The fashion and tech developer worlds probably wouldn’t have been the most obvious bedfellows a few years ago. But as digital commerce continues to build, the need to foster such partnerships is shooting up the agenda for many brands. It’s a shift in thinking that’s being recognised in the next two weeks via two highly publicised digital fashion ‘hack-a-thons’ in New York.
Last weekend (February 2-3 2013) saw the ‘world’s first’ Fashion Hackathon – an intensive 24-hour team-based event taking place just before New York Fashion Week (NYFW) kicked off. Presented by publishing group Condé Nast in collaboration with Decoded Fashion – a group dedicated to forging new intersections between the fashion and technology industries – the aim of the hack was to create an app that can be released within six months and is a digital solution supporting the overall growth of American fashion on the global stage.
Anyone could submit a team – which needed to be made up of independent developers (no brand or designer associations allowed). The top ‘fashion hacks’ will be revealed on the runway at NYFW on February 14. Some major names in fashion and tech have been called upon to judge the event, including fashion designer Zac Posen, Style.com’s editor-in-chief Dirk Standen, Gap’s director of global digital and social media Rachel Tipograph, and Tumblr’s Valentine Uhovski.
In an even larger event, global media company Hearst will host its first fashion hackathon on February 9-10 2013. Hearst's Fashion Hack will see 150 developers competing to devise fashion-focused apps on API (Application Programming Interface) platforms. These enable apps to be connected, making services more integrated. Hackathon API partners include Google, Klout, Singly and Spotify, plus Hearst’s own magazine brands Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. The top team will scoop a $10,000 grand prize, to be announced on the second day of the contest.
Hearst’s event is particularly timely as digital magazines and mobile-enabled shop-able content (including magazines, TV, film and music videos) are gaining momentum. For more on this topic, see Digital Christmas 2012. Look out for Stylus’ upcoming Industry Trend Anywhere Shopping for more on this subject.
For more on how the fashion, retail and technology industries are converging, see our coverage of the most recent Decoded Fashion conference in London and Ultimate App Developers. APIs for Innovation delivers further info on how APIs work.