SXSW 2017 | Our Fashion x Technology Recap

A day-to-day report on the latest Fashion Technologies

18 min read

From March 10th to 14, Allan Joseph (Clausette.cc’s co-founder) and I had the pleasure to attend SXSW 2017 as official Advisory Board Jury for the Interactive Innovation Awards. 5 days of intensive networking, conferences & panel talks attending, which I documented day by day on Facebook. Here’s a global recap from our experience at SXSW, which — just like last year — was such a great opportunity to listen to inspirational talks and connect with brilliant minds from all around the world.


SXSW Day 1 Recap

(Re)connecting people through Augmented Reality

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Our first panel talk, with Niantic Labs.

Niantic Labs, the firm behind last summer’s famous PokemonGo app, vows to gather people in real life. By creating engaging offline experiences, the app pushed them to collaborate together, in public places transformed into connecting places.

The app’s main objectives were to push people to get outside and do things in real life. We are at a point in society where we sometimes want to take a step back from being virtually connected all the time, and experience the magic of being connected to real life.

People are waking up to technology as a mean to bring people to interact together IRL.

A very interesting branding strategy for a lab creating AR experiences, close to Nokia’s “connecting people” moto. New games should be launching soon, around this connection objective.

Converging Fashion & Technology

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Brought by our beloved Valerie Vacante, our Fashion Technology panel at SXSW 2017.

Fashion & technology is about the transformation of the fashion industry. As a movement vowed to disappear, in the future, it will be fully integrated to fashion.

The panel gathered Wisewear’s CEO Jerry Wilmink, Samuel Alexander from Concept2conception, Sartory and myself. We shared over the current and upcoming trends on the field, mainly on the wearables segment and got insights from our different perspectives.

IBM Booth

The IBM Booth at SXSW 2017.

The IBM Booth at SXSW 2017.

This year, the IBM booth is mainly centered around security, data visualisation, data storytelling and hacking. We answered an AI-based personality quizz that was quite fun yet relevant, ending up with a t-shirt gifted by the brand.

Facebook Public Policy Happy Hour

At Facebook’s happy hour.

At Facebook’s happy hour.

Closing the day, we went networking at the Facebook happy hour, where we had the pleasure to meet inspiring creative minds, sharing our thoughts on the possible futures of fashion.


SXSW Day 2 Recap

Nature, the future of fashion & tech — Bolt Threads

Bolt Threads’ first consumer product, a tie made of no-spider spider silk.

Bolt Threads’ first consumer product, a tie made of no-spider spider silk.

Bolt Threads, a startup behind a fermentation process of no-spider spider silk spinning, unveiled their very first consumer product, after 7 years of R&D. From sustainability in fashion to biomimicry, the startup has been working on tackling the environmental issues, getting inspiration from Mother Nature. The tie will go on sale this Tuesday, upon subscription.

Jacquard by Google x Levi’s

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Sneak peek of our interview with Google ATAP Project Lead Ivan Poupyrev.

A panel talk between Google ATAP Project Lead Ivan Poupyrev and Levi’s VP of Innovation Paul Dillinger on their collaboration on the Commuter Jacket.

The jacket will hit stores this fall, pricing at $350, and we got the opportunity to sit down with Ivan Poupyrev, stay tuned for our interview soon to come! Oh and I also got the chance to try the Commuter Jacket! It feels pretty much like the future, where we’d be able to gesture-control our devices. Yet, the current usages that are possible with the app are still a bit of a gimmick.

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The Levi’s x Jacquard by Google Commuter Jacket.

The touchable woven interface triggers actions through the dedicated app.

The touchable woven interface triggers actions through the dedicated app.

Robots can restore humanity

“Robots can restore humanity” keynote.

“Robots can restore humanity” keynote.

A keynote from Deloitte consulting, opening our minds to creating a shift in our modern archetypes. How can we challenge our archetypes, moving from a masculine to a feminine one? Fostering connections and relationships over data and charts, to collaborate and learn from each other, in order to develop our potentials. As humans, we need to connect with our passion over working for a paycheck: passionate people will be successful by finding a way to make this passion a profession & finding ways to connect with people who share their passion. Those who will succeed will abandon the scalable efficiency model for a scalable learning one, in which people will learn and improve together.

For the future of jobs is dark & full of terrors (is it though?)

“For the Future of Jobs is dark & full of terrors (is it though?” panel talk.

“For the Future of Jobs is dark & full of terrors (is it though?” panel talk.

A panel talk brought by CNNum, the French National Council for Digital, which is working on a think tank project called “France IA”.

An insightful panel talk and open debate on the future of work in the age of Artificial Intelligence. What about the balance of power between tech giants and governments? The advancements in AI poses serious questions about national sovereignty, i.e. how can the power be balanced between GAFAs & governments? Another question: how can we retrain ourselves in order to keep our jobs? Shall we? When machine learning can only beat us… Education might be a way for a smoother transition, finding and creating new occupations that will give meaning and purpose to our human lives. Just as during the industrial revolution, production will accelerate and require less human work force. Should governments step in and find a way to answer this issue? The fact we know us that we need to adapt. When a company like Foxconn (one of Apple & other smartphones brands manufacturing suppliers) invests millions in robotics, what will happen for the 1.2M workers in China? What pourcentage of our jobs will disappear? Is it a good thing that painful jobs might disappear? The real question would be how to finance an universal wage to allow them to live comfortably even if they lost their jobs? Lots of questions for which we don’t have answers yet, but these are questions we absolutely need to raise today, so that we don’t all get played in the process!

An exciting day 2, which we closed with a great (yet rainy) party at Google x Levi’s outpost party.


SXSW Day 3 Recap

Having fun during the SXSW Trade Show, at the NASA booth.

Having fun during the SXSW Trade Show, at the NASA booth.

Launch of Liz Bacelar’s new company, The Current Global

Liz Bacelar, introducing her new company: The Current Global.

Liz Bacelar, introducing her new company: The Current Global.

Liz Bacelar, brilliant mind & pioneer in the global FashionTech community, is launching her new company, The Current Global. The founder of Decoded Fashion is now entering a new stage into helping brands connect and collaborate with startups in the fashion space.

Exhibition at The Current Global

Launch of SUPA.ia.

Launch of SUPA.ia.

As part of the event, Liz invited students from Parsons, brands and startups to exhibit their creations. Amongst them, we had the pleasure to discover Sabine Seymour’s new project: supa.ia, a street wear brand combining AI with sensors, into a mobile app with a cool user interface (more to come on the subject on Clausette.cc).

Fashion brands collaborating with Startups

UnderArmour, Farfetch, Rebecca Minkoff & Reward Style speakers, at The Current Global launch.

UnderArmour, Farfetch, Rebecca Minkoff & Reward Style speakers, at The Current Global launch.

During her intimate event, Liz hosted a talk on how fashion brands are creating experiences fueled by ideas and solutions created by startups. Speakers from UnderArmour, Farfetch, Rebecca Minkoff & Reward Style shared how brands went from being hungry for ideas to being hungry for great execution. Indeed, great ideas are nothing without a good execution.

SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards

Allan Joseph, Clausette.cc’ co-founder, during the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards 2017 reviewing.

Allan Joseph, Clausette.cc’ co-founder, during the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards 2017 reviewing.

We spent the morning reviewing a bunch of really cool projects for the Innovation Awards


SXSW Day 4 Recap

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Marc Jacobs at SXSW 2017.

Marc Jacobs in the age of social media

We had a fun time listening to Marc being Marc, joking about how he didn’t make a difference between posting and DM on Instagram; how he doesn’t get excited about wearable technology or fabric innovation but still likes the “Computer God” who suggests things he might like on Instagram. You can watch the full talk here.

New media luxury

In order to produce garments that are to serve a real value, we have to understand human nature. 3 things define the psychology of desire: perception, cognitive bias and social communities. To bring meaning in luxury, brands need to change perceptions, bring more sincerity and be proud of their individuality, creating long lasting pieces that need to be allied with sustainability, and be adaptable to change. Mentioning the VETEMENTS collective, the speakers illustrated how the post-internet generation is fearless and doesn’t care. Making less products, even with a high demand for it. They don’t want to produce much, but rather want to keep desire and demand.

AI & the Future of fashion (and sports, and health)

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AI & Fashion panel talk.

An insightful panel talk, with FashionTech pioneer Sabine Seymour, launching her new brand SUPA.ia. The speakers talked about data, insights, privacy and how we should move from the word “wearable tech” to “integrated”.

Products born digital | Avery Dennison x Evrythng + Rochambeau, and The New Stand

Wearing the Bright BMBR Jacket by Avery Dennison, Evrythng and Rochambeau.

Wearing the Bright BMBR Jacket by Avery Dennison, Evrythng and Rochambeau.

How to bring uniqueness in fashion, thanks to technology? With their collaboration on the Bright BMBR jacket, Avery Dennison, Rochambeau and Evrythng brought the possibility to be part of a community, giving the consumer the possibility to access unique experiences. Beyond tech integration, making tech part of the design, and the creation process is key. Make it simple, frictionless, and storytell through relevant and exclusive messages. Make the product be unexpected, through its interactions. The Rochambeau jacket unlocks a new experience of the real world, only available to you if you wear it (rewarding, perks,…). You can learn more about it here.


SXSW Day 5 Recap

Pauline Van Dongen — ISSHO

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Pauline van Dongen, wearing her latest creation, ISSHO.

Hosted at the Dutch New Wave House, we had the pleasure to discover Pauline’s new project: Issho. In an accelerating world Issho encourages the wearer to be present in the moment. Providing subtle bodily sensations, this intelligent denim jacket exudes the sensation of a gentle stroke on the upper back.The design of Issho stems from a notion in which a collaboration between Studio Pauline van Dongen and ItalDenim resulted in a new line of thought within the domain of wearables. The Denim Jacket embraces denim’s characteristics to hold a unique dialogue with its wearer. Based on the wearer’s behaviour, the jacket responds to intimate touches to become a mediator of revived experiences in daily life. Through bodily sensations, this jacket encourages you to be present in an increasing accelerating world in which our mind is often focussed on future events.

@FuckJerry & the business of hilarious content

FUCKJERRY’s team at SXSW 2017.

A fun talk on how memes can be a very ludicrous business. The 11.4 million-follower account is not just a random Instagram influencer, Elliot Tebele turned his account into a full service media and ad agency. Insisting on the importance of producing relevant content for Instagram, the panel made a point on the fact that 30 seconds TV ad format don’t work on social media (I feel quite tired that we still to say things like that, when social media has been there for over 10 years now, come on!). Talking about brands making sponsored content broadcasted on the @FuckJerry account, Elliot said they can be cool if they’re willing to put themselves out there. When you work with a brand you need to make content that’s relevant to your audience, and making sure they still laugh and like it.

SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony

Sitting in front of the ceremony stage, SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards 2017.

At last, we went to the awards ceremony, where we were delighted to see Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao from the MIT Media Labs — who we met during the showcase a few days ago — win the “SciFi No Longer” award for her SkinDuo wearable tech tattoos.

Thank you SXSW for having us, such a great time with so many amazing encounters. We can’t wait for SXSW 2018!

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