The #FASHIONTECH BERLIN conference is Europe’s leading C-level tech conference for the fashion industry. On the morning of 15 January 2019, Anita Tillmann, Managing Partner Premium Group, Michael Stracke, Chief Business Development Officer and Ole Tillmann, Founder & CEO Peak, welcomed the auditorium at Kraftwerk to the ninth edition of #FASHIONTECH BERLIN.

Stracke says, “We are extremely pleased with this year’s edition of #FASHIONTECH BERLIN. Our thanks must once again go to our high-calibre international speakers and partners without whom this continuous growth wouldn’t be possible. We are unique in Europe at this level, which is also apparent from the consistently positive feedback from participants during and after the conference. Among other things, we have increased the exhibition space by 300% and we have had even more interactive workshops and masterclasses going on for those attending, to ensure knowledge transfer. The slightly modified concept – #LISTEN!, #LEARN!, #EXPERIENCE! and #BUSINESS! – was very well received, as we want to do justice to the individual needs of all participants.”

“It was especially gratifying this year to experience the positive atmosphere on site and to ascertain that the topic of digital transformation has finally grown in importance for the fashion industry too, which was also evident in the renewed increase in and international character of the visitor numbers. Digitalisation is fun of course, and you can achieve much more in a short space of time than was possible previously; and respond to customers’ needs much more strongly and in a more targeted way.”

The goal of the conference is for everybody who faces digital disruption to walk away with inspiration and hands-on advice to be able to get started or continue their own digital transformation and get ready for the future. Learn from leaders and innovators from other industries to be among the first in the fashion industry to implement innovation.

On the main stage: keynote presentations from innovators and visionaries from fashion and other industries (#LISTEN). In the exhibition area: the latest developments, products, solutions and innovations in the fields of retail and ecommerce solutions, robotics, AI, omnichannel or digital model booking with international exhibitors from Germany, France, UK, Hungary, Sweden, Israel and the USA (#EXPERIENCE). Telekom Fashion Fusion presented the latest developments in wearable technology and Bonprix used the platform to introduce the “fashion connect” pilot store, which opens in Hamburg in February.

Anyone interested in a closer look at how to transform their own organisation was able to find more in-depth approaches in the masterclasses, or get hands-on in the workshops (#LEARN). Electrolux AEG gave insights into CAREtech, and Collabary by Zalando showed how to create an engaging Influencer Marketing campaign in just one hour. In the networking area visitors can connect with the speakers, industry insiders and entrepreneurs to foster business connections and meet potential business partners and generate new business leads (#BUSINESS!).

The central question was: “How to transform your organisation”, which was broken down and discussed through four aspects: Leadership & Culture, Future of Work, Innovation & Technology and Customer Journey.


1—Culture & Leadership

The first set of keynotes was dedicated to “culture & leadership”. Digital transformation is not possible without a culture that enables change and rewards performance and smart risk-taking. This culture needs to be ingrained in the leadership’s mindset in order to diffuse throughout the entire organisation. Furthermore, collaboration is key — the hive is more effective than the individual; network thinking is preferred over individual thinking. Traditional ways of doing (fashion) business are disrupted by entrepreneurial thinking; anachronistic entry barriers like retailers or editors can be overcome by re-imagining old structures.


Statements from the speakers:

Sebastian Klauke, CDO, Otto Group

 “If you haven’t started your transformation now, you're probably a little late.”


Justine Leconte, Creative Director, Justine Leconte

“Speed is extremely important, no matter the industry you’re in. In fashion people tend to wait until it’s perfect. In tech you go to market, you test, you improve. Otherwise you’ll never do it.”


Prof. Ulrich Weinberg, Director, HPI School of Design Thinking

“A network way of thinking is much more efficient than a single way of thinking.”


2—Future of Work

The future of work isn’t about knowing, because facts become old really quickly today. It is about testing and trying new ways of doing things. It is about learning, and the best learning comes from doing it yourself. Organisations should foster a culture of teams; it is they that create new ideas, not an individual genius. Collaboration is the key to any type of innovation and any type of performance. Team effectiveness is driven by a shared mindset re how to communicate with each other, especially about failure.


Statements from the speakers:

Sofia Wingren, CEO, Hyper Island

“In a world that is connected we need to be the best on a global stage.”


Christoph Magnussen, Founder & Managing Director, Blackboat

“With fear in your back you cannot move, you cannot innovate.”


Reza Moussavian, SVP Digital & Innovation (HR), Telekom

“Why organisations fail or succeed? Three things: transparency, balance of power, and inclusive vs. exclusive entities.”


3—Innovation & Technology

The fashion industry needs to accept the fact that technology will be part of its future. However, instead of seeing this as a threat, opportunities should be embraced. Platforms are the ideal tool for co-creation. Consumers who are involved in the creation of a product are emotionally invested, too — which is crucial in times when they are no longer loyal to a brand. Technology enables brands to tell their own story and create meaning, which younger customers especially are looking for. It also creates shopping experiences that adjust to evolving digital consumption habits, like no longer having to queue at the checkout. More data than ever before is available to base business decisions on and deliver a product or service that puts the desires of the consumer in the focus.

Statements from the speakers:

Alfredo Orobio, Founder & CEO, Awaytomars

“I think collaboration is the future of fashion and of any enterprise that wants to achieve success.


Gary Wassner, CEO, Hilldun

“I don’t think the millennial takes the cover of Vogue seriously. They don’t even look at it.”


Alexander Graf, Founder & CEO, Spryker Systems

“The problem with many of today’s retailers: most are still focussed on the desktop.”


4—Customer Journey

On a technical level, the lines between the analogue and the real world are blurring. Consumers do not make these distinctions anymore and want a seamless experience between both. Mobile is the ideal connector. Today, consumers tend to spend more money on experience than consumer goods like fashion. For brands and retailers it has become crucial to capture their attention with experience. They get emotionally invested in brands and retailers that are able to provide the backdrop for their community. Consumers identify with brands that have – and communicate – a clear set of values that they aspire to identify with. Brands that practice these values (and don’t only preach them) are more likely to succeed in the long term.

Statements from the speakers:

Ana Andjelic, Chief Brand Officer, Rebecca Minkoff

 “The key human factors: trust, belonging, passion, purpose.”


Markus Fuchshofen, Managing Director, Bonprix

“Mobile is the way to connect online with offline.”


Louise Troen, VP International Marketing & Communication, Bumble

“Everyone needs to come into work feeling inspired and listened to and empowered. The more empowered you feel, the better your results.