SWATCHit, an app that connects fashion designers with global artisans and producers, walked away with the top prize in the Decoded Fashion Hackathon, the first fashion and technology event held at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Fashion can mean pain—from high heels to high prices—but some relief was brought to the industry by Decoded Fashion, an organization designed to merge fashion and technology. Together with Condé Nast and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Decoded Fashion organized a hackathon to recruit developers for an app that answers the needs of the fashion set.
Five semi-finalists were selected from among over 70 to compete for the grand prize of $10,000 and CFDA backing. They had practiced their pitches at the hackathon nearly two weeks ago and perfected them by the time they took to the stage yesterday to present them to designer Zac Posen, CFDA CEO Steven Kolb, founder and CEO of Rebecca Minkoff Uri Minkoff, Gilt Groupe chairman Susan Lyne, and Style.com editor-in-chief Dirk Standen. Presiding over the pitches was Candy Pratts Price, fashion legend and contributing editor of Vogue.com.
Pitches included the Fashion Dashboard app, which creator Stephan Alber designed to optimize social media for brands, combining data from Foursquare and Instagram to get a clear picture of their retail hits and misses with consumers. Meanwhile, Avant-garde—the work of Carrie Mantha, Ajay Mantha, Dustin Hayes, and Vladimir Dedov—analyzes the social media habits of customers across sites like Pinterest and Instagram to match them with pieces from a designer’s inventory that they’re likely to purchase.
42, an app made by Cathy Han, Nicolas Porter, Lucas Lemanowicz, and Sarah Hum, lets retailers interact with customers while they’re in the store so that they can catalog their purchases and save others for another day when they might be on sale. Coveted, which Pratts praised for its “lovely name,” is the creation of Michael Dizon, Ian Culley, and Jason Fertell and monetizes fashion fave Tumblr.
Ultimately, it was SWATCHit (pictured above) that won the top prize. But Pratts Price declared all the pitch teams winners since “the spotlight is opportunity.” She encouraged the developers to social network—in person—with the CFDA members there for the event.
Posen, meanwhile, spoke at a separate event about his love of social media, while Foursquare founder David Crowley dished on how the fashion industry could best take advantage of his service.
By Chandra Steele, PCMag