Recap: FashioNXT Portland Industry Insider’s Night

I had the opportunity to attend the FashioNXT Industry Insider’s Night on October 6, 2016. I could tell you on and on about the wonderful dresses, outfits, and suits that ridiculously good looking people donned for us tonight on the runway, but I won’t. A typical writer for a fashion show writes that…

“Hold the press…did you see those shoes?”

“Did you see those cufflinks?”

“Did you see the ethereal colors in her dress?”

“She wore that!”

(Photo Credit: David Nijhawan)

No, I will stray away…admittedly, I do know a fair amount about the fashion industry, but from a technology and marketing perspective. I admit I have zero originality in my own wardrobe so I’m the wrong person to talk to about how the clothes looked anyway. By way of example, my typical wardrobe has no in between; I either wear a suit and tie or I wear any one of 7 pairs of blue Merrell shorts and gym or brewery t-shirts. I’m not joking…just look me up on Facebook…in fact, when I do need to find new clothes or wear something other than blue shorts or a suit, I go back to old methods: I grab an Esquire or GQ off a shelf and look at the guys that women seem to be swooning over today and try to pick something that looks remotely close (did I say I was totally unoriginal?).

Now that we have that out of the way, you can see why the runway itself is not going to make a good story for me to write…the real story today, in my opinion was the fascinating talk before the show.

Not many of us understand the technology behind fashion, let alone appreciate it. I do.

(Photo Credit: David Nijhawan)
(Photo Credit: David Nijhawan)

As background, I learned it inside and out when I was in college, and it fascinated me. It’s much different now, and the things that companies can do are simply amazing. Things I never even thought of now exist in everyday life in the fashion industry. I did a Google search and I found only a few good articles about fashion and technology, so I can only surmise that the information bestowed on me at this talk was something on the cutting edge…and THAT’s exciting. In other words, if you weren’t there, you missed out!

For example, did you know that a company called Unyq engineered a fashionable accoutrement for scoliosis patients to help them recover and heal? Did you know they are one of the leaders for fashionable prosthetic covers? The genesis for this company was that scoliosis sucks, and it often affects self-esteem of people with it. This idea presented a way to help patients truly recover, but feel good about themselves. Pretty cool concept if you ask me.

(Photo Credit: David Nijhawan)

Another example: Did you know that companies are now experimenting with dresses that send telemetric data back to the user so that she or he (let’s not be gender biased here…) can go back and see, through data, how they acted in various social situations?

Yep. Bio data does it. I saw this a couple of years ago with clothing for athletes, but nothing in everyday life. These tools, at the time, existed only to help athletes monitor performance data and improve. As technology adapts exponentially, so do the potential uses. We are quickly going from smart watches to smart, elegant bracelets, we are going from ordinary sunglasses to superhero sunglasses that will give you coaching advice in varying situations. One panelist spoke about wearing these superhero glasses to the gym, and then, based on data inputs, the glasses speak to you and tell you what type of workout to do. I was like “seriously??? Wow…this obviates the need to have a coach!”

Portland Mayor, Charles Hales (Photo Credit: David Nijhawan)

Along with these great innovations comes a price and a myriad legal and privacy concerns exist. For example, is it a good thing for a company to have access to all sorts of biometric information simply because I wear their shirt? What are the ramifications of that? One can easily see the potential for abuse, but also the good. The speakers discussed all of this, with varying opinions. I can’t say myself that I fall on one side or the other myself. That is an entire blog post for another day.

In sum, tonight’s event definitely illuminated me in terms of some of the more fascinating topics in the industry. As we continue to evolve with technology, I can’t help but wonder if Ray Kurzweil is right, and that the Singularity is, indeed, near. Time will tell.  Oh yeah, the runway models were great too!

(Photo Credit: David Nijhawan)
Ernesto Toskovic and David Nijhawan (Photo Credit: David Nijhawan)





One Comment on “Recap: FashioNXT Portland Industry Insider’s Night”

  1. Good article and observations. The fashion industry is certainly on the move . A caveat though – as we begin to collect bio data, or any other form of meta data, we must make sure that creativity is not sacrificed at the altar of efficiency or economics . Creativity drives innovation and that must continue.

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