Fashion and tech collided at Lincoln Center on Thursday, the last day of Fashion Week. While the street style photographers had migrated offsite to catch last minute shots at the Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren shows, a crowd gathered for Decoded Fashion, a style and technology conference sponsored in part by Conde Nast and the CFDA.
The hallmark of the conference was the announcement of the winner of the first ever fashion hackathon, which had begun two weeks prior. From Feb 2-3, about 400 app developers spent 24 hours developing a fashion-centric app. The winning team would receive $10,000 and the opportunity to have the app launched by the CFDA.
Before the winner was announced, the three finalists took a few minutes to explain their apps. Coveted helps monetize Tumblr by allowing readers to purchase the items they see in photos posted on social blogging platform Tumblr. 42 encourages the relationship between the retailer and the customer by making it easy for customers to log their purchases and retailers to analyze the data. Ultimately, the judges awarded the prize to the team behind SWATCHit, an app that connects designers with market artisans and overseas producers around the world.
But the hackathon winner announcement was just a small aspect of Thursday's all day conference, which also featured panels and Q&A's with fashion and tech insiders.
Early in the day, designer Zac Posen talked tech with Wired's EIC Scott Dadich about trends, e-commerce and social media. “We live in a voyeuristic culture where communication is king,” Posen said. “The ability to get a visceral reaction from the customer during the creative process is thrilling and satisfying.”
Social media came up time and time again, especially at another panel moderated by Glamour EIC Cindi Leivi. Panelists included model Coco Rocha, Tumblr’s fashion evangelist Valentine Uhovski and Kevin Kollenda, founder of Two Hustlers, the agency who connected Lady Gaga with Barney's last year.
Rocha, whose new show The Face recently premiered on the Oxygen Network, has a well documented social media following. The 24-year-old has millions of followers on 13 different platforms. She talked to the crowd about her latest obsession.
“And Vine? There’s not many of us on there," Rocha said. "Not a lot of models. So who you gonna pick as a model? You’ll pick me. Because I’m your only model.”
Rocha also spoke at length about how technology has changed Fashion Week, in particular the ubiquity of cameras and iPhones on the runway.
“So Instagram, like I said fuzzy photos don’t work. As much as you’re saying, ‘I’m at Michael Kors and I’m front row’–fantastic, good for you," Rocha said. "But they don’t care about that fuzzy photo. You have to make sure that it is in fact great content. So for me, I take 10, 15 photos. I filter 5, 6. I pick one. That is a lot of time.”
Examiner.com got an exclusive chat with Glamour EIC Cindi Leive as she told us a little bit about her magazine's take on technology and whether she Instagrams from the front row.
Coco talked a little bit about how people essentially saw Fashion Week shows through their iPhones. Are you guilty of that?
Leive: I will confess I've definitely been guilty of sitting there in the front row snapping pictures because I know the readers of Glamour want to see that. They don't just want to look at it on the website…they want to see my favorite looks. It's much more personal, but I think you really have to balance that. There have been certain shows where you're just enjoying it, you're just in the moment and you dont take a single picture and that's fine. And that doesn't mean you failed. That actually means it was a damn good show.
How has the ever growing fashion blogosphere impacted Glamour?
Leive: We embrace it as part of our world. It's old fashioned to think of it as an either/or situation, meaning that either you're a magazine or it's in the blogosphere. We have a print magazine and we have an enormous fashion channel, which includes contributions from dozens of bloggers and our own bloggers. It's all part of the world of fashion and we're covering it. I don't think of us as the institution. It's not like they're the newbies and we're the man. We're all part of this big changing media landscape. We collaborate with the bloggers, we hire bloggers, we are bloggers.
Additional reporting by Alexandra Finkel