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InsideFMM | July 31, 2015

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What I Learned At Fashion Camp LA

LA Fashion Camp Event Fashion Camp LA brought together fashion and technology insiders and knowledge seekers to Santa Monica’s  Coloft on June 13, 2010.

It was an exciting event that brought together a diverse pool of opinions and ideas from Philip Warbasse (CEO, Warbasse Design), Matt Szymczyk (CEO, Zugara), Syuzi Pakchyan (Author, Designer, Writer of Fashioning Technology), Lisa Borodkin (Attorney, Blogger, Writer at, Christina Gagnier (Attorney), Darryl Jung (CEO, Clashe), Crosby Noricks (PR professional, Writer of PR Couture) and FMM’s own Macala Wright Lee.

I was lucky enough to attend Fashion Camp LA (and visit Los Angeles for the first time!), and it definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities in combining fashion and technology, drawing together various perspectives that include public relations, marketing, web development, fashion design and law.

LA Fashion Camp EventI met a lot of amazing people that day — people like Laurie Brucker (Laurie B Style), Mia Lia (Ivee) and Ashley Gustafson (Fashionably Ashley), as well as the featured speakers.

And since I realize that many FMM readers do not all necessarily live near Los Angeles, nor in the United States, I thought I would share with you some of the key points made at Fashion Camp.

In fact,  there was such a great pool of resources, information and creative ideas that day that this is going to be a four part series.

So…without further ado, here is What I Learned At Fashion Camp LA, Part I:

#1.  QR Codes: They’re Big in Japan And Could Change The Relationships Between Consumer, Advertiser and Fashion

@LaurelKaufman: “the analytics backing to QR codes is hugely valuable in making intelligent advertising choices”

LA Fashion Camp Event: Philip WarbassePhilip Warbasse, the man behind the True Blood QR code and CEO of Warbasse Design, explained how QR codes — already commonplace in Japan — might shift the way we buy and experience fashion.  With a mobile phone and a QR reader, users can engage in new content and integrate their online and offline experiences.  For instance, Lucky Brand uses QR codes on clothing tags, which shoppers can use to buy items through their mobile phone, get discounts and more.

This integration could be enormously useful in understanding how online experiences affect offline decisions and vice versa. The trick to making QR codes work, Warbasse says, is to not duplicate content but rather, to add layers of engagement across several media channels.

#2 Big Brands Are Afraid Of New Technologies, But Taking Chances Is Beneficial For All

@fashmarketing: “blue chip companies afraid of making mistakes! Don’t want to get fired or rock boat. They have money, but afraid of change”

LA Fashion Camp EventTechnology is rapidly changing, and so is the way we use that technology.  Big brands, not wanting to make a mistake, are afraid of trying out new technologies — wanting to stick with the tried and true — but lose important audiences in the long run.

According to both Phillip Warbasse — the holiday season, especially — will see a boom in QR codes. Brands who dismiss QR codes might definitely suffer from their rejection of anything new.  However, QR codes is not just a new fad in technology — it is a form a mobile innovation that will bring together retail and digital commerce.

#3: Augmented Reality Is Not Virtual Reality, It’s An Enhancement of Reality

@andreafwalker: “so in the future for retail, no more struggling in the fitting room…works for me:)”

Some people mistake augmented reality as another kind of virtual reality, a fantasy space of the future.  However, augmented reality is nothing like that.  Like QR codes, it brings together offline life with the digital in order to create more helpful, more vivid retail experiences.

One such experience is with Ray-Ban’s Virtual Mirror (only available for PCs), which allows you to try out Ray-Ban sunglasses from the comfort of your home.  It’s similar to Tissot’s augmented reality window display that lets you see what watches look like without having to go inside and try them on.  It makes online shopping easier by giving you an idea of what their sunglasses might look like on you.

#4: Choose Your Technology Wisely

@fashmarketing: “Just because you can do Augmented Reality, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t force AR on your brand”

One the most helpful advice that Szymczyk gave was that companies must realize that not all technologies are created the same, and just because augmented reality might work for one brand, it might not work for yours.  For instance, many of the brands that have used augmented reality have used it for items like sunglasses, watches and toys — things that often don’t depend on fit and size as much as clothing, and things that consumers are more likely to buy without actually trying on.

That doesn’t mean that the future of augmented reality won’t be helpful for clothing, however, and Szymczyk says that it is a force to be reckoned with and that the future of augmented reality  is  online, in kiosks and going mobile.

If you are interested in reading more about Fashion Camp LA, then check out Connie Cho’s article at California Apparel News, Crosby Noricks’ article about her PR presentation on PR Couture and Tammy Trujillo’s re-cap on Fashion Hodge Podge.