Cognitive Couture: The woven fabric of Fashion and Technology

By | September 26, 2016

Twelve perfect dresses floated down the runway at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. Each created with absolute confidence in the season’s colors and styles. Each were deliciously created with the creative genius of Jason Grech, and augmented by IBM Watson.

Technology is an enabler of talent – a way of augmenting the creative talent of professionals – to do what they do best, but with the foundation of data and insights which guides and leads them.

This year for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, we were engaged in three unique projects.

The first, was to continue to support Events Melbourne to understand and build personas on their influencers and target audience – despite not owning any data at all – so that they can launch data driven marketing campaigns which drive the outcome of increased ticket sales. Last year, using this methodology, City of Melbourne were able to drive an increase to ticket sales, with the number of sold out shows increasing by over 800%. Of course there is a limit to the number of tickets that can be sold and with sold out shows across the week, this year’s objectives were a little different. Firstly it was to build a foundation of social media analytics and customer engagement which could be used across all the events that Melbourne Events run – and there are many – from MSFW, MOOMBA, to New Years Eve, and Melbourne Awards …….. And the second was to test which channels delivered the better results. The first objective was easy to develop. The second, required curiosity, patience and lots of testing across email, Instagram and Facebook. Bottom line, for Melbourne Spring Fashion week, Instagram delivered a higher conversion rate and resulted in the highest downloads to the new MSFW app. The most successful email strategy had the least number of recipients and was highly tailored with personal messaging and a VIP tone. This provides invaluable insight for Events Melbourne as they begin planning and executing on their next event of the season.

The second engagement involved helping to drive more people into the city to shop. This was achieved by the creation of a mobile app which promoted the best offers, events and activations across the city. This helped to draw crowds into key shopping centres such as the Emporium. Passionate fashionistas eager for a special deal on a week of amazing events embraced the new app!! You can download the app here .
I spent a whole day in the Emporium shopping with my daughter and had the most amazing day of shopping and “investing in the Melbourne economy”. Amazing service from team Emporium coupled with the support of a mobile app that lead me to the best deals and activations made this quite a day of fun !!

And lastly, our engagement was broadened to partner with one of Melbourne Spring Fashion Weeks most beloved designers, Jason Grech, to showcase how technology can help innovate the world of fashion.

In this engagement we simply supported the incredible talent of Jason by creating three APIs – or tools – to help him make decisions and empower the creative process.

The first tool created to help Jason was one which looked at over 10 years of colour history and preferences across a range of social media and trusted magazines to predict the colours of the season. The colours predicted pushed Jason outside his comfort zone – they were colours he had not used before. And when he sat in a Paris fashion show just a week later and those very colours were seen splashed in the runway collections, Jason knew that the technology had guided him in the right direction.

The second tool we created operated in a similar way – but this one looked to predict hem lines and lengths, neck lines, and styling of the material.

And lastly, Jason draws his inspiration from architecture – from Flinders Station to the Grand Palais in Paris . This tool allows Jason to submit photos of buildings or architectural structures which he loves and it then helps to match supporting materials, and dress styles which would most reflect his inspiration.

In a normal runway planning season, Jason may have spent 4 of the 6 weeks determining what colours, styles and materials he should use and then the last 2 weeks creating. This time Jason had 5 weeks to design and create – experimenting with colours, beads and crystals which were new to him, but already have created a new signature style for the respected and brilliant designer.

And what is even more exciting – is that this was more than just a 6 week experiment. Last night, at the Brownlow Medals, Britt Davis, the beautiful partner of Geelong captain, Joel Selwood, appeared in a magnificant Jason Grech #cognitivecouture design. Check out Jason Grechs Instagram page for all the beautiful photos!

I have to say, the third engagement was my favourite – Ben Montague and I were enabled to play in a world where fashion and technology combined, not to take over but to complement – to enrich. It was an honour to step into Jason’s world, if only for a moment, and truly experience the merging of worlds.

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Michelle Zamora is a Marketing Leader with a passion for business strategy, data, content, customer insights and engagement, and developing awesome talent. Views expressed are her personal, individual and unique perspectives, and not that of her employer.

She shares images on moments and people who inspire her on Instagram, links to articles and content recommended on Twitter, and shares her professional story on LinkedIn.