New York Fashion Week hackathon brings tech to the style world

This week, top fashion designers from around the world gathered in New York City to share their favorite trends for next fall. Many of them incorporate edgy, futuristic elements into their shows each season, but this year tech had an especially strong presence. It's thanks to Liz Bacelar, founder of Decoded Fashion, a company that's trying to bring together tech and fashion.

In Bacelar's own words:

The interesting thing about fashion is [the companies] are trendsetters, right? But right now the industry could really use some innovation. They have kind of lagged behind in technology and how to run a business in a lean way using the power of tech. So we came up with the idea of leveraging technology in a very quick way, to pitch them ideas for them to consider trying.

To get things going, Decoded Fashion organized the first ever New York Fashion Week hackathon. 550 people registered, and a few days later graphic designers, software developers and others had collaborately created 78 different fashion apps. Out of the many unique concepts, SWATCHit took home the top prize for their "mobile-web communication platform that manages coordination between designers and artisans in emerging market textile industries."

The win earns them $10,000 in cash, a $2,900 Donna Karen New York (DKNY) shopping spree, a strategy lunch with the Refinery 29 founders at their headquarters, a private Macallan tasting, and a commitment from the Council of Fashion Designers of America to actually build the app.

Here's Bacelar on the importance of improving tech-fashion relations:

There's a lot of misunderstanding on both sides. On the tech side, we keep building solutions that we think the industry needs, but we don't quite know exactly how the fashion industry works. So from the fashion side, they have these problems, and they just don't know how to solve them, and the conversation never happens. So it's happening for the first time, and it's quite exciting.

Decoded Fashion, via NPR

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