Instagram, e-commerce apps and hackathons: Why the fashion industry is embracing technology more than ever

Best fashion apps and websites
Best fashion apps and websites
Photography by Lewis Mirrett

5 fashion websites and apps that you need to know about now »

Without a doubt, it’s time to take a closer look at what designers, fashion brands and industry fans have been getting up to online. From live-streaming fashion shows, envy-inducing social media chronicles, mobile shopping apps and e-retailer pre-sales, the fashion world is becoming more and more tech-oriented. And while customers love these new innovations, brands are also loving the benefits that come with increased technological and online engagement.

Rebecca Minkoff is one company that has had business thrive thanks to its digital presence, which includes an e-commerce site, blog and social media presence across Twitter, Instagram and, most recently, Vine. However, the biggest payoff came with the launch of the Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2013 jewellery collection via a YouTube video featuring Man Repeller blogger Leandra Medine. Uri Minkoff, CEO of Rebecca Minkoff, told WWD, “January [2013] became the biggest non-holiday e-commerce month sales wise in the company’s history. January jewelry sales specifically have increased by 250 percent over sales from November and December combined.”

Indeed, partnerships do make a difference, especially for fashion brands. Earlier this month two fashion-themed hackathons took place during New York Fashion Week. (Don’t worry, we also needed to Google the definition of hackathon: they’re collaborative events where developers gather to create a new app or software platform in a limited amount of time.) One hackathon was presented by Condé Nast and focused on the goal of creating an app for the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). The winning app was SWATCHit, which connects fashion designers to artisans and producers in emerging market textile industries. The second hackathon, hosted by Hearst, saw part app, part online shop Drobe win top honours. Once live, it will allow users to mix-and-match clothing items from various retailers. More information will be available on both apps as they are further developed and released within the next six months.

If you’re thinking that the digital world has only added to the frantic pace of the fashion industry, you may be correct. However, to keep you up-to-date we’ve uncovered five websites that are creating buzz in the fashion world and are designed to help you socialize, interact and shop with ease.