to Say at Fashion Digital NY 2014


Fashion Digital brings together innovative retailers with top publishers and e-commerce experts to meet, discuss and solve some of the most challenging problems facing the apparel retail industry in the digital space. Last week, industry leaders gathered at Chelsea Piers to learn about the latest trends, obstacles and solutions that the fashion industry has encountered recently.

Panels ranged from discussing innovation labs and investment in emerging technology, to the CEO and co-founder of Warby Parker, David Gilboa, presenting a keynote about how the eye wear company disrupted the industry through its unique ‘to market’ strategy.

Large retailers are looking to the emerging tech/startup industry for innovative solutions. On the innovation panel, Eytan Daniyalzade of Walmart Labs, discussed how they operate in the existing Walmart ecosystem: as a tech company leveraging its retail heritage and existing relationship with shoppers.

“We’re not a retailer competing in Silicon Valley. We’re building an internet technology company inside the world’s largest retailer.”

Startup companies are forming alongside major retailers to provide solutions for gaps in the market. As the retail landscape grows, it becomes more niche. Consumers are looking to a variety of platforms for information, advice, and shopping. Conference attendee Rohan Deuskar, co-founder and CEO of Stylitics, looks to the future of consumer behavior for his fashion startup.

“The consumer is experimenting now, but in the future, she isn’t going to use 20 different services to manage her clothes and shopping,” said Deuskar. “We’re starting to partner with the best services out there to offer our users one place to manage all aspects of style. The common thread is always going to be the consumer.”

Though the scope of challenges and opportunities being presented in the online space are constantly evolving, Fashion Digital originated as a place for forward-thinkers in the retail industry to come together.

Sandy Hussain, Founder and Principal of Fashion Digital, explained her motives behind starting the conference series, “I thought it would be great to bring us all together to talk about these changes on one day so that we could learn from each other.”

Since launching in 2012, Fashion Digital has expanded its conference to LA and London, with a new market launch to come in 2015.

“I’ll be expanding Fashion Digital into one additional market internationally. I can’t reveal yet which market that will be, but it will be an exciting announcement in early 2015,” said Hussain.

In addition to launching in a new market, Fashion Digital is focusing on expanding their engagement with the tech community.

“As the creator and an owner of Fashion Digital, I have learned that being a female founder has its challenges with regard to tech,” said Hussain.

In an effort to promote women in tech, Hussain has begun a global initiative to bring her influence and knowledge to the larger landscape.

“It’s important for me to encourage and empower other female founders around the world within the ecommerce industry,” said Hussain. “We’ll be putting together a Fashion Digital global series that will bring together 20 female founders in 12 cities to help build a network of education in ecommerce for women across a variety of markets.”

“Fashion Digital is the place to talk to the fashion industry. The tech industry is moving toward fashion because of wearable computers,” said Robert Scoble, Startup Liaison Officer at Rackspace. “It was a great event and a great place to meet retailers and other people involved in the fashion industry.”

The merging of the fashion retail industry and technology sectors will continue to expand, due in part to conferences such as Fashion Digital that contribute to open dialogue between existing retail experts and emerging innovators.


About the author: Marley Kaplan

As Head of Innovation at Kinetic, Marley Kaplan is responsible for activating audiences on-the-move. Marley keeps brands ahead of the curve by leveraging her experience with media agencies, global startups and accelerator programs, including 500 Startups and DreamIt Ventures. She resides on the Lower East Side in New York City.

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