Rebecca Minkoff and an Intel VP Held a Reddit AMA About the Future of Fashion and Tech
And here's what they had to say.
In March of last year, designer Rebecca Minkoff and Intel joined forces for a strategic partnership with UN Women geared towards creating excitement and a positive representation of opportunities for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Minkoff herself has been on the forefront of the tech world, embracing innovative technologies in her runway presentations (including virtual reality experiences), in her stores and in the products themselves. In 2015, she opened a state-of-the-art flagship store in West Hollywood with such features as "smart mirror" touch screens in dressing rooms and adjustable, selfie-ready lighting. Minkoff was also one of the first to try out the "see now, buy now" in-season sales model, putting her wares up for sale on her website immediately following her presentations.
On the other side of the spectrum, Intel, too, has kept one foot in the fashion world for quite some time now. Back in 2014, the tech giant announced a partnership with the CFDA and Barneys New York back when the industry was testing the waters with wearable tech. The Santa Clara-based company has also served as an official NYFW sponsor, providing charging stations and free wifi at various fashion week venues — a crucial service that cannot be overlooked considering the amount of live-streaming and Instagramming taking place.
The pair's latest move was a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) on Wednesday afternoon, where Minkoff and Intel VP Sandra Lopez answered the Internet's burning questions regarding the future of fashion and technology — from wearable tech to careers to both industries' negative environmental impact.
We've rounded up the best of the AMA below:
On fashion and tech's environmental impact:
Minkoff: "I hope that with our new model #seebuywear, we will have less guesswork and waste going in to the process as we are making things that are actually sold and also by shortening time and supply chain, you will see more and more production going back to the U.S. and thus cutting down on our carbon footprint."
"I think the key here is that by cutting off fast fashion at the knees with them not being able to see new collections ahead of time and knocking them off before my goods hit stores, my hope is that over time the consumer will buy the designers goods, and fast fashion becomes less relevant and less wasteful."
On integrating wearable tech into the mainstream:
Minkoff: "I think it comes down to a well-designed piece and getting more females in this space, that will vastly change the dynamics of this arena and get more into what we want to have that will help our lives."
Lopez: "On the technology side, we are excited about the miniaturization of computing and the possibilities it brings for apparel, footwear, accessories and beyond."
On fashion week's evolution:
Minkoff: "I think the exciting evolution of what we have done with our model is that it keeps everyone employed! We see a REASON for print again, a REASON for brick and mortar and a REASON for Digital. FW today was broken. By including the consumer, giving her what she wants NOW, doesn't take away from the review process, the art of creating a "moment" is even more needed. Now when I have my show in Sept, it will be in print first, then digital and then shoppable. As technology keeps getting more and more sophisticated, these barriers will get less and less and am excited to see where it goes!"
On what fashion and tech means right now, this season:
Minkoff: "I think there is a lot of potential as technology gets smaller and smaller to really think about design first and making things that a woman wants that then also help her life, having more females in STEM is really needed to make this a better reality!"
Lopez: "This year we are seeing technology and fashion converge — smart accessories, apparels as well as smart retail environments. If you go to the Minkoff store in NYC — you will see smart mirrors in the dressing room. I am specifically excited about discussing how the next generation can leverage their creativity and interest in technology to create the next generation experiences."