Pavan Bahl from Open Source Fashion
Tell us a bit about Open Source Fashion and its main objective.
Open Source Fashion is a community of helpful innovators working with(in) fashion and retail. We focus on educating our peers and finding collaborative opportunities amongst our community members.
On July 21st, we launch our new platform which will focus on the Who, What, & Where for our audience.
Who you need to meet: Profiles of approved creatives, developers, strategists, and technology solutions that you can leverage to grow your business.
What you need to know: Our educational content that we will be publishing from a community of over forty expert contributors.
Where you should be: A listing of worthwhile in-person opportunities in your area (starting with NYC and DC)
So, Open Source Fashion is all about networking. What is the reason why you focused in this? Why would you say networking is such a vital tool in the fashion industry?
The business landscape has dramatically shifted over the past five years. There are now even more moving parts that go into building and sustaining a successful business. Many of these “moving parts” that have become vital components of business (omni channel retailing, social media strategy, big data, fit tech, etc.) were unheard of just a handful of years back. It is nearly impossible to be an expert on all of these moving parts. I felt as though if we, as entrepreneurs...learn and supported one another, we would be able to succeed as a group.
Competition is dead and collaboration is the future. Businesses must align strategically with one another in order to execute effectively. Since this process relies on relationships, you need to go out and find folks that you connect well with...as individuals and professionals. OS Fashion creates environments that are conducive to uncovering collaborative opportunities amongst like minded individuals.
How did you come up with the idea of creating this meetup community in the first place?
A few years back I started developing a consumer focused brand. I was selling products to a handful of retail boutiques between New York City and Boston. I quickly realized that I did not have the proper background or education to effectively develop a successful and long lasting brand.
At the time, the emergence of digital technologies had just started to give smaller brands an opportunity to compete for visibility in a global marketplace. I started the OS Fashion Meetup as a way to gain the right education in regards to these platforms and new strategies. The only way I was able to attract the right educators was by gathering an audience for them to speak to.
What kind of individuals attend your meetings?
Our events are open to helpful innovators that are actively working with or within fashion or retail. This can be anywhere from designers, retailers, and brands to technologists and service providers that lend to the industry.
How many networking events do you organize per year and around which topics?
We have moved away from our quarterly meetups, to bi-annual conferences. OS Fashion produces the Freestyle Fashion Conference every 6 months in New York City. The conference focuses heavily on education and collaboration. We are extending this program to Washington, DC and Miami, FL within the next 9 months!
Each program hosts fifteen classes, all taught by professionals that have a very specific domain expertise as it lends towards business development within fashion, retail, and related technologies. Visit freestyleconference.com for class information - it really spans the spectrum of biz dev.
What’s next for Open Source Fashion? Any new plans in the horizon?
We would like to partner with good people across the globe to bring the Freestyle Fashion Conference to various cities. An ideal partner would be an individual or team that already cultivates community within the Fashion + Technology space and is motivated to extend them exceptional value. Ultimately we see Open Source Fashion bridging individual markets so that innovators in various regions can access new markets by leveraging OS Fashion communities worldwide.
For now, we are focused on expanding the conference program, and preparing to relaunch our platform in July.
Any new trend in the fashion industry that you would pinpoint?
The acceptance and adoption of technology is not only a trend, it’s a revolution in the industry. Businesses small and large are integrating and experimenting with a myriad of solutions to keep ahead of the curve.
NY Fashion Tech Lab serves as a great example of how retailers are making a priority to work with startup tech solutions to facilitate their growth. My guess is that NYFT Lab will serve as a model for businesses globally that are looking to bridge the communication gap between innovation and enterprise.
What would you say about Spanish fashion industry? Do you see a bright future for Spanish designers in the US?
I won’t bullshit, I don’t have a firm pulse on the actual fashion that drives this industry (i’m more of a solutions person). What I do see is that the US market is more than ever before, distinguishing themselves through fashion. From colors to cuts, the “average” consumer is more knowledgable, curious, and better informed in regards to international culture / trends. Because of this, there’s an open door for international designers to breakthrough in the US market.
And last, but not least. All emerging designers are young entrepreneurs and you are an entrepreneur yourself… Some words of wisdom to share with them?
Read. Know about...and take advantage of tools that can streamline your processes. Do not focus on anything that is not within your core competencies. Find strategic partners. Try and make forward progress every day.
www.beinfashionspain.com team in a Open Source Fashion Event in NYC