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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Digital Innovation in Fashion Contest launches

Announcing the launch of the ‘Digital Innovation Contest – Fashion’ in association with the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO), to encourage digital innovations that can be applied in the fashion and retail industry.

Offering four businesses the opportunity to develop innovative commercial prototypes that meet the broad objectives that have been set out, together with industry partners BOXPARK, Holition, the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE) and Designer-Manufacturer Innovation Support Centre (DISC), and Bauer Media/Grazia.

This contest is offering four awards of up to £25K to develop innovative solutions

Theme one: Design

  • One award of up to £25k for the development of a prototype service or application for the “mass personalisation and customisation” challenge supported by London College of Fashion – DISC & CFE. 
  • One award of up to £25k for the development of a prototype service or application for the “intelligent clothing and accessories” challenge supported by Holition. 

Theme two: Retail

  • One award of up to £25k for the development of a prototype service or application for the “the mall of the future” challenge supported by BOXPARK. Read more.

Theme three: Media

  • One award of up to £25k for the development of a prototype service or application for the “creating a communal and responsive experience through mobile technology” challenge supported by Bauer Media/ Grazia.

The contest is open to any company or developer; it is not necessary to have an existing app or service to apply, or to be currently active in the challenge sector. Applications will be judged on the level of innovation of the proposed prototype, which should meet the specific category challenge and show wider commercial potential and applicability. The applicants must also have a clear idea of the revenue earning potential/business model of their proposed solution.

In addition to the funding, winners of the ‘Digital Innovation Contest – Fashion’ will retain their intellectual property and benefit from the valuable opportunity to establish an early customer for their new technology, by running a minimum three-month trial with the relevant contest partner.

Deadline for submissions to the contest is 12 noon, Wednesday 12 July.

Full contest and application details are available here.

My first mentoring session at ASOS HQ by Samantha Mcewen from Isolated Heroes

On Friday we had our first mentoring meeting with Alison Lewy from Fashion Angel at ASOS Marketplace HQ in Camden. To say I was a little nervous was an understatement!! Being the kind of person who panics over EVERYTHING, I had visions of getting out the lift on the fourth floor of Greater London House to be greeted by scenes of the devil wears Prada. I couldn't have been more wrong! My mind was automatically put at ease as soon as I entered the reception and was introduced to the lovely Alison Lewy and Letitia Allman from ASOS Marketplace.

Alison Lewy and Samantha Mcewen at ASOS head office
I have been following the Fashion Angel Website for some time now and monitoring their progress with other designers. Therefore I jumped at the opportunity when Fashion Angel announced that they would be working with ASOS Marketplace for a second consecutive year mentoring a young designer and developing the strategic and operational direction of their business to secure it's growth and sustainability.

As soon as we arrived at the building we were taken on a short tour and introduced to members of the buying and selling team, a host of stylists, the woman's wear department and most importantly the ASOS Marketplace team.We had a short sit down with James Hart (E Commerce Director of ASOS) who asked for our feedback on ASOS Marketplace and any changes we thought could be made as sellers. It was great to be giving the opportunity to have our ideas and opinions considered by someone in such an influential position. We were then shown inside the press showroom where there were Sooo many pieces that I wanted to take home!!
ASOS reception area
Soon it was time to get down to business and for our first mentoring session to start. Alison and I headed to one of the main meeting rooms where we sat down for a good three hours talking over everything from the Isolated Heroes brand history, to our current client base and where I want to take the brand in the next few years. It was great hearing Alison's advice and having someone who has so much experience in the fashion industry give us guidance.

Running a clothing label which is only in its first 18 months is an extremely daunting task as not only do I design and make all the pieces I also handle the majority of PR, Client liason and maintaining our website. Therefore sometimes the business sides of things become a little overwhelming and it is hard to find the time to map out exactly what the next steps should be. It was great to be able to sit down with Alison and set up some next clear steps for the brand. Alison gave me so much invaluable information on everything from fabric suppliers, manufacturers for our product, how to correctly cost our items and also some great guidance on trademarking and selling our products wholesale.
The first mentoring session has by far been the best business experience Isolated Heroes has had to date and we are now buzzing with information! I already cannot wait to get back down to London for the next one!

By Samantha Mcewen

See how Fashion Angel Business Mentoring can help your fashion business.