Fashion magazines and designers have been predicting that consumers soon will be using clothing not only to look good and be stylish; but also to communicate with other people and devices. “Wearable technology” will enable new fashion offerings and provide opportunities for new businesses around the globe. Both technologists and fashion designers need to work together to ensure that products they provide are actually products people will want to use and wear. Just because you “can” do something doesn’t mean you “should” do something. In combining the worlds of fashion and technology both markets need to ensure the products they make are stylish and functional.
Startup Grind Charleston believes that the local region may have what it takes to develop a cluster for fashion and technology and foster innovation here locally. We outlined a three event series to discuss the topic. The first event was held recently and focused on “fashion and entrepreneurship”. Here in Charleston there was no one better to kick off the series than Mary Norton who is a successful fashion designer, is well known in the industry and has had tremendous successes and also has dealt with disappointment. Mary brought great education to the StartUp Grind audience discussing topics such as large venture investment, rapid growth, global recessions and how to bounce back from company closure.
Mary Norton is the international fashion designer of the Moo Roo®, Mary Norton® and Frosting® brands which has developed a worldwide following. The iconic Moo Roo® brand is a collection of sophisticated and whimsical handbags carried by some of the world’s top celebrities, models, and exclusive consumers worldwide. It is the brand that kicked off Mary’s career. Known as the “Red Carpet Accessory Expert” Mary grew Moo Roo® into an international brand carried by celebrities such as Charlize Theron, Halley Berry, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone and more.
Moo Roo® has adorned the shelves of the world’s finest retailers and has been featured on the pages of the most important fashion and lifestyle magazines. In addition to Moo Roo®; Mary also created the Mary Norton® and Frosting® brands. Mary Norton® includes a collection of high-end bags and shoes among other accessories. The Frosting® brand included bags and other accessories and even featured a special collection that was exclusively offered on the (HSN) Home Shopping Network for over a two year period. With each appearance the collection sold out in record time.
The successes and experiences that Mary has achieved brought a huge amount of education in our first “Fashion & Technology” event. The audience comments were excellent highlighting Mary’s talk as exceptional and informative. It successfully kicked off our series and we look forward to seeing Mary’s second act and are confident it will be even more successful than the first.
Our next Charleston event is slated for late July where we will discuss technologies being integrated into fashion markets, companies leading this effort, and will also include professional commentary from professionals from the technology and fashion markets.
Currently scheduled guest includes remote attendance by former Gucci executive and current Managing Director of a fashion technology accelerator, Enrico Beltramini.