Rebecca Minkoff Wearable Technology – Women Influence Chicago

Purses, shoes, jackets, dresses, wallets… QR codes? To most, one of those seems not quite like the other. But, to Rebecca Minkoff, fashion and technology fits together like peanut butter and jelly. Rebecca Minkoff, the global lifestyle brand, embodies the millennial woman and her need for practicality, but desire for style. Last week, a few of our women in the Avionos office had the opportunity to attend the Women Influence Chicago – Rebecca Minkoff Wearable Technology event hosted by Remodista, the social think tank examining distribution in global retail.

Gathered together at the Rebecca Minkoff boutique on Oak St. in the Gold Coast of Chicago, women from across the tech industry in Chicago came to talk tech and it’s impact on the fashion industry. Guests also enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, drinks, networking, and of course – shopping (with a discount!). Mary Kate Black, the Chicago Flagship Store Manager spoke to the Rebecca Minkoff vision of Tech + Fashion and how it is infused into wearable products.

When Rebecca Minkoff entered the fashion industry, her mission was to help ease the pain points in a woman’s life through her products and shopping experience. Being part of the younger generation, she embraced the idea of using technology to achieve this desired level of ease. One of her first technology-enhanced accessories was the Notification Bracelet that launched in 2014. The Notification Bracelet connects to a phone via Bluetooth and vibrates in a subtle manner when they get a call, text, email, etc. Minkoff took her idea of a beautiful, gold piece of jewelry that functions as a notification bracelet to a team of men in the tech industry who told her that the bracelet would have to be plastic, but if she painted it gold, “no woman would know the difference”. This was when she realized technology itself needed a makeover.

Now, Rebecca Minkoff’s tech accessories line is one of the leading lines in the wearable technology field. Some of her most popular items include the “Always On Power Tassel Keychain” that doubles as a hidden phone charger, the “Glow Selfie” iPhone case that gives one the PERFECT selfie lighting, silicon phone case purses, and more. Starting with the holiday collection that will most likely hit stores in October, every purse purchased will have a linked QR code. With that QR code, customers can register their “Always On” bag on the Rebecca Minkoff website to unlock special deal, promotions, options, etc.

Besides her products, Minkoff has begun to revolutionize the shopping experience. Women tend to look for two experiences when shopping – the quick in/quick out or the all-day shopping adventure. Rebecca Minkoff has successfully attempted to optimize both of these processes. For example, the SoHo flagship store in New York is equipped with “magic mirrors”. Magic mirrors are essentially smart mirrors that customers can use to select a different size, a different color, compare styles, check out what looks best on their figures, adjust the lighting of the dressing room (depending on the time of day/city), and even tap for a free beverage (bubbly, anyone?). Who wouldn’t want to spend time in a changing room where a salesperson will come with a tap of a button, drink in hand, with your desired size?

Overall, as a woman in the technology industry who has a deep interest in fashion, I am more than pleased to see a designer as talented as Rebecca Minkoff embrace the idea of technology. I have a feeling that we will see many of these ideas adapted by more designers in the coming years.

If the future is technology, why not make it fashionable?

*Photo Credit to Kelly Stickel, Remodista CEO – “The Future is Female” Leo Clutch by Rebecca Minkoff

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