Fashion Meets Tech: Berlin Hosts Its First Decoded Fashion Meet Up

By David Knight |

Fashion meets tech – what could be more Berlin than that? The people behind Decoded Fashion certainly thought so, as they brought their international meet up to the German capital for the first time. And it proved to be a very Berlin kind of evening – a boisterous crowd gathering in a basement construction site with pizza and decent wine, mocking the momentary technical problems with the sound at the beginning.

But yet it still feels as if an opportunity was slightly missed here.

Not that the evening wasn’t a lot of fun, and not that bringing together the worlds of fashion and tech – already overlapping, but still separate nonetheless – wasn’t a good idea. In fact, it’s a great idea. Berlin is booming on the global stage, and startups and creative design are two of its most prominent exports.

Decoded Fashion is a series of such events founded in New York by Liz Bacelar and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff in order to “regularly unite fashion labels and retailers with the innovators in the fashion-tech startup field.” New York and London are, perhaps unsurprisingly, its main focuses, with a multi-day conference also held in Milan. Currently, the meet up is on a bit of a road trip to check out new cities and build out its network.

So Berlin really had a chance to impress – with two startups from Munich and one from Dusseldorf leading the way.

But barbs aside, there was some interesting content put on by local organiser Lean Berlin at Tuesday’s event at the Factory. Especially impressive was the Dash, miniature wireless headphones from Munich-based Bragi. Founder Nikolaj Hviid gave the presentation, and it’s not difficult to see why, with over $3.1 million (€2.25m), it’s the most successful European campaign on Kickstarter to date. Check it out; you will want one.

There was also Parasol Island, a branded content agency, with some of its painfully stylish video work on display, as well as Amazine, a platform to help fashion shops blog in a magazine style.

Then we had an interesting 3D printing company by the name of DGAG (“dee gee ay gee”, not “D-Gag”, apparently) whose 3D photo booth prototype was unfortunately (if completely understandably) not present, and Stylight, a fashion platform with a great concept in which bloggers’ styles are linked up with clothes on sale in more than 100 online stores.

It was good to see such a mixed crowd packed into the atmospheric brick-lined cellar, and hopefully Decoded Fashion will be back – Berlin’s reputation as a European hub for both fashion and technology is growing, and perhaps some of the city’s fashion-tech companies can help that process next time around.

Fay Cowen, who works for Decoded Fashion in London, said that they were trying to build a network reaching out to undiscovered creative talent; an excellent goal to have. You can take part in the next Decoded Fashion hackathon in London in May; check out more details here.