5 Lessons We Learned at #FASHIONTECH Berlin

Our key take-aways from the insider event

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Berlin Fashion Week is here, and that means yet another whirlwind week of shows, fairs and parties hosted by the city’s chicest movers and shakers. One of the most anticipated events was, without a doubt, #FASHIONTECH Berlin.

Taking place yesterday at the city’s historic Kühlhaus space, the conference and exhibition – which was co-curated by the Premium Group along with yours truly – featured speakers from digital media revolutionaries such as Highsnobiety and Refinery29. Further insights came from Sharmadean Reid, founder of London’s it-girl nail salon, WAHNAILS, Hywel Davies and Melanie Ashley from Central Saint Martins’ fashion department, and Anne Muhlethaler, consultant for Christian Louboutin. While each speaker had a wealth of unique advice to share, all were in agreement on the importance of authenticity – a subject that has become increasingly important in an age of influencers and sneaky advertising.

As co-curators of the event, SLEEK was there to observe all of the magic for those who missed out. Here, we highlight 5 key take-aways from the insider event.

Sharmadean Reid Founder of WAHNAILS
Sharmadean Reid Founder of WAHNAILS

1) Fashion and technology can be fun – no, really!

Though the phrase “fashion tech” can conjure up visions of tacky smart watches or fitness tracking jewellery, Sharmadean Reid has proven that it is possible to combine both worlds in a way that’s actually fun. As the woman behind London’s WAHNAILS salon, Reid is always on the hunt for new services to make her clients’ lives easier. The entrepreneur has implemented a number of groundbreaking (and cute) technologies into her business, such as virtual mani previews and a chat bot that’s polite enough to ask for everything you might need – a feature that’s especially handy for those of us with a mean case of phone fright.

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2) Forward-thinking ideas are vital if you want to stay at the top

Central Saint Martins may be the top university in the world for fashion, but it didn’t get there by resting on its laurels. At #FASHIONTECH Berlin, Hywel Davies and Melanie Ashley reflected on some of CSM’s biggest accomplishments, including its decision to become a pioneer in fashion communications. This innovative spirit has led the uni to many amazing opportunities, including joining Google as a partner in its Arts & Cultures programme. By partnering up with Google, students, alumni and fans of CSM can access exhibitions, presentations and other exclusive media from the comfort of their own home.

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3) Keeping up with the industry doesn’t have to mean changing your vision

Perhaps even more well-known than Christian Louboutin’s red-soled shoes is the brand’s preference to shy away from advertising – an element that adds to the brand’s glamorous persona. In an informative presentation from Anne Muhlethaler, the Louboutin consultant touched on important topics including authenticity in the digital age. Muhlethaler discussed her involvement in Christian Louboutin’s venture into social media, helping the brand do so while maintaining every ounce of luxury.

David Fischer Highsnobiety
David Fischer, Founder of Highsnobiety

4) Not all social media platforms were created equal

Hypebeast who? It’s official, Highsnobiety is the go-to destination for sneakerheads and streetwear aficionados looking for all the details on the next big drop. The digital publication is more than just a website, though, with a social media presence that spans every social media platform imaginable. Founder David Fischer was present at #FASHIONTECH to discuss his business’ journey to success, highlighting the importance of tailoring your content to each platform. In other words, Instagram posts shouldn’t be treated the same as Facebook posts. So next time you decide to upload a fire selfie on the ‘gram, think twice before you decide to post the same exact caption (hashtags included) on your Facebook.

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Anita Tillman, Managing Partner of Premium Group; Cloudy Zakrocki, Editor in Chief at Refinery29 Germany; Nora Beckerhaus, Director of Operations and Marketing at Refinery29 Germany

5) Representation matters

Though still relatively new in Germany, Refinery29 has been around for a while in America, offering stateside women with comprehensive coverage that places special emphasis on inclusion and diversity. The German iteration stays true to this concept, thanks in large part to the ladies in charge. Editor in Chief Cloudy Zakrocki and Director of Operations Nora Beckerhaus were present at #FASHIONTECH to offer insight into the importance of empowering women with content they’re actually interested in. By going against traditional fashion standards and featuring women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, Refinery29 goes to show that women of today prefer to see someone they can relate to on their computer screens. Go figure.

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Left: David Fischer, Founder of Highsnobiety. Right: Cloudy Zakrocki and Nora Beckerhaus of Refinery29 Germany

For more information please visit fashiontech.berlin

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