An Insider’s Look Into The Decoded Fashion Hackathon

An Insider’s Look Into The Decoded Fashion Hackathon

This weekend was the first-ever Fashion Hackathon presented by Conde Nast and hosted by Decoded Fashion.  We had a great time and took away some solid perspective on the future of fashion.  But because we love hearing about other people’s experiences– especially when they attend really special competitions like this– we thought it’d be great to bring on a contributor and have her share her own interpretation of the hackathon with our readers.  Our contributor, Jaclyn Siu, is a budding entrepreneur and was participating in the event. 

Enjoy this insider’s look into the industry’s first Fashion Hackathon and follow Jaclyn as she learns what it means to be a new hacker.

Going into the Decoded Fashion Hackathon early on Saturday morning, I felt apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. I had never been in a hackathon before, and all I had to go off of was the crazy coding scene in The Social Network. Needless to say, I wasn’t very prepared for the long day ahead.

My partner, Jane Chen, and I pitched our ideas to the general crowd after breakfast, the fashion briefs, and mingling. To our greatest surprise, we had five or six different developers approach us about our ideas – and even better, they wanted to talk about, a personal stylist and shopper app for fashion-conscious men that Jane and I have already been working on for the past six months or so, but had yet to develop an actual interactive prototype beyond wireframes.

Two developers from the New York Times, Marlo Epres and Joe Crane-Messina, struck a chord with us, and we decided to team up and hack away at, building what would become our first real prototype. I was nervous about being the least technical on the team, but everyone was very supportive and rallied around each other. We bonded over silly tweets, beer, food, and making fun of me; within hours, we already had our inside jokes.

The hacking process could easily have turned stressful and aggravating, but we all managed to keep our spirits up and even got a good night’s sleep. As they kept clacking away at the keyboard, I watched as transformed from a beautifully designed but static wireframe into a functional, interactive prototype; as the images refreshed on the screen, I watched as my vision for truly came to life.

Seeing how our prototype turned out, I was confident that we were going to make it through to the semifinals round, and I immediately started practicing my pitch as soon as we were ready. When we heard our team announced over the loudspeaker that we had been selected to pitch, I knew I had to make the best impression I could on the room full of industry insiders.

Thankfully, I didn’t stumble or stutter. The audience actually laughed at my jokes and thought I was funny, which in itself is a pretty rare occurrence. Standing in front of a large crowd and presenting an idea may be daunting to some, but as my pitch went on and I noticed that my idea was resonating with the crowd, I felt like I had already won.

At the end of the day, while we didn’t make it to the finals at New York Fashion Week, we won the prize for the best use of Skimlinks’ API, which resulted in each of us receiving a shiny new Asus Nexus 7 tablet.image-1

I am so humbled and grateful for the entire experience – the talent I was surrounded with, the incredible ideas that were showcased, and my amazing teammates – and I am so glad to be able to walk away from the hackathon with such great memories. It still feels surreal that it all happened, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Interested in hackathons but missed this one? This weekend (Feb 9th-10th) Hearst Corporation will be hosting Fashion Hack, the largest fashion hackathon in partnership with Angelhack. The event kicks off Saturday at 9:00am, at Hearst Tower, with winners being announced Sunday, the 10th, at 3:00pm. For more information on the event and how to get involved, visit their site

Jaclyn Siu is a Third Wave Fashion contributor. She’s currently a student at NYU, a fashion journalist, and the founder of You can follow her on Twitter here

Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave.  Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.

Images via Jaclyn Siu.