As you may well know from Twitter (or the inordinate amount of heels clacking through a snowy New York this morning), Fashion Week is underway. It’s like the Superbowl for designers, retailers, and everyone in between.
But the fashion industry is ancient, and is thus quite averse to new technology of any kind. However, a company called FashionGPS has chipped its way into the world of fashion offering a one-stop destination for designers, editors, retailers, etc. to communicate during the most important week of the year.
“We’ve been working on this for seven years,” said founder and CEO Eddie Mullon. “But only recently has the fashion industry become ready for this kind of tech.”
FashionGPS is broken into several different products that follow a product throughout its entire life cycle. First, GPS Events lets designers (who essentially coordinate the entire week) manage their runway shows directly from an app.
Designers can send invitations to everyone important, track RSVPs in real time, and use an interactive seating chart to make sure everyone is in their proper place. If someone cancels or doesn’t show up, the designer can immediately give the seat away to someone else.
In the past, this has been done with paper invitations, calls for RSVPs, and taken between four to eight weeks.
When attendees arrive at the show, they can then check into the show with GPS Events (effectively skipping the line).
From there, the process changes from coordinating an event to coordinating the various product samples going out to different blogs, magazines, and department store buying offices.
Using GPS Radar, buyers and editors can have access to a lookbook immediately, and request which samples they’d like for advertising purposes.
Again, what once took between six and eight weeks can now be done directly from the runway show.
After samples are requested, the process gets even more complicated. Everyone from magazines to department stores need access to a single prototype before the collection goes on sale in stores. Tracking that sample across various locations and countries is almost impossible, and many samples are lost because of this.
Fashion GPS offers an app called GPS Samples to solve this problem. GPS Samples lets editors and buyers scan the barcode of a prototype so that the designer can track it as it goes all over the world.
But not all brands have fashion shows, samples or lookbooks. Mass market brands like H&M or Forever 21 turn around product so quickly that runway shows are almost out of the question. But GPS Styles lets those mass market brands upload their entire collections online (what could end up being thousands of products) so that various blogs and magazines can find and request certain pieces to be featured.
Mullon tells me that over 95 percent of the shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York are using the Fashion GPS platform as we speak, but that’s no reason to rest on their laurels. “Our roadmap focuses on fixing communication issues between buyers and vendors, and eventually we’ll work our way into the B2C space as well.”