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April 17 2014

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Decoding Fashion in the Digital Age

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As New York fashion week drew to a close yesterday, the digital world descended upon Lincoln Center for the first-ever Decoded Fashion Forum to discuss innovation in fashion and technology. Featuring tech and fashion titans alike, the panel included designer Zac Posen, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley, and Rebecca Minkoff CEO Uri Minkoff, each of whom discussed the benefits and challenges of business in a digital age. Among the topics: redefining e-commerce, forecasting trends online, and the power of social media. “We live in a voyeuristic culture where communication is king,” said Posen, who counts over 130,000 followers on Instagram. “The ability to get a visceral reaction from the customer during the creative process is thrilling and satisfying.” Model and panelist Coco Rocha, who has amassed over one million followers on Google+, waxed poetic over the importance of staying genuine. “I don’t have some PR company posting my photos,” she told moderator and Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive. “It’s very personal.” (The star of The Face also admitted to her new e-obsession: Vine, an app that allows users to share personal videos. “I’m practically the only model on there, so you all have no choice but to follow me,” she instructed the audience of bloggers and digital-media types.)

The CFDA’s Steven Kolb, Gilt Groupe’s chairman Susan Lyne, and our own editor in chief, Dirk Standen, were also on hand to judge the forum’s first annual Hackathon. (Launched earlier this month, the competition challenged five hundred applicants to create an original app that supports the global growth of American fashion). After the five finalists debuted brief presentations to master of ceremonies Candy Pratts Price, the judges awarded first prize to SWATCHit, a peer-to-peer platform connecting global designers with emerging-market artisans and overseas producers. The winnings? A $10,000 prize and an opportunity to have the app launched by the CFDA. “Everyone is looking for the next best answer in closing the loophole between fashion and technology,” said Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who co-founded the forum with Liz Bacelar. “To anchor fashion week with an event that brings together all these talented people from different worlds is critical to the industry. This is the wave of the future.”

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