Episode 28: Where Is Fashion Technology Headed?
In this post-pandemic period, the digital transformation of the fashion apparel industry continues. Chief executive officers are making tech investments to better leverage data, better engage customers and improve their supply chains. In this episode, guest host Deborah Metts, an adjunct professor in the fashion merchandising and marketing department at LIM College, leads a discussion about fashion tech and where it is headed. Joining her are Anna Bennudriti, LIM College class of 2004 and vice president of digital marketing at Belk, and LIM College students Cheyenne Monica Hines, Lillianna Runacres and Chloe Schmidtbauer.
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About the Participants
Guest Host: Deborah Metts
Deborah Metts is an adjunct professor in the fashion merchandising and marketing department at LIM College and cofounder and chief operating officer of the fashion tech start-up Beyond the Runway. Beyond the Runway is the bridge for fashion brands between the “real” world and the metaverse, including “fit tech” where Beyond the Runway integrated with luxury brand websites so their customers can create 3D avatars of themselves and try on real-life clothing online. Deborah has 10-plus years experience on the marketing and e-commerce side of luxury brand retailing, including digital and marketing roles with Macy’s and consulting with brands such as Nicole Miller, Calvin Klein and Chanel. She regularly speaks at fashion tech events around the world. Deborah holds a BBA from Georgia Southern University and an MFA in fashion merchandising from the Academy of Art University.
LIM College Alumna: Anna Bennudriti
Anna Bennudriti, LIM College class of 2004, is vice president of digital marketing at Belk. She very recently received the Distinguished Alumni award from LIM College, where she graduated with a BBA in Marketing. With more than 15 years of experience in the retail industry, Anna’s expertise spans marketing strategy, customer acquisition, trend analysis, data analytics and media planning. Prior to joining the department store chain Belk, Anna held merchandise buying, planning and allocations roles at Macy’s, Group USA and Value City.
Student: Cheyenne Monica Hynes
Cheyenne Monica Hines is a junior at LIM College majoring in Fashion Merchandising. She wants to be a fashion designer and sees the two worlds of artistic fashion design colliding with technology more frequently in the future as technology enables design and as fashion can deploy technology in clothing. For example, she envisions creating commuter clothing that features technology to provide heat through the garments. She is very involved at LIM (mentor, dean’s list, president’s list, is a resident adviser, has done internships and more). She is attending LIM as she wants to have her own fashion brand and knows she will need to understand everything about the business side, including technology, to make her business succeed.
Student: Lillianna Runacres
Lillianna Runacres is a junior at LIM College majoring in fashion merchandising. She has become increasingly interested in technology’s role within fashion, including data analysis, product life cycle systems and is expanding her interest as her coursework at LIM continues. Lilly has also done some freelance work involving Shopify technology, as she participated in a Donald Pliner pop-up shop in New York. She believes technologies such as the Metaverse and AI will be important in the future of fashion, but also understands the importance of other less talked about technologies to the future of fashion.
Student: Chloe Schmidtbauer
Chloe Schmidtbauer is a sophomore at LIM majoring in fashion media. Growing up in the digital age, technology has always been a big part of her life. She is well-versed in social media and podcasts and is an intern at a home decor company where she uses AI to assist in writing blog posts and Instagram captions. She also uses AI apps to style outfits, giving her ways to access items she could not normally afford to experiment. As more technology emerges and the metaverse expands, she looks forward to the new ways people in fashion will be able to express themselves, and of course, with a planned career in fashion media, she expects to use technology more and more in storytelling and reporting.