Fashion: the leading buzzword at SXSW 2015

Karlie Kloss Instagram

Karlie Kloss Instagram

Fashion is the word on everyone’s lips at this week’s SXSW. With panels that boast a who’s who of the fashion industry including Yahoo’s Joe Zee, Tinker Taylor’s Aslaug Magnusdottir (formerly of Moda Operandi), and even supermodel Karlie Kloss, you can be sure that the new tech agenda is one that’s going to last longer than the Celine sneakers spotted dashing between sessions in Austin over the past few days otherwise.

Billie Whitehouse of Wearable Experiments talked about how we’re moving beyond the narrative of smart watches, looking at super computing at a fibre level and what can then be done with that information. “There are more sensors being produced now than babies being born. We have to figure out what those data inputs are, otherwise we won’t know what to do with all of this rich data we’re collecting.”

On the same panel, Abe Burmeister from Outlier raised the issue of moving beyond the hype and gimmick of the wearable, and focusing as an industry on using this technology to service basic customer issues. “From an industrial design approach you need to isolate your variables and your problems that you’re trying to solve before then integrating them back into the garment for the customer,” he said.

At a panel hosted by Yahoo’s Joe Zee, this same understanding of what problem you’re trying to alleviate was discussed as well as then focusing on how this can be achieved on a personal level.

Scott Jones, VP of personalisation and mobile at Nordstrom, described how in the realm of customisation some customers may not be comfortable with designing their own product but giving them a tailored experience still fulfills that added value. “Where a customer may not be confident, we give them a relevant guided exploration. It’s about providing that low barrier to entry to go and explore, and then making sure that personal experience comes back to understanding what someone is looking for and how you’re servicing them.”

That same mentality of creating ease for the customer was shared by customisable printed clothing site Print All Over Me’s founder Jesse Finkelstein: “We’re looking to create the frictionless manufacturing design production platform, whether that be for a designer, illustrator or consumer. They can come on the site and produce.”

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