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The Minkoffs Want to Disrupt The Dictatorship In Fashion With Digital Innovation

“We’re the bridge brand between New York City fashion and Silicon Valley,” Uri Minkoff says.

A front-row seat to a fashion show is one of the most coveted tickets in the industry, but this year Rebecca Minkoff announced it would upend the system by offering a virtual-reality experience of their Fall 2015 runway event courtesy of a custom Google Cardboard headset.

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This move is just one example of how the pioneering brand keeps at the forefront of digital innovation applied to the fashion industry.

“Our mission was to disrupt the dictatorship we saw in fashion, what can we break, what can we fix, what are the opportunities to improve,” Uri Minkoff, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said during a Fast Company Innovation Festival panel on the future of retail. “We’re the bridge brand between New York City fashion and Silicon Valley.”

Here are four ways the company has reimagined the role of technology in fashion.

Keeping A Finger On The Pulse Of The Tech Sector
“We watch tech circles and what they’re excited about guides us in terms of our investments,” Minkoff explains. “Are we first ones in? Does this offer PR value? Engagement value? There’s a lot of thought that goes into it.”

The brand is conscious of leading, not following.

Tech Must Enhance The Experience
“We wanted to rethink retail by bringing the best of e-­commerce into a store and to humanize the experience,” Minkoff says. “We’re taking away uncomfortable moments—whether it’s communication or point-of-sale related—and try to solve that through the store’s features.” For example, the company’s retail stores can keep a record of the different garments a customer tried on, how they accessorized an outfit, and what they ended up buying versus skipping.

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However, they decided that it isn’t necessary to hold on to this information indefinitely, since they have determined that not all their customers want to have every single detail about them fed into a database. While the company certainly has the capability to track and store customer information, they give their customers the option to wipe the slate clean.

“We look at two extremes of millennials,” Minkoff says. “They either want to be anonymous or a celebrity and we try to cater to either end of the spectrum…the more information a customer shares, the more we can help them. But if they want to be left alone, they can be. It’s an eternal opt-in, opt-out.”

Tech Must Serves Employees, Too
The brand made headlines with its interactive dressing rooms and clothes tagged with RFID trackers. With that system, the stylists can see that someone’s trying on a few different pairs of pants, for example, and make suggestions based on that. “They have career growth in that they can style people instead of just having a customer service mentality,” Minkoff says.

Tech Allows Customers To Tell Their Own Story
User-generated images of customers with their Rebecca Minkoff designs are displayed in the store and online. “User-generated content is so powerful,” Minkoff says. “It yields a higher conversion than commercial photos. We leverage those online so consumers see their fellow sisters ‘getting the shot.’ It creates a great triangle.”

Related: Rebecca Minkoff’s Store Of The Future Will Blow Your Mind

About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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