Dublin’s Web Summit, a technology conference that has grown to become one of the most important in the space, is officially associating itself with the fashion world for the first time this year. The event, which will run from Nov 3-5, will launch its first Fashion Summit in a bid to “showcase both the evolution and integration of fashion and technology that is all around us today”.
A standalone one-day conference, it will have a dedicated main stage with four focused tracks covering fashion design, wearables and lifestyle products, e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, and fashion and social media. It will also feature exhibiting start-ups.
The issue with fashion as a focus during technology conferences is always about whether the content is based on fashion for the tech crowd, or tech for the fashion crowd. This looks like a smart combination of both, as useful for brands as it is for start-ups aiming to work with the industry. The challenge will be ensuring the content is fresh enough (aka less remarks about Burberry as a digital pioneer please, and a stronger look to the future) to truly appeal to and inspire the leaders the event is likely to pull in.
In more detail, the fashion design stream will explore areas including rapid prototyping and 3D printing, who has been successful in digital couture, and how designers can be consistently innovative in introducing breakthrough materials. The wearables content will look at where the industry is moving over the next five years, whether convergence with the fashion industry is pivotal to success, and which start-ups and big players are necessary to know in the space.
In e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, the summit will turn to which models can be used to create successful commercial operations, how best to attract retailers and designers if you are one of the platforms, as well as touching on the role of mobile. And in fashion and social media, the discussion will surround which platforms will have the best organic reach a year from now, how social media affects buying decisions, who is doing a great job in this space, and the role bloggers and vloggers continue to play.
Speakers announced so far include Matt Drinkwater, head of fashion innovation at the London College of Fashion, Liza Kindred, founder of Third Wave Fashion, and Sonny Vu, co-Founder and CEO of Misfit. On the main speaker list, there’s also Michelle Peluso, CEO of Gilt and Robert Gentz, founder and co-CEO of Zalando.
Other summits throughout the week are dedicated to subjects including marketing, music, data, health, investors, food and more.
At last year’s Web Summit, Fashion & Mash launched the first ever Irish edition of #fashmash in partnership with Moët & Chandon. As the only official fashion event of the week, the evening highlighted the growing need for greater collaboration between the worlds of fashion and technology. As Michelle Sadlier, head of innovation and social media at Hunter, said: “The future of the fashion industry is about the power of connections, communities and collaboration.” It looks like the arrival of Web Summit 2015 will help us get that one step closer.