Last week I kicked off my series of posts dedicated to the amazing people I interviewed on my fashion/beauty tech podcast at the NRF Big Show. This week I’m excited to share with you the fantastic discussion I had with tech genius and fashionista, Amanda Parkes; and entrepreneur, tech boss, founder of SWSI: Smart Women Smart Ideas, and producer of Fashion Geeks & Queen Boss, Heidi E Lehmann (phew, lots of accomplishments, eh?).
We chatted about the beginnings of wearable tech, why women are at the forefront of the industry, and how fashion tech brands will win in this market. One of my favorite discussions focused on the role of women in tech, and how fashion tech is actually a great way to bring young girls into the fields of engineering and technology. This conversation reminded me of a post I wrote a few years back about how to get girls interested in STEM. I suggested that we have an opportunity to attract girls with tech if we introduced them to it, not just through typical “boy” spaces, i.e., video games, but, rather, through the world of beauty (Want More Women in STEM? Start with Beauty).
Amanda told us a story about an article she read in a tech journal bashing wearable/fashion tech as something frivolous and unworthy of attention. She was so incensed that she wrote an op-ed demonstrating how vital fashion is for the economy, and in no way a lesser form of tech endeavor. After all, each of us wears something everyday, right? We all benefit from or contribute to the world of fashion in more ways than we know. So true! For better or for worse, it’s been the business of fashion that has fueled and dramatically changed the economy over the centuries — think silk trade, textile manufacturing, cotton crops, to name a few. Of course you can’t help but think that there’s a degree of sexism at play. Well, if fashion tech is is seen as too “fem” then BRING IT ON! Let’s get our girls excited about tech, whether that means creating cosmetics or their own clothing designs.
For full 25 minute conversation, have fun listening to the audio podcast.
And if you want to see it via our Periscope livestream, here ya go…please mind the background sound: