Rachel Silk: Predicting the Future of Fashion-Tech
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Fifteen years ago, Rachel Silk was featured in a seven-page article in Engineering and Technology magazine. Her work around combining sustainable fashion with wearable tech made the front cover. It was quickly noticed by the UK parliament and used in the House of Lords in UK to help show how fashion and science can be combined to encourage more girls and women to enter STEM fields.
Fast forward to today and she serves as the Senior Project Manager of AR/Metaverse Marketing for eyekandy, the world’s leading augmented reality and metaverse commerce provider. In an exclusive interview with Digital Fashion Daily, Rachel provided some of her thoughts on the rise of digital fashion and AR marketing tech.
1. Can you please provide an overview of who you are and how you got to your current role at eyekandy? Any standout projects you’re proud of?
I’ve worked in luxury fashion, digital tech & marketing for the past 14 years and I’m obsessed with how ecommerce and retail have transformed over that time. It’s been incredible to have been involved in some of the biggest shifts in the industry from innovative in-store tech, which I helped launch while at Burberry, to global AR campaigns and helping brands both big and small navigate the metaverse.
I got into my current role in 2019-2021, as I noticed a change in social media interactions with retailers and e-commerce. I knew the consumer’s attention was moving away from traditional social media outlets and brick-and-mortar stores. Gamification, AR, VR, and metaverse were where I was seeing the biggest move of attention. I was already a part of that community and I could see how brands could leverage the new tech and use it to enhance the consumer’s experience online and in-store. I quickly focused my time on learning new tech, connecting with others who had similar interests, and learning everything I could about AR/VR, metaverse platforms, Avatars, and NFTs.
Helping brands and retailers market their products in these areas is very similar to how brands adopted social media in early 2013-2015 and have been part of the social media boom. It’s been fun to help others navigate this next tech frontier.
2. How do you envision the metaverse playing out, specifically in regards to commerce, retail, and digital fashion? What area specifically within retail-tech are you most excited about?
The metaverse is already here and we have been in it for years. Brands and retailers are now transitioning to have experiences and spaces in multiple metaverses where communities can meet up, connect and experience immersive content. AR and 3D models allow consumers to see digital products in hyper-realistic views that have huge benefits for consumers. This includes helping them make decisions on if the product is right for them without having to see it the physical and allowing the story of a product to be told in a fun engaging way without the constraints of the physical world. The possibilities are endless!
The future of retail and e-commerce is combining the digital with the physical to create a phygital experience both online and in-store. Connecting consumers with other like-minded shoppers allows consumers to be more connected to the brand wherever they are in the world.
I’m most excited about seeing brands be creative, and brave and develop more immersive experiences for consumers to connect and create brand loyalty through new tech!
3. How can brands use AR and Web3 technology as marketing tools?
There are so many uses for AR in marketing for fashion, retail, and e-commerce! From fun and educational experiences that trigger off a QR code and bring a digital product to life in 3D, to fun gamification that immerses you in the brand and the solution of virtual try-on anywhere in the world! It allows the flat image we see online to jump off the screen and become part of your environment even when it’s not possible to have the physical item in front of you.
Metaverse events and virtual stores will be game-changing for e-commerce and brands that have loyal followings.
NFTs have a huge benefit for luxury brands who want to show the authenticity of a product or reward loyal customers with VIP services and memberships. The key is NFTs with utilities for both online and also physical benefits.
4. What is the biggest thing brands who want to enter the metaverse should focus on?
Focus on your brand story and how you can use the metaverse to connect with your consumers. Create a community and a digital space they will want to be in so they can connect with other like-minded people.
5. Where do you think digital fashion is headed in the next 5 to 10 years and what do we need to do to get there?
Fifteen years ago I predicted the combination of sustainable ethical fashion mixed with wearable tech, we are now seeing this become mainstream. Digital fashion is the next level. The world has changed so much and in the next 5-10 years tech will have advanced more than we can imagine. Digital fashion will allow more experimental designs, creativity, and expression. It has the potential to allow consumers to be more ethical in the physical while expressing their fashion identity in the digital.
To see more of Rachel’s work, follow her on LinkedIn. For more content from Digital Fashion Daily, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our weekly newsletter in the form above.