You may remember us mentioning that our Creative Director, Manuela Fassbender, was invited to participate in Lenzing's Innovation Seminar Series at TexworldUSA last week. Manuela hosted and moderated a discussion entitled “The Future is now: New Games and New Rules," with a panel that included top leaders in the industry: Maxine Bédat, Co-founder of Zady, Liz Bacelar, Founder and CEO of Decoded Fashion, and Julia Straus VP of Partnerships and Business Development at BaubleBar. Held at the Javits Center along Manhattan’s Hudson River, the discussion addressed the major drivers in today's apparel industry and how to gain market share. We had an outstanding attendance and very thought-provoking conversations, so here are some highlights:
Maxine Bédat, Co-founder of Zady and expert in conscious consumerism, explained how consumers want to know more about their clothing. According to Maxine, conscious consumerism started in the food business and trickled down into fashion. She described today's consumers as the “Wholefoods Generation” with an awakened curiosity towards what our food and clothing is made of. Consumers are obsessed with plus factors – Made in the USA, 100% organic cotton, and so on, and businesses should take advantage of that. When it comes to fashion, we need to help consumers define what sustainability is.
Liz Bacelar, founder and CEO of Decoded Fashion connected and educated us on the merging of two very different players, fashion and technology. She examined how fashion is slow moving when it comes to technology, because there are little investors in pricey fashion/tech collaborations such as 3-D printing for personalized bracelets. She states that there is a major demand for fashion designers to team up with tech firms to beautify wearable technology in the luxury market. Liz gave us an example of Google maps working with a couture jacket where the wearer places their phone in their pocket, and the jacket vibrates based on the direction that Google wants you to go. Needless to say, the entire audience wants that jacket!
Julia Straus, VP of Partnerships and Business Development at BaubleBar focused on the play between Fortune 500 and startups. Julia told us how Nordstrom recognized BaubleBar after their 50-day pop-up shop in NYC drew in major crowds and now they are available on the upscale department chain's website as well as in 35 Nordstrom locations. Deemed guest bartenders, the fashion jewelry mecca now collaborates with influencers, personalities, and editors who lend an eye in designing an upcoming collection. The latest collaboration is BaubleBar x Frends, a full product line of Bauble Bling headphones that come with a complimentary pair of earrings. Wearable technology is one of the hottest markets right now and a partnership between Fortune 500 companies and startups can do wonders for both parties by combining the fresh and innovative with that of the more established and experienced.
While gaining market share is more challenging than ever, being able to analyze what drives the market from conscious consumerism, to fashion/tech partnerships, to alliances with startups and Fortune 500 companies will help to seal a spot in the industry.