From some of today's highly regarded fashion luminaries to the latest crop of emerging fashion techies, all were present and in conference mode at the Fashion Tech Forum which kicked of Wednesday, June 25th at Pier 59 Studios in Chelsea Piers.
There was a full house of who's who in the fashion world, a few sprinkled in the crowd, and a major line up assembled on stage in the form of presentations and panels that discussed everything from "Unmasking the Digital Consumer: Using Innovations in Commerce to Engage, Sell & Market" to " 10 Things You Need To Know To Have An Effective Brand In The Digital Age "
The year's inaugural event, spearheaded by Founder and CEO of Karen Harvey Consulting Group Karen Harvey, was moderated by Alina Cho, Editor-at Large at Random House.
Among the 400 CEOs, entrepreneurs, designers, and thinkers from the global fashion, technology, and investment communities, a hosts of key speakers sounded off including; Joe Zee (CEO, Yahoo Fashion) Christene Barberich (CEO, Refinery 29) designer Rachel Comey, Roberta Myers (Editor-in-Chief, ELLE) Anne Slowey (Fashion News Director, ELLE) and journalist Constance White.
Contestants for the Founders of the Future Challenge also presented their innovations in front of guest judges Rebekka Bay (EVP & Creative Director, GAP) Lew Frankfort (Executive Chairman, Coach) Sophia Amoruso (Founder & CEO, Nasty Gal) Wanda Gierhart (Chief Marketing Officer, Neiman Marcus) and David Tisch (Managing Director, Box Group)
Pitching their ideas, Co-founders of Rank In Style introduced their creation, an online platform that aims to simplify shopping and revolutionize the consumer discovery and decision-making process.
Next up were Shahd AlShehail and Natalie Grillon, Founders of JUST, a company that sets out to create a transparency in fashion supply chains by connecting designers and consumers to top in-class ethical suppliers from around the world.
Alex Adelman of Cosmic Art rounded off the trio of contestants with his presentations for Cosmic Art, an online platform that connects content and commerce.
The full day event included a demo lab, savory lunch and evening cocktails, wrapped up with the announcement of the winners.
Sarika Doshi, Pooja Badlani and Sonal Gupta of Rank & Style took home the top prize which includes free mentorship and seed a investment of $50,000.
When asked about the importance of Fashion Tech Forum, Todd E. Benson, CEO of Herrington LLC noted, "[It is] an ambitious agenda, every industry is being impacted by digitization [including] fashion and retail. One of the impacts is everyone needs new skills, ways of wiring your brain, Karen is the intersection of that because she is one of the most recognized talent in the industry, so she is fostering that"
Former graphic designer at the Gap, Carol Bolger also shared the same sentiment, adding "It is great to have an event that is so focused in bringing fashion and technology together."