FashMash Pioneers: The Future of Fashion with Google Zoo
On February 15th, FashMash founders Rosanna Falconer and Rachel Arthur kicked off the first talk of their Pioneers programme, with Tomas Roope, Google Zoo’s creative lead as headline speaker.
Partnering with Isobar, FashMash Pioneers is an annual programme of monthly talks featuring the world’s brightest minds dissecting the future of technology.
The discussion focused on how innovation can transform the fashion industry, with a focus on what the future of the creative industry looks like through the lens of technology.
Here’s our take on the conversation.
What should the fashion industry be focusing on today? Roope says it’s user first. He explained that “we’re not imposing our architecture on people. We’re gardening with our users. We’ll set the environment and see what happens. Then use the data to make informed decisions.”
The discussion then shifted to technology and, more specifically, the pace of change.
Everywhere you look there’s some new form of technology. Whether that’s augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain, machine learning or even voice. So much so that retail executives sometimes feel overwhelmed in terms of where to place their technology bets. Finding a piece of technology that genuinely produces value, that solves problems is what consumers are really after.
A practical attitude is needed when we consider the possibilities of machine learning. Roope terms machine learning as an “exciting way to solve problems”. Machines have the neural ability to learn from their mistakes as repetition is performed, eventually leading towards prediction and invention.
Machine learning can slowly move humans away from mundane tasks, freeing up mental space for innovation. Roope mentioned that “machines are invented to solve problems and not fall short to human bias”.
Does voice technology have practical uses within the customer journey? Roope addressed this question. “I can talk three to four times faster than I can type. It’s just a natural way for me to get to solutions.”
Slowly the body itself is becoming the interface. Speech is a powerful tool, a direct form of communication. It will be fascinating to see further integrations of voice to compliment the customer experience.
Roope also spoke about how he and his team are viewing augmented reality. He said, “personalised layers between the product and the consumer is super, super interesting”.
Augmented Reality is already changing the way we engage via social media, Snapchat and Instagram are prime examples of that. It will only be a matter of time before brands start to scale this technology to connect deeper with consumers, giving them a more immersive shopping experience.
We as consumers want personalised shopping experiences. Whether that’s a service which comes with a bespoke garment or VIP perks. There’s satisfaction in receiving something custom made to fit your needs and ideas.
But what does all this mean for the fashion industry?
Roope noted that the winners in retail are the businesses figuring out how to solve cross channel consumer issues and connecting the brand with something synonymous within everyday life.
This should come as a warning for brands who are not placing importance on world culture and the customer voice.
The Google Zoo creative lead came across as optimistic about the future of technology and what it will means for the fashion industry. He places high priority on the user, leveraging insights to provide an effortless service and experience.
His working approach is practical and resilient. When it comes to ideas he says, “I’m going to get it out there. Test it and see if that works. If it works let’s improve on the bits that work and kill the bits that don’t.”
The next FashMash Pioneers talk takes place on the evening of 27th February, with Amnesty International’s Sherif Elsayed-Ali speaking about the coming age of automation.
For a ticket or more information, please contact HelloIsobarUK@isobar.com