Trade fairs can be a dime a dozen sometimes. It is hard to find the right person to talk to; it is a big challenge for event organizers to bring a competent group of people together, at scale. The FashionTech Berlin hosted by Premium Group managed to do just that.
I had never been to the FashionTech Berlin, but I had heard some great things about it. My colleagues loved the event they went to in January and I can understand their enthusiasm. The fair is innovative, personal and relaxed.
What stood out most for me in the days here at the conference and corresponding trade show was the type of people the fair has managed to attract.
My experience with the attendants was that most were very knowledgeable about how fashion „technically“ works. I found myself caught up easily in a discussions on fabric weaving techniques or supply chain tracking through RFID and QR-codes.
It was very refreshing to see that the FashionTech Berlin is very much a professional meet up. I did not have to explain what an EAN-code is or a jacquard weave, even once; it is so much easier to converse with people who actually know their trade well.
Tech is fashionable – FashionTech Berlin
The mixture of styles and Berlin-style natural acceptance of everything out of the ordinary is perfect for an innovation fair. And tech is a hot topic. Fashion is emotion; to some it is supposed to be purely functional; others use it solely to define who they are.
Want to make a good impression on your fellow fair-goers in Berlin and want to dress to impress… just don‘t and be yourself. That is so much more appreciated.
Sure we are talking about fashion here, with all of its perks and quirks. But there are very few rights and wrongs if you stay true to yourself.
But the challenges in Fashion are vast. The long and difficult production cycles, inflexible sourcing rounds and not to mention working in a highly international – intransparent glocal market, is a challenge for all of those in fashion. Tech ideas are there, but the adoption rates are very slow.
If there is one thing that is holding an entire industry back, it is image. In fashion and fashion tech, it is still too often about looks and less about technical functionality. Most tech innovations, try to solve problems that are thought to serve the end consumers needs. However, real tech innovations in supply chain management, sourcing and production as well as data-driven b2b solutions are missing.
The fashion industry as a whole, needs to embrace tech innovations a lot more
Sometimes it is „hard“ to point out the obvious; the fashion industry is not really helping itself solve and address these problems, although there are plenty of people willing and able to help and come up with innovative solutions.
Berlin puts a whole new light on customer segmentation
On a side-note: Working in tech makes you prone to focus on customer segments, large aggregated scalable groups that fit a certain (socio-)demographic. It is simply easier to create something using a „one size fits most“ strategy.
What makes Berlin so inspirational for innovation is the versatility it has to offer. When you walk the streets of Berlin, it is hard to find two people who look exactly the same, and dress the same. Sure, some styles are more pronounced than others, but the number of style-clusters is extraordinary, in Berlin.
But Berlin changes your perspective on what that means exactly. At first you might think that it is all about appearance, however I believe it helps me strip the products down to a far more functional level. At this deeper functional product level, we are able to create products that can be used or adapted by a large(r) variety of user groups.
An inspiring location: Kraftwerk (Köpenicker strasse, Berlin Mitte)
The FashionTech Berlin July 2018 was held at Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk is an „old“ abandoned factory (a powerplant I believe) that was fully functional until 1997. Since then it has been changed into an inspiring event location, with great infrastructure.
The trade show consists of three levels (floors); the first two were dedicated to brands and labels that focus on producing sustainable fashion. The top level was entirely dedicated to fashion tech and innovation, including a well-hosted conference by the Premium Group.
QR-Tex and GANDT Ventures: Swiss Fashion Innovation
This July (2018) we hosted a stand, together with one of our FashionTech customers from Switzerland in the Lugano region, QR-Tex www.kryptino.ch.
We used the event to speak to new potential customers for their QR-label technology and launched a brand new iOS app. The EAN scanning app, is a B2C-CRM Tool that can be white labelled to fit the brand(-stores) needs, show product information and can work as a price comparison tool.
Trade fairs are not everyone’s thing, but when you are in fashion, this you should not miss out on the high quality speakers and exhibitors at the Fashion Tech Berlin next time around.
Quick special thanks to Michael Stracke for doing an excellent job at organizing (his first) FashionTech Berlin Conference. The speakers were excellent, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the top management of Flip Kart, the CEO of MyTheresa and Florian Heinemann of course, speak their mind about the trends in the fashion industry.