Tech on the Runway: NYFW with Mark Beckham, VP of Marketing at CFDA

Launchmetrics Content Team

To kick-off fashion month with #NYFW this season, Launchmetrics had the honor of interviewing Mark Beckham, Vice President of Marketing at The Council of Fashion Designers of America. 

Together, we examined the changing fashion industry and how technology has impacted both American designers and New York Fashion Week. Mark offered his expert opinion on the future of Fashion Week which we've included in our Data on the Runway SS//2018 report, an in-depth analysis of all of the main Fashion Weeks.

In your perspective, what is the biggest challenge for American designers today?

The greatest challenge for designers today is retail and how to continue to connect directly with their customer.

CFDA and Accenture have come together to design a program that helps designers and brands better leverage data and consumer insights. How are brands leveraging data to tell better stories from a branding standpoint?

Accenture is a partner of the CFDA and works primarily with our designers who are part of our Retail Lab program at Cadillac House. They provide valuable tools on how to draw people into their space and look at ways consumers engage with a product to better understand customer behavior.

How has using data helped the CFDA gain better insight into the ever changing world of fashion?

I think data is a good complement to creativity in building a commercially viable business.

How are fashion weeks changing? Where do you see them in 10 years? 

We are finding designers experiment more and more in the way they debut their collections. Technology and the globalization of fashion will continue to inspire them to explore new formats and locations. I believe fashion shows will still exist in 10 years, but the intended audience may be different.

Many wearable-tech products have not seen a huge success and are still a hard sell for consumers. In your opinion, what is keeping these designs from seeing more success? 

We are in the early days of technology’s influence on fashion. Wearable tech products need to make sense for consumers and provide a reason beyond novelty. For example, we are seeing technology play a larger role in the athletic category of the industry.

Steven Kolb, CEO of CFDA, once said that “CFDA’s commitments are to drive innovation in the fashion industry and as we look at the power of technology and its influence on fashion, we believe technology will need to be part of the fashion industry’s DNA.” How has the partnership between CFDA and Intel helped brands build more successful wearable-tech designs? 

The CFDA’s partnership with Intel is a great example of what can come about when the technology industry is able to hear directly from designers about the challenges that they are experiencing and then provide tangible solutions to those challenges.

What do you hope to see in the future for the fashion and technology space? How will CFDA help achieve this?

The CFDA will continue to play an instrumental role in the conversation between both industries. Technology can play an integral part in many facets of the industry – from manufacturing and retail to design and marketing. The CFDA will continue to bring new opportunities to its members.

Looking at the integration of fashion and technology through the past and present, there's no doubt that in the future, the two will continuously impact one another. We hope that those attending fashion month enjoy their shows and remember to keep your GPSRadar profiles updated!

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