New York is one of the undisputed fashion capitals of the world and given the strong presence of technology in our fair city, it wasn’t long before New York became a fashion tech capital and home to the shakers and makers of this brave new world. That’s the precise community we polled for their suggestions on the Who’s Who of Fashion Tech in New York. While couldn’t include everyone – the list would be far too long, we did want to highlight some of the people bringing fashion into the digital realm.
Founder’s note: AlleyWatch does not have a financial relationship with any of those included. This list is in no particular order nor is it a ranking. In fact, the =RAND() function on excel was used to determine order.
Liz Bacelar simply cultivates community and highlights fashion tech companies globally. A former Emmy-nominated CBS News producer, she brings together her considerable fashion Rolodex and tech founders – and the twain meet at Decoded Fashion, the top global event series focused on connecting emerging technologies and decision-makers in Fashion, Beauty and Retail. Its groundbreaking summits in New York, London and Milan are produced with top industry partners, including CFDA, British Fashion Council, IMG and Pitti Imagine. DF Meetups are hosted in 12 countries.
And then there’s the Fashion Hackathon. In February 2012, Decoded hosted the fashion world’s first large-scale hackathon, with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, inviting 650 technologists to New York to meet design and digital product challenges from a panel of fashion experts. The five finalists went on to present at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
Bacelar broke the code. Amazing!
Image credit: About.Me
Yuli Ziv is a serial entrepreneur who is revolutionizing the fashion industry. She’s founder of Fashion 2.0, the first digital fashion meetup; founder of the Fashion 2.0 Social Media Awards, and CEO of Style Coalition, the leading platform for influencer marketing, providing brands direct access to top online influencers for innovative multi-channel social media campaigns.
She’s also author of Blogging Your Way to the Front Row and talk about a influencer, beyond the blogging and the marketing, her monthly Fashion 2.0 discussion panel events in NYC, bring together 2,500+ fashion & tech innovators. The amazing Ziv has an absolute lock on fashion’s social media influencers.
Image credit: YuliZiv.com
Dr. Amanda Parkes is a media designer and technologist interested in how digital technologies and smart materials can expand our relationship with natural phenomena to facilitate a more intuitive connection between technology and the natural world. She works with algae-based materials and is using science to create real innovation in ‘wearables.’
Besides her work at ManufactureNY, she is the founder of Skinteractive Studio, which develops fashion technology and hi-tech textile projects for use in areas ranging from performance to medicine. She is also the co-founder and the CTO of Bodega Algae, a company developing a modular, scalable, microalgae photobioreactor for the production of high-energy algal biomass for use in the production of biofuel.
She completed her PhD in the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab, with a concentration on computational materiality in kinetic interfaces as an area of innovation in future products, and is the recipient of an NSF SBIR award.
Need we say more? Amazing!
Robert Sanchez is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for Manufacture New York, a hybrid fashion incubator and factory dedicated to providing independent fashion designers with the resources and skills to streamline their process, from concept to customer. A serial entrepreneur, Rob has worked for two startups and founded four, including, Fashioning Our Industry, an organization that brings together professionals and entrepreneurs in fashion, business, law, manufacturing, design, and technology and Crosby Street Gallery, an online gallery specializing in popup physical locations. During law school at Fordham, Rob worked for the New York Angels. He’s tireless – and amazing!
Image credit: ManuactureNY
Amanda Curtis is Co-founder and CEO of Nineteenth Amendment, a platform that’s giving the fashion industry a makeover by combining a patent-pending virtual studio optimized for social media and consumer data aggregation with an on-demand US manufacturing service that young and emerging talent needs to bridge the gap between design and delivery.
As a designer turned entrepreneur, Curtis experienced firsthand how difficult it is to break into the fashion industry. After graduating from Parsons, she showed at New York Fashion Week, designed for celebrities, and brought a solo design collection to judging at London Fashion Week. The problem: she wasn’t financially successful. So she put her time and talents where her passion was: creating industry and innovation through technology that would lead to positive impact in the fashion industry. Nineteenth Amendment was born as a way to help designers break into the fashion industry with the least amount of time, effort, and money (stiletto-strapping), while growing manufacturing in the USA. Amazing concept!
Image credit: NY Fashion Tech Lab
Fashion designer Sylvia Heisel is obsessed with technology and sustainability – and is an expert when it comes to new materials, manufacturing processes, and physical computing related to fashion and wearables. She consults on design for smart wearables and new tech applications for fashion.
Heisel presently divides her time between her own consumer brand, HEISEL, and working with other companies in the wearables/tech/fashion space. The East Africa-born Heisel has spoken on the subject of fashion tech at SF Design Week, Eyebeam NYC, the Apple retail stores and most recently, at the Wearable Tech Expo in NYC. In partnership with her husband, artist Scott Taylor, she creates and consults on sustainable temporary interiors, environments, displays and events, combining contemporary design, art, fashion, culture, technology and lifestyle to help make the world just a little bit more amazing.
Image credit: LinkedIn
Laura Zapata is co-founder of the Future of Fashion Startups series, an ongoing series dedicated to connecting emerging startups with industry professionals in fashion and retail. Participants included from Refinery 29, AOL Ventures, Teen Vogue, Lerer Ventures, Stylitics, PERCH, Stylyt, Little Black Bag, Bib + Tuck, and Kaleidoscope.
She is also founder and editor of Fashion Digital Daily, which reports on the latest fashion digital news, featuring standout sites, services, and apps in the startup space. Someone has to get the word out – and that’s what we’re here for!
Image credit: Cargo Collective
Liza Kindred helped put fashion tech on the map, and publishes a monthly report that details the current state of fashion tech. In 2011, she founded Third Wave Fashion to bring her in-depth knowledge of technology to the world of fashion.
She was previously Managing Partner of a successful open source software company, Lullabot, where she worked with clients like Martha Stewart and MTV UK and helped to grow that company from two guys, to a team of 50 people.
Kindred is obsessed with technology and how it’s shaping the future of commerce – and the world of fashion. So obsessed, in fact, that she sat down and wrote the book on it: The Third Wave of Commerce: How We Buy Now. Amazing!
Christina Lila Wilson
Christina Lila Wilson is the Program Coordinator for Springboard Enterprises, which was one of the entities (along with the Partnership Fund for New York City and major fashion retailers) who collaborated to forge the New York Fashion Tech Lab, an accelerator targeting early and growth stage companies that are innovating at the intersection of fashion, retail, and technology, and where influencers, investors, and innovators meet to help early stage businesses scale. All in, that’s a lot of different entities and elements, and Wilson is the glue, having played an integral role in managing the relationships of the inaugural class. Not an easy task, and one that requires someone who is tireless – and absolutely amazing.
Image credit: Up.co
Madison Maxey, a Thiel Fellow, is literally changing the fabric of fashion and wearables, most lately via CRATED, a design consultancy and R&D lab that uses qualitative research and a highly technical team of multi-disciplinary makers to create designs and experiences in the wide world of wearables. CRATED has consulted, tinkered, and prototyped at the intersection where object meets body.
Maxey has been featured in New York Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Nylon Magazine, among others, and was named a “Female Founder to Watch” by Women 2.0. It was while working at General Assembly that she made it her goal to combine all things technological and fashionable, and was accepted into the Thiel Fellowship for the class of 2013. Maxey’s got moxy and that’s totally amazing!
Image credit: MadisonMaxey.com
Dr. Sabine Seymour is an entrepreneur, researcher, and curator focusing on the next generation of wearables, and the intertwining of aesthetics and function in our “second skin.” An innovator, a true visionary and a trend setter, Dr. Seymour is Professor of Fashionable Technology at the Parsons New School for Design, chairs the Rockefeller Foundation Grant-funded Computational Fashion project at Eyebeam, and is founder of Moondial, a company that designs wearables and consults on global wearable tech innovation.
Or as Seymour herself puts it, she sits at the nexus between silicon and style. No fashion tech list would be complete without wearables and one of its renowned innovators, and you haven’t gotten the full picture on wearables’ potential unless you’ve heard Dr. Seymour speak on neurofabrics and our bodies as digital systems. And if you haven’t heard her speak, you can always pick up her book Fashionable Technology: The Intersection of Design, Fashion, Science, and Technology.
Image credit: Fashionable Technology
Melissa Gonzalez is founder and CEO of The Lion’esque Group, pop-up architects™ who have produced over 70 pop-up retail experiences in New York City, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons. The idea behind the pop-up shops: launch a temporary store and test the waters before signing your name on a lease.
Gonzales and her group guide clients throughout the entire lifecycle of the “pop-up experience,” from pre-planning to store opening, and the merging of Lionesque Group’s knowledge of social media strategy with its deep Rolodex of partners and sponsors. The team is with their client every step of the way to ensure that the brand’s online presence is utilized to drive customer traffic to the store, and that the pop-up store captures both current and new customer appeal, bridging a multi-channel platform retail strategy.
Gonzalez’s work has been honored with the CLIO Image Award for experiential engagement, and the Group were finalists for the New York Design Award for marketing and branded experiences. Gonzalez has also been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Shopify, Fortune, and of course, AlleyWatch. Amazing!
Image credit: Women Innovate Mobile