This year's SXSW festival had a few new key players on the field - and they came from the fashion world. Not tech.
First announced in October of 1986, South by Southwest festival was created by a group in Austin, TX with the desire to shed light on local talent in music, entertainment, and creative communities. Little did they know, a festival attended by 700 people at the inaugural SXSW in March of 1987 would grow to be the highest grossing revenue event in Austin, TX bringing in 28,000 exhibitors.
SXSW has grown to be the leader in tech and introduction to game-changing ideas. Historically focused on products and key note speakers from the tech-start up industry, this year fashion made a splash at the 10 day long event.
Some of the largest fashion names in fashion - Giorgio Armani, Saint Laurent, Neiman Marcus, Teen Vogue - hosted events. Dinners for affiliates, runway shows, and Sunday brunches, brands looked to connect with the style leaders and influencers in the fashion industry.
Two key fashion events of the week came from opposite sides of the spectrum: a cynical Marc Jacobs and a Levi's x Project Jacquard by Google interactive jean jacket.
Marc Jacobs took the stage to discuss where he sees the future of technology used in garments - and frankly, he doesn't see it. As someone who refused to use social media until 2 years ago when he created his Instagram, Jacobs still sees pants as being pants, and dresses as dresses. When asked about technology in the design of garments, he said he sees "silver".
From the other side of tech table, Levi's and Project Jacquard by Google introduced the Commuter Trucker Jacket created with technology weaved into the textile. Retailing at $350 in the fall, it is the first true garment on the market that does not blatantly scream "technology". Today's technological products are wearable bands, gadgets, and hardware devices that do not take on a "fashion first" mentality. Where Levi's and Project Jacquard are changing the game is what looks to be an unassuming jean jacket that can play your favorite song, tell you when to make a left, or call your friend Erin, all on your bike ride to work.
We are just getting started in the convergence of fashionistas and tech geeks, and we can't wait to see who will pull ahead.