Monday night saw the launch of EDITD’s Editions – a new programme of intimate events bringing together the most interesting people in the fashion and tech worlds. When fashion and tech combine, the effects are powerful: from the jacquard loom to the industry-wide embrace of online, the collaborations are lasting. So, we got together a bunch of key people at Shoreditch House, dimmed the lights, gave them beer and fruit-mince pies, and enticed them to spill about The Next Frontiers…
Lou Dalton was first up and gave an insightful account of the struggles and challenges in growing a brand. She candidly said that the increasing cost of raw materials is one of the biggest challenges her brand faces, whilst admitting her assistant keeps her digitally plugged in, admitting, “I’m so slow!” Dalton mourned the demise of the apprenticeship, saying the one she undertook before her MA honed her tailoring skills. She spoke positively of the London menswear scene, and commended Mr Porter for their merchandising and understanding of the male shopper. Her parting words of advice for burgeoning young designers was to persevere, that you make you own luck through hard work and a good product.
The panel then took to the sofa, where Lou Stoppard expertly steered conversation about what’s next on the fashion and tech horizon. Farida Kaikobad‘s honesty won fans as she whizzed through River Island’s 64 year history and highlighted the struggle involved in taking such an established brand into its digital future. She said although River Island aren’t always the first to embrace a new technology, they keep a keen eye on innovation, aiming to be a “fast follower”. Kaikobad revealed what’s next for River Island, with a French e-commerce site in 2013, iPads and digital lightboxes instore and hinted that retailing through ASOS had given the brand a “nifty leg up” into new markets such as Australia.
Rosanna Falconer, who’s been at Matthew Williamson only a month (previously at BFC) has already seen the brand’s online metrics grow rapidly. She highlighted the importance of being selective about which platforms a brand takes to digitally, stressing authenticity and quality over quantity when it comes to content. We like Falconer’s geeky streak and self-proclamation of being a “stats queen” so much that we interviewed her earlier in the month, right here.
Nicola McClafferty co-founded Covetique, a site dedicated to the resale of designer fashion and accessories. McClafferty lives and breathes the digital world, “the internet is the most powerful communication & marketing tool we’ve ever seen”, and it’s working for Covetique, whose international markets have grown exponentially. Of this, McClafferty advises localising your service, “spend time and get it right”, in order to appeal to different markets. Covetique have been smart enough to find their international growth organically, through careful site planning and optimising on global traffic data.
EDITD co-founder, geoff closed the night by asking the panel what’s the next big thing. Notebooks at the ready? Rosanna cites top quality, controlled content and the 15 second video app, Viddy. Nicola agreed on content and sees increasing opportunities in the merge of magazines and retail. For Farida, global brand growth is the goal of the future and she’s excited by the fashion film space.
A captivating evening thanks to the brilliant speakers. Stay tuned for the next instalment of our intimate chats in January!