Get a Glimpse into Future Fashion/Beauty Tech Trends From CES Veteran, Robin Raskin

Welcome back to our series of wearable tech podcasts. Apologies for the slight respite these past few weeks, I was braving it at SXSW. But now I’m back and super excited to share the brilliant insights from our extensive conversation with Robin Raskin, Founder and CEO, Living in Digital Times.

I asked her to tell us about the cool, new beauty and fashion tech that she experienced at CES (Computer Electronics Show), which occurred right before our gathering at the National Retail Federation Big Show. She immediately throws out two fun ones: hi-tech kegel exerciser and remote controlled underwear—wowza!  After a few laughs we dove into a number of high level observations, and they were fascinating.  Overall, everything is connected to the internet now; everything is talking to each other.  “It’s a turning point, explains Robin, “everything becomes collaborative, everything — everyone one — has to work together.”  Here’s how that’s making it’s way into fashion/beauty tech:
1. Renaissance of Retail: People are going back to stores, but they are going to have an experience — think virtual mirrors, ordering on one’s own, getting personalized products on the spot. Thanks to advances in AI we can better anticipate and appeal to people’s needs right there and then. Retailers are learning from the likes of Disney theme parks and Carnival Cruises in their approaches to personalized, customized and intelligent solutions.  As a result of all this new tech, stores will become more customer/front-end focused.  So much will be automated so that sales people can spend less time in the back and can now service customers with much more time and depth.
2. More creative & personalized designs: 3D printed garments; clothing and accessories with LED lights; better fitting shoes and clothing, and the list goes.  (Think back to our prior podcasts, and our conversations with Thesis Couture‘s hi-tech shoes, Thursdayfinest‘s 3D printed ties, scarves and hats as examples.)
3. Smart garments = the new wave: From the point of origin, to the manufacturing process to the wearer’s experience, garments will be trackable allowing for any glitches to be recognized and fixed anywhere along their lifecycle.  Of course this also heralds advances in health, as we can monitor everything from people’s exercise levels, to dental hygiene to future stroke potential.   A big shout out to my buddy, Heidi Lehmann (she was in our second podcast too) and her company Kenzen which develops smart clothing to monitor our health and track our physiology.  As Robin put it: “we won’t need parents nagging us anymore…our clothes and jewelry will do all of it instead, lol!”
4. Self-promotion of artists and fashion/jewelry designers  Thanks to technology artists won’t need to rely on stores, galleries or traditional media to promote them.  This means more access to potential buyers and less costly approaches to making us aware of their talents.

As a final treat, I asked Robin what she saw as the next new cool beauty or fashion tech trend.  She cited her favorite thus far which is a coat that gets warm during cold temperatures but then cools off as our bodies or the outside air temperatures rise.  So cool no? (no pun intended, LOL)

As all of our podcasts have shown, we have hit a new and exciting era in fashion and beauty.  No doubt we will have a bit to navigate through all of this, and we’ll have to determine what our limits are.  Do we want to exchange our personal data for the exciting benefits of smart garments? Are we ready to explore totally new categories, e.g., jewelry or tech devices?  Can we imagine wearing clothing or accessories that express our emotions?

My feeling?

Hell yes!  Bring it on.

Some of these advances will fade, some will morph and some will take the world by storm.  I can’t wait for it all!

To hear more brilliance from Robin, please click on the podcast below

And if you want to see us gab live, have a look at our periscope video for the podcast booth.  Please skip ahead to 52 minutes in.

https://www.periscope.tv/w/1vOxwgqqgLbxB

Data, Intimacy & Wearables: A New Take on “We are What We Wear” And How We Feel About It

The beautiful, scary, amazing and conflicting role of data is a conversation that has only gotten hotter over the years.  And now with our clothes and jewelry offering access to intelligence about us like never before, the conversation has gotten that much more dynamic.

Welcome to our fifth podcast about fashion-tech from the NRF Big Show event.  For this discussion, I was, again, accompanied by my friend and ESPN Exec, James Eshricht.  And, again, I had the fortune of hosting a few amazing guests who are shaking the business paradigm and bringing it to new, exciting places.

We kicked off this session with the brilliant and highly fashionable co-founder of Trendalytics, Karen Moon, and her colleague, Amos Chiou.  And then we had the privilege of hosting Julie Rodgers Vargas, director, Digital Solutions at Avery Dennison and Andy Hobsbawm, co-founder & CMO, EVRYTHNG (Yep there’s no vowels…I didn’t forget to spell check :)).

Trendalytics is the “moneyball for fashion,” according to Karen.  Thanks to the company’s sexy combination of data scientists, engineers and retail experts, Trendalytics can forecast fashion trends based, not on the age-old source of historical data, but on a slew of sources including user searches on Google, social buzz and e-com data.  This means they can truly be ahead of the curve.  I couldn’t agree more!  As you can imagine, I’m constantly surrounded by data.  And I love it.  But just because data is so valuable, doesn’t mean it’s not all created equal.  We have to take into account the source.  Historical data is much less foretelling, and, frankly less “human” than data from people’s own search behavior, conversations and activities.  The company is only 2 years old but working with a host of retailers.  Like so many of our guests, Karen and Amos spoke to the key value of understanding the end-user, i.e., the human element.

Speaking of data, James and I had a quick but captivating conversation with the folks of EVRYTHNG, a company that combines hardware, software and real time data in the form of our clothing. “Clothing is the ultimate wearbable”, they said.  (The reason for no vowels?  The company provides “only the essentials,” according to Andy.)  As you interact with these clothing items, “rules in the cloud trigger analytics” which then give you back something like, let you in to a VIP event with a special invitation, or gifts, and the list goes on.

While I’m a big fan of data, I was a bit weirded out by this notion.  After all our clothing is so intimate.  As the technology develops, how much of our intimate feelings, experiences, bodily function do we want to emit?   I couldn’t hold myself back, I had to push this with the EVRYTHNG folks.  Their answer?  You can choose what you want to share of yourself.  Of course, we all realize that this is a new world, and we’re still navigating it.  There is indeed a value exchange.  When we give data, we get something in return.  It’s only a matter of time when we figure out the comfortable boundaries of that exchange.  But there’s no question that the train has left the station and we have to figure out what that means for us.

In a sense we’ve always been using data to understand one another.  It may not have been in such large quantities or at such speeds.  And int he case of “wearables”, we have learned something about someone through their clothing for ages.  When someone wears something of high quality, with particular fabrics from distant origins, we are hit with a number of pieces of data.  We know that person cares about his/her appearance, is affluent, and has a sense of the aesthetic.   So are times really changing or are we just collecting, analyzing and sharing data in new ways?

Personally, I’m more excited than not about what’s to come and how we can make everything (or evrthng :)) — even our clothing and jewelry –be even greater sources of awe and inspiration for us.  And the more we understand this world, the better we can turn it into something valuable vs bizarre.

Please click on these two podcasts to hear more:

Interview with Trendalytics

Interview with Evrthng

And if you want to see us chat, have fun watching this Periscope version.  Please start at 25 minutes into the podcast.