As the sun set on the army of gentlemanly silhouettes at London Fashion Week, scores of people brushed off their bespoke suit jackets and found a seat at the first U.K. edition of TxT: Tech Tastemakers Summit in Hoxton, East London, organized by Details, in partnership with MR PORTER. The subject? What's happening this moment at the intersection of style and technology.
The speakers included designers like Patrick Grant of E. Tautz; Lou Dalton; Christopher Raeburn; and Oliver Spencer. On the tech side, there was Google head of performance Matt Bush; Uber general manager for UK Ireland Jo Bertram; Lyst CEO and co-founder Chris Morton; Thread CEO and co-founder Kieran O'Neill; ASAP54 CEO and founder Daniela Cecilio; EDITD co-founder Geoff Watts; and Sofia Hmich, venture partner at Index Ventures.
On Coming to Market in the Digital Age:
"You have to establish your brand first and then move into the digital world. Every digital pathway should be used, as it helps increase your presence into overseas markets."
—Oliver Spencer, on how soon to lay down your social-media footprint.
"As a start-up you have very little money, so social media is the perfect way to create brand awareness."
—Lou Dalton on using the digital age to jump-start success.
"When I started out, the focus was on the quality of images. As your company grows, you add more and more content."
—Christopher Raeburn on how important social-media imagery is to a brand.
"Communications cannot be halfhearted. As a brand we try not to censor ourselves. The view is that we cannot sell to everyone, and some people will not like everything we post. But as a small brand, we will not post filtered numbness that we see from the bigger brands out there. It needs to feel real and connect with people."
—Patrick Grant on keeping it personal.
"As a designer you never actually get to see your own shows; social media is the first time you see what the product looks like out in the public domain. The first photos should be celebrated—they are all acting as your P.R."
—Christopher Raeburn, asked if bad photos annoy brands.
On Connecting With Men:
"Fashion tech is a $1.2 trillion industry."
"The big challenge for omni-channel retail is how to personalize the retail experience. Having personalized recommendations pushed to the customer as you walk in store will help this."
"We try to teach people how to understand clothes."
—Kieran O'Neil on the difficulties of convincing men to buy clothing products.
"The thing that drives women to shop is newness. There isn't that newness in menswear, the choice isn't that wide-ranging."
—Daniela Cecilio, on the differences between men's and women's fashion.
"London is top of the class when it comes to fashion technology. All the fashion tech brands want to start here."
"Brands are looking for a team with a different vision of the market, a team that can scale its business correctly."
—Sofia Hmich on what the winners in fashion tech have in common.
"Use of image recognition helps fuel the product. Men use our app creatively by taking a photo of art and seeing how that can be translated into clothing items."
—Daniela Cecilio on how ASAP54 is changing how men find and buy their goods.
"We take the best bits from humans and the best bits of technology and then merge them together."
—Kieran O'Neil on how Thread uses both the personal touch and technology to create the ideal product.
On How Brands Are Shaping Their Digital Identities:
"The recent taxi strikes in London resulted in a signup increase of 850 percent—it was a great way of getting the brand's name and what we do out there in the public domain."
—Jo Bertram on how European cabdrivers' anti-Uber strike backfired in a major way.
"If we can get people in a car and using our service they will be hooked—we gave free rides to people during fashion week. If we can bring you a car at the push of a button, we can in effect bring you anything."
—Jo Bertram on how Uber supports other brands.
"We are yet to see any really good creative mobile campaigns out in the market. Most brands aren't taking full advantage of this method."
"We don't use partnerships to retain customers. The first step is to provide a good quality service. Partnerships will come off the back of a good product."
—Jo Bertam on how Uber retains its customers.
"Human interaction is still as important as ever in the digital age. Mobile devices and the power of search are key to the success of brands and creating brand awareness. Guys are a tough brand. The key is to create something bespoke for men, provide endless selection and create good content within context. We need to make the most of online content: It is efficient, fast, always on, and available on any device at any time."
—Mario Muttenthaler, marketing director for MR PORTER
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