Decoded Fashion Dublin: What does the future hold for fashion-tech? (video)

20 Mar 2014

Sonya Lennon, co-founder, Frockadvisor

Frockadvisor co-founder and stylist Sonya Lennon hosted the first-ever Decoded Fashion meet-up in Dublin this week, and joined in to ask entrepreneurs what this marriage of fashion and tech will lead to.

Decoded Fashion runs regular meet-ups worldwide to discuss innovation in fashion and retail. On Wednesday night, at the headquarters of Wayra Ireland in Dublin’s Docklands, the sold-out event began with welcoming speeches from Lennon; Gavan Drohan, deputy director of Wayra Ireland; and Fay Cowan, Decoded Fashion event director.

Cowan revealed that Decoded Fashion will host a fashion hackathon in London in May, and Irish developers with an interest in this space are encouraged to attend.

Local vs global

Opening speeches were followed by a panel discussion on the topic ‘Globalisation vs Localisation’, chaired by Lennon and with contributions from Rory Caren, developer relations manager with IBM Ireland, and Fidelma Healy, COO of online shopping website Gilt Groupe.

The predominant message from the panel discussion was an adaptation of the maxim ‘think globally, act locally’. Rather, fashion-tech entrepreneurs need to be global and think local. That is to say: build a business that can scale to reach worldwide markets with variables that will allow for localisation.

Opportunities for bricks-and-mortar

While global e-tailers obsess over how to localise their product and recreate the in-store experience, local bricks-and-mortar retailers already have this key strength. The general consensus of the Decoded Fashion evening was that local stores need not fear technology, but they must embrace it.

The event ended with three quick pitches from Wayra start-ups, all of which offer technologies that work with physical stores. Mark Flanagan’s Storpal connects store-based retailers with wholesalers more efficiently in order to boost in-store sales, while 365 Looks from Wayra Spain has created technology for in-store changing rooms to complement its online personal shopper experience.

Finally, Brendan Courtney, co-founder of Frockadvisor alongside Lennon, previewed the pair’s social commerce platform targeting shop-owners ahead of its official launch on Thursday.

We then asked speakers at the event what the future holds for fashion-tech – and it looks like it’s a bright one for savvy local retailers.

Wayra Ireland will issue its next call for entrepreneurs in May 2014. See the website for details.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.