Travel delays may have derailed Liz Bacelar’s arrival in Toronto, but it couldn’t deny her visit entirely. Bacelar arrived just in time to an event hosted by Decoded Fashion, the fashion tech event series she founded in New York.
The night, sponsored by Fashionotes, began with a networking hour where guests could also experience interactive Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard stations. A fashion tech accessory called Voye shared prototypes of their new clutch. The purse is designed to hold an iPhone with easy access to keypad and camera lens, plus ample room for lipstick and keys. It was stunning work, but these have been on the market for a while, sold by massive brands like Michael Kors (I reported on it here). It’s not yet clear how Voye plans to compete with them.
The session began with an in-depth conversation between The Coveteur and Olivier Van Themsche, Founder of The Cools. That was followed by start-up presentations from John Coombs, Co-Founder CEO of Rove; Bryan Gold, Founder of #paid; and Karn Saroya from Stylekick – great practice for those honing investor pitches.
Finally Liz, fresh from the airport, welcomed the crowd. She has been one to watch since she founded Decoded in 2012. Her enthusiasm for the industry is contagious and everyone wants a piece of her. I had a chance to catch up with Bacelar after the event, here’s what she has to say.
What are your impressions of Toronto’s fashion/tech scene?
I have met an array of founders with solid ideas, strong teams and the smarts on how to scale globally. Canadian startups fit all kinds of success stories – from seed to IPOs. And some are quite inspiring – like Indochino, experimenting with popup customization and Frank and Oak, disrupting the seasons with monthly collections.
The amount of support for fashion/tech related start-ups in NYC is impressive. How did the community rally the support from both brands and the city?
What you see in NY is the openness from brands and retailers to partner with entrepreneurs who can solidly sell a good idea. They recognize that R&D can’t be solely done in-house and the best way to stay ahead is to leverage the ingenuity and the passion from the startup community.
This year Decoded Fashion is an official partner of SXStyle at SXSW. What are you looking forward to most?
SXSW is an ocean of people, talks, places to go. At Decoded Fashion Mentorship Hub we want to give startups, brands, retailers and investors interested in the space a home for their worlds to cross – for the delicious SXSW serendipity to take place – while guaranteeing some great networking. These spots will be opened to the general public next week via an application foudn at our official SXSW site.
Venue, The Working Group
Photos by Chris Mudiappahpillai