I finally got to go to the rewardStyle conference again! Yay! Last time I attended this conference, also known by it’s hashtag, #rsTheCon, was back in 2017. You can see my recap from 2017 here. This conference normally takes place in April every year, and it is located in Dallas. Spring is my busiest season with my kids, so it isn’t something I can normally go to. I was really excited this year when I received an invitation for the conference because it was digital and in August. Well, that’s one good thing that came out of this pandemic!
Instead of a two day conference filled with parties, networking, speeches, and classroom sessions, #rsTheCon was condensed into a full day conference with speeches, class sessions, and a really fun announcement. Love announcements!
Although no-one could actually see me during the conference since it was on Zoom, I decided to dress up a little bit anyway. After all, it seemed a little odd to wear sweats to a fashion conference. haha So, I grabbed my new tee from my upcoming fall capsule wardrobe and paired it with my go-to linen joggers which I have been wearing since spring; and plan to continue to include in my capsule this fall. It was a comfortable and weather-appropriate look for the day. Since I was at a fashion conference, I grabbed my new fall lipstick and put that on too, along with new fall earrings. Might as well go all the way! Well almost, I paired this warm weather fall look with slippers. Might as well, I attended the conference from inside my home. haha
These slippers have been perfect for warm weather days when I want comfy footwear inside the house. They are slides, so they are cool during the warm weather, yet fuzzy enough for “slipper comfort.” They are perfect for summer and fall; after all, the fall season will still be warm here in the Bay Area. Our weather doesn’t cool off until mid-November.
OK, enough about my outfit, let’s get back to the conference! The first few hours were speeches about the current state, and trends, of the industry. Then, we broke into classroom sessions where we talked about videos, strategies, and updates to the LikeToKnow.It app and more. Oh, and let’s have a drumroll for that big announcement!
Drumroll please. . .
The LikeToKnow.it app now offers videos! Yay! This will make the app really fun for users since you will now be able to find how-to videos, demonstrations of products, and more. The videos will be two minutes or less, so they won’t be time consuming for you. I plan to work on making a few videos soon. I am not a big video person, so there will be a learning curve for me on this one. I hope you enjoy the new feature. I think it’s really exciting!
Shop my #rsTheCon video conference outfit online:
It was exciting to attend the rewardStyle conference again. It’s always nice to learn new tips and tricks, as well as get updated on industry news and trends.
Have you attended any virtual conferences during this lockdown? How was it?
The Fashinnovation Worldwide Talks is a conference which normally takes place in New York. Living in California, and raising a family, has made it difficult for me to travel to everything in the fashion industry I would like to attend, and be a part of. As a result of the current stay-at-home orders around the country, many events have moved into virtual formats; making it easy for people who would like to attend industry events without the need to travel. How fortunate are we for technology!
The fashion industry, as well as many other industries in the world, is at a standstill right now. Factories are closed, shops are shuttered, retail orders by retailers are being delayed or cancelled, and the industry has been forced to take a deep breath, and reset 2020; and possibly the future of how they run their businesses.
I was always taught that clothing and shoes were needs. We need to cover our bodies to protect our modesty and to guard against the elements. Shoes are also a necessity to protect our feet from the ground when we walk and run. In the era of Covid19, clothing and accessories have been deemed non-essential, and the industry has been told to close while the world gets this virus under control. While excessive shopping and filling up our closets with things isn’t a necessary thing, sometimes we do need fashion items for certain weather and activities. We can purchase these items inline and have them delivered to our homes, but traditional brick-and-mortar retail outlets have been temporarily closed down; so people cannot go out and shop in person. The question rises, do we need brick-and-mortar retail?
One of the topics during Fashinnovation was surrounding retail outlets, and what the future of brick-and-mortar might look like. Internet shopping has slowly been chipping away at traditional stores for years, this shut-down might be the chance the industry has to adapt and change to the future of the industry and how people prefer to shop. Millennial’s have a mantra, “Experiences not things,” and the retail industry understands this.
Kenneth Cole was one of the keynote speakers during Fashinnovation. One of the points he made was that the industry will need to tighten it’s belt, and evolve. Retail outlets will need to become more experimental, and that brands will need to interact more with their customers; not just to sell something, but to understand each other.
Eno Polo believe this pause in the industry will accelerate what was already happening in the industry. He sees customers enjoying online shopping and a larger percent will continue to shop online rather than return to stores. He sees shops as needing to turn into an environment instead of being rows and rows of racks. Stores will have more tech and turn into a place for customers to hang out, rather than purchase large amounts of items. He feels stores will no longer have a warehouse feeling, they will turn into experiences where the customer understands and relates to the brands or designers.
Harry Cunningham from Vera Bradley would like to see the current restaurant model move into fashion retail. He envisions a version of take-out where customers place and order and pick it up. Stores would be more of an experience rather than racks of things to sort through. He feels sales per square foot, which is a traditional measure of a stores success, while not be as important in the future as creating an experience in-store, and measuring how long a customer lingers inside the store, rather than spends, will be the new measure of success.. He also envisions the use of tech in his stores where augmented reality helps customers try on clothing, or see how a piece of furniture would look in a room. This would help eliminate touching things and trying on clothing before purchasing it. Shopping will include more virtual experiences, as well as safety measures which eliminate a lot of touching. The use of mobile wallets without any touching or signing, would be an ideal replacement for cash which tends to be dirty. Cunningham also spoke about lowering our carbon impact on the world, which was a common theme among speakers during the conference.
Sustainability was a huge theme during the Fashinnovation Worldwide Talks 2020 virtual conference. It’s incredible how many manufacturers and designers are recognizing the environmental impact all portions of the supply chain have on the planet, and they have many systems and ideas in place to overhaul the industry, and make it more sustainable. There are several companies already doing these new practices, while others have plans in place to move in that direction. This is good news as we look at photos online and through social media being posted right now from around the globe of the environment without it’s usual pollution; it’s beautiful right?
Giulio Bonazzi from Econyl is already working hard to make the environment a better place. His company recycles waste and makes products. He views a landfill as a goldmine. It’s a place to find recyclable materials to make thread and fabrications. Many of his high profile clients include adidas, Burberry, Prada, Stella McCartney, Tommy Hilfiger, and more. His recycled materials are also used to make carpets and furniture. The fabrications can be continually recycled after someone is done with them. There is no limit as to how many times the fibers can be turned into something new. He lives in a recycling economy. Isn’t this amazing?
I was really excited when Runa Ray came on screen. It’s always fun to see someone you’ve met, and whose work you admire, speak at a high profile conference. Her collection has always been about sustainability, so her systems are something many in the industry can learn from. She employs a zero-stitching technique for her collection which results in zero waste; no fabric scraps! She also uses dying techniques with natural dyes which leave no trace in the water.
Ray expressed that this current economic pause is a great time to educate consumers about sustainability and become fashion activists. Consumers need to know about recycling fabric, and sustainable manufacturing techniques. This will help them make better informed decisions about purchasing products in the future. Runa Ray also would like to see bar codes on clothing which can be scanned and tell a client where the garment came from, what was it’s carbon footprint, and how to care for it. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I can’t wait for it!
Mara Hoffman, another designer I really admire, touched on all aspects of the industry. She sees this as a time to realize what is wrong with the industry, and where changes need to be made. It’s a time to fix internal practices you weren’t happy with in your business, and change for the good. She would like to see a move towards fewer collections during the year, and more sustainable practices. A new fashion calendar would help designers create collections which favor the planet, and not a throw-away society. Hoffman also expressed how designers need to own more of their company and sell their own product without reliance on other retailers. Sustainable collections and a move towards quality not quantity is part of the future she envisions for the industry. This is a time to reinvent, be creative, and consider the planet. She’s so inspirational!!
There were roughly ninety speakers at Fashinnovation Worldwide Talks 2020, and the overall consensus was a move towards more sustainable manufacturing processes and reinventing the fashion calendar. Designers envision a very small fashion week which would be live-streamed or broadcast to those who would normally fill seats at the shows. They see more fashion events taking place virtually rather than in person. The planet, and more localized sourcing and manufacturing, are the future for fashion industry as a whole. It’s amazing what designers and manufacturers are doing to help protect the planet, and bring the industry to a more localized system. I am excited to see what the future brings!
Thank you to Fashinnovation for inviting me to their conference. If you would like to learn more, please visit their website at Fashinnovation.nyc.
So far I have posted light-hearted outfit posts about the recent rewardStyle Conference 2017 otherwise known throughout social media as #rsthecon or #rsthecon2017. Today, I thought it would be fun to delve a little bit deeper into the two-and-a-half day event in order to give you a complete picture of my experience at the sixth annual rewardStyle Conference.
I’m not sure if this is day one, or day zero, but I am going to call it day one. Ha! I started my day off waking up at 4am pdt in order to catch my 6am flight out of San Jose. I never sleep well the night before I fly; I have this deep-seeded fear of missing my flight. So when I arrived at the airport, my eyes burned, and I already felt exhausted. Yikes!
I checked into my flight and sat down at my gate. I was about to dive into this really good book when I opened up my Instagram so that I could share with the Internet that I was a about to dive into a good book. LOL. Oh my goodness, my Instagram was blowing up! LIKEtoKNOW.it had re-grammed one of my pictures, so all of a sudden I was getting DM’s asking me about the top, asking me how to use the LIKEtoKNOW.it app, and more. Instead of relaxing with my good book, I was enthralled in my DM’s and Instagram. This was an exciting way to start the day!
My flight was on time, and really easy. We didn’t have any turbulence which was fabulous. I grabbed my bag from baggage claim, because I did not pack light for a fashion-themed conference, and went outside to catch my Uber. The weather seemed warm, and it wasn’t too humid-yet.
The Cresent Hotel in Dallas is where the rewardStyle Conference was being held; and as with any business event, we had a block of rooms at a discount. Yay! I love discounts! I checked into my luxurious room, with a broken lock on the french doors (more about that later) and got ready to go back downstairs to check-in.
Check-in was so much fun! No really, checking in was fun! I met so many people from the rewardStyle team that I have only known via email, as well as re-connecting with team members I have met at previous events. I have been in rewardStyle since 2013, so I have been to quite a few events and met several people. They are so nice and professional. It must be a great place to work! If you are wondering what rewardStyle is, it is an affiliate marketing program which is how I am able to bring you links to the products I am talking about in my blog posts, and I make a little bit of commission from the links if you actually buy something. It costs you nothing, and it helps me keep this blog afloat. The links don’t track your general activity, only if you buy something from the retailer I linked to. So big brother is not watching you if you click them. haha
After we checked-in, we were led outside to a meet-and-greet cocktail party. I wasn’t about to drink any champagne for fear of falling asleep; remember I had four hours of restless sleep. So I chatted with people and then met Susan from UnFemme.net and shortly thereafter Alison from WardrobeOxygen.com arrived. It was so much fun to meet these ladies in person. I had only interacted with them via Instagram before the conference, so to meet them in person was super fun. I felt like I was reconnecting with old friends. They were fabulous!
Check-in was fun, but we all needed to unpack and get ready for the welcome party that evening. The event was “Escape to Tulum” and it was held at the hotel’s pool. My original dress didn’t work out and I had to improvise, you can read the whole story here.
The party was decorated with a Tulum, Mexico beach theme, it was so cute! The party got crowded fast, and the humidity increased, so our group of ladies, Wardrobe Oxygen, Un Femme, Fabulous over 40, Style at a Certain Age, A Well Styled Life, and Looking Stylish, went inside and outside, and inside and outside, (rinse and repeat) as we tried to cool off, yet stay at the party as long as possible. It was fun to meet other bloggers I know from Instagram at the party. There was a taco bar, which looked delicious, but there were too many people to weave through to get to it, so I gave up. haha, I was running on no sleep! After the party, a few of us went to Nobu for sushi. It was sooooooo yummy!
Now this may all sound fluffy, but the conference didn’t really start until day two, so here is where the work came in.
The second day, or the first full day, was my busiest day of the conference. We started with Acai bowls for breakfast, which were delicious, but not very filling. Then, we immediately went into the “Main Stage” where we we enjoyed speakers for four hours. The panels and speakers were educational, as well as offering company statistics to us about rewardStyle and the future of the company. This is an amazing, innovative company with a lot of brilliant ideas; and I live in Silicon Valley. rewardStyle can beat pretty much all of the companies I am surrounded by in profitability, creativity, innovation, and let’s face it, professionalism. There aren’t any egos in this company. No-one is looking for stock options to cash in like here in Silicon Valley. This is a tech/social media company who is driven to deliver the best products possible in order to help bloggers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and more. The are passionate about what they do. I wish the folks here in Silicon Valley could have heard the panels!
After the Main Stage speakers and panels, we all walked over to the Shake Shack for lunch. Oh my goodness, these burgers were SO GOOD! This was the first time I had tasted Shake Shack, and I am now a huge fan. You can read more about the lunch here.
The weather was more comfortable on day two then it had been the evening before, so despite the slight humidity, the lunch was comfortable. There were cute little picnic tables set and lots of corners for photo opps.
Banana Republic sponsored the lunch and gifted us with scarves. Here I am with Wardrobe Oxygen, Susan un Femme, and A Well Styled Life. We are being silly with the boomerang, wouldn’t you? I’m representing GenX with my scarf tied “Melrose Place” style.
After lunch I had three classroom sessions in a row. This was three hours straight of classes. I felt like I was in college again. I brought my laptop, but as it turns out, I didn’t need it. I used a notebook and took notes old school; with my pen. The classes were incredibly educational, and I learned SO MUCH! Watch for some updates to my blog design coming in the next couple of weeks! I also learned how to pitch brands, how to handle collabs, and all about earned media.
Despite my outside sale background from the early part of the millennium, I needed these classes. Pitching a brand for a collab I want my readers to experience and benefit from, is a lot more personal then trying to sell internal Human Resources software. I’m so thankful for these classes!
After my three hours of classes, I went back to my room and got ready for the cocktail party. I re-wore my green dress; I had a feeling cocktail in Dallas was a lot different then cocktail in California. I was right! There were people at this cocktail party in everything from Daisy Dukes (no lie!) to Miami type prints. My green dress blended in, which is what I generally like to do at events; I like to blend. Of course, cocktail in California means an above-the-knee formal dress, or a go-to little black dress, or a formal-type jumpsuit. Not in the south it seems!
After the cocktail party, our group of over 40 bloggers went over to the Capital Grill for dinner. So much fun!
The third day of conference I was so exhausted! I slept well, but the lack of sleep from the night before my flight, and my first night in the hotel, really wore on me. To top it off, remember how I mentioned the lock on my french doors was broken? There was a crazy wind storm during the evening before, and at night. The windows blew open, and all this wind was coming into my room! I had to move a chair and prop it up to keep the window closed.
We started the day off at Nobu where they had yummy breakfast burritos. They were SO GOOD and filling. Love that! After breakfast, I had my first of three brands meetings. I have done outside sales, but nothing prepared me for meeting a brand representative cold, and in person. Normally when I meet designers or brands, I have already corresponded with them via email; not this time! Thankfully, rewardStyle had reps at the meetings, so I had a wing-man, or wing-woman. Thank you!!!
My first meeting went well, I think. I met with a clothing retailer, and I absolutely loved it! They have something really exciting in works and I hope to be a part of it since it is something we can all relate to, and love, here in the Bay Area. Fingers crossed and pray for me! I know you would enjoy it!
After my meeting, I darted over to the networking hall where brands had booths set-up; much like a mini-trade show. I was able to talk to a few brands which interest me, but I didn’t have meetings with. I wasn’t able to make my way around the entire room, which was a bummer.
I had one final class to run to, which was about working with brands. This was a really valuable class! After class, I went over to the outside Garden themed lunch hosted by TopShop. Most of the tables were outside, and by the time I arrived after class, the indoor tables were taken, so I snagged an outside table.
Remember the wind I mentioned? Brrrrrr! The wind was crazy strong! It was also freezing! By freezing, I mean it was in the 40’s. Not very garden-like, nor April-like. Despite the cold wind, Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen and I powered through the wind and enjoyed a delicious lunch of salmon, chicken, salad, buns, and something I cannot identify which was very yummy, and definitely healthy; possibly vegan. Don’t laugh! Just because I grew up in Marin doesn’t mean I know all about hippie food. haha
After lunch, I had two more brand meetings, one with a beauty brand, and one with a watch company. I enjoyed meeting with both brands; although I was super nervous when I met with the watch brand. I was studdering, which made me more nervous! Not sure I will land that one, the brand rep might think I am a whack-job! haha hopefully she noticed I was nervous; I don’t know why I was so nervous! Ugh, so embarrassing!!
That was a wrap! The only thing left on the agenda was the LIKEtoKNOW.it finale party; which was black tie optional. I decided to wear a very Bay Area BTO outfit; although I wondered how people from other states would interpret formal dress. I thought my dress was on the casual side of BTO by Bay Area standards, but at the event, it looked like I was somewhere in the middle.
I went with a safe, hi-lo, one-shoulder black gown. Some of the ladies at the party wore sequins and sparkles, while others looked more cocktail or backyard BBQ to me. I guess every part of the country has their own idea of how to dress for black-tie-optional!
Now don’t laugh, it is true, I am matchy-matchy. I chose to wear my Rockstuds instead of my formal shoes because they are comfortable. If you own a pair, you know they are the most comfortable heels with a pointy toe on the market. So, despite the fact that they are so-three-years-ago, I wore them. I wanted happy feet. Sometimes you have to go with function over form; even at a fashion event! Yes, it is true I am wearing a Rockstud handbag too, my formal bags are all clutches and I didn’t want to deal with a clutch, so I wore this bag. Since I blended into the crowd in black, I figured no-one would notice. haha
The finale party started on the rooftop of a tall building; I’m not sure where we were in Dallas. haha. There were a few passed appetizers, and lots of champagne. After one hour, the party progressed to the ground floor where there were balloons for photos opps.
After we all took a few pictures, we went outside where a DJ was playing all the pop music my kids listen to. I may have felt a little old at that point, but it was super fun nonetheless. I danced with Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen and it was so much fun!
After another hour, the party was taking a new turn; or should I say twist. These drummers came out of no-where and started drumming songs. They were amazing! We watched them perform for a few minutes ad then they led us up into the street where a tent was set up.
Inside the tent, there were more appetizers and tons of dancing. This is where the GenX music was played! They played Salt n’ Pepa “Push it,” they also played “Whoop der it is” and more! I had so much fun dancing with Alison and the other bloggers. Sadly, as with all good things, they come to an end. I had to catch an early flight home, and so did Alison, so we ended up leaving about twenty minutes early. It was really fun, and I am so happy I went!
All in all this was an extremely educational work conference. I also enjoyed networking with other bloggers and meeting a few brands; even though I was super nervous with one! Stay tuned! I have one more outfit post from the conference coming up.
Thank you for all your support and for stopping by!