Friday, April 11, 2014

Fashion In Technology Panel with "In Style" Magazine, asap54, Farfetch.com, and Fashionista.com

Last night at the Apple Store in Soho I attended a Fashion in Technology panel with Ariel Foxman, editor of "In Style" magazine, Daniela Cecillo of asap54, and Jose Neves of Farfetch.comhttp://www.farfetch.com/; facilitated by Lauren Indvik of Fashionista.com. They discussed how  shopping and fashion marketing are continuously changing in the modern age and where they think fashion is headed as new technologies develop. 



"In Style" magazine has 11 million monthly readers including those on their mobile app and social media websites. In their magazine, they refer their readers to whatever source has the highest merchandise count, whether it is online, in a department store like Saks, or elsewhere. Ariel Foxman, editor, says that fashion is a tricky system today, where photos are seen worldwide before the merchandise hits the store. However, trend itself isn't any more accessible- there are just more platforms now to buy or find something or chat with others that have a view about a product. The downside is that it's much harder to find the right information for yourself and "In Style" is an example of a professional editorial that can do this for you. 

Jose Neves of Farfetch.com expanded on this by discussing how everything has changed in the way that people get inspired. Bloggers create trends more quickly and globally, but there is still old media such as magazines and physical retailers that are the brick and mortar of the industry. There's few very famous brands like Chanel that are not online and people will still go to the store. These are the brick and mortar of fashion. 

Jose explained what Farfetch.com can do that a brick and mortar store can't. The website helps you shop boutiques that are otherwise not available online, such as in Meatpacking and SoHo here in the city. His website is expanding quickly, with many people discovering the website through Polyvore.com or Shopstyle.com. The millennial consumer thinks that if a product is available somewhere it should be or is available everywhere. Kids these days don't think on or offline are separate and the same goes for how they use taxis or eat at restaurants with different apps and websites. Fashion is a little behind but it is getting there. 

Daniela Cecillo explained the functionality of her popular app, asap54, and where it fit into the discussion. If you see something you like, like a dress, then you can take a photo of it and upload it to the app. The app will find that or similar things for you, as well as provide a social, interactive experience with other users. It also works with food and art and shows where to obtain what you're looking for, much like a magazine but with more options. There used to be no way to buy things when Daniela lived in Brazil, but now with online shopping and shipping options, there's endless opportunities and ways to shop. She also added that a lot of times sales associates look you up and down and make you feel uncomfortable in stores, and that time constraints are another reason people like herself online shop. 

There are still limits with what is possible these days and reasons we must have physical stores. Of course, as Ariel pointed out, nothing can put you in the fitting room and a person's biggest concern is that a product won't fit properly. Customers only want to do so much overnight delivery and returning, though he believes that there is a really great solution out there to solve the problem. He mentioned the possibilities behind 3D printing, and that in the future this might be possible at home. A person could manufacture it with their own machine when they're ready to buy a garment, and chance details until they like it, reprinting it along the way. This is somewhere in the future but likely to happen eventually. 

The panel closed with a discussion about how technology is implemented in stores. Jose talked about the concept of getting in line at one counter, and how it is already ancient compared to how far society has progresses. It really shouldn't be the case anymore, and customers should always be able to pay with their card and phone. Ariel spoke about how while many store like to show off all their technology implemented in the store, the sales teams need to better learn how to editorialize the products and not overload it unless it has true benefits to those shopping. 

I look forward to seeing how the technology and ideas they spoke about come about as fashion and technology progress together. It's an exciting time, with an ever-expanding market and new ways to bridge the gap between fashion and consumers. 


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