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Devotees

Decoded Fashion and CFDA Host Fashion Hackathon.

On Super Bowl Sunday, when most New Yorkers were prepping for the big game, hundreds of fashion and technology devotees were going head to head.

Decoded Fashion, a company aiming to connect the fashion and technology worlds, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America hosted something called a “fashion hackathon,” at the Alley, an event space on Seventh Avenue. An assembly of programmers, developers and graphic designers were given 24 hours to create an app or start-up idea to be pitched to a cast of judges (this reporter included). Five semifinalists were chosen to complete their pitch by the last day of New York Fashion Week, Feb. 14. Judges were instructed to identify apps or solutions that could be useful to the fashion industry and support the CFDA mission of considering the future. Originality of ideas, user interface and design, and overall technical achievement during a day of coding were also weighed.

Fashion may be an unlikely subject for tech geeks, but the event drew a large number of participants, as well as the support of the CFDA (including the designer Zac Posen); Condé Nast; and new-media fixtures like Dennis Crowley of Foursquare, Dirk Standen, editor-in-chief of Style.com, and Valentine Uhovski of Tumblr.

“I’ve been to a lot of hackathons, two to three hundred people, but this is the first hackathon I’ve been to that attracted 600 people, half of them women,” said Drew Schutte, the manager for emerging technologies at Condé Nast.

Objection

Ms. Bacelar said she hoped the event would help bridge a communications gap. “I think that everyone in fashion is used to hearing the statement that they need to play catch-up, and they need to innovate,“ she said. “But let me tell you that from the tech side, and I work with the tech guys all the time; they are building products to pitch to the fashion vertical and they are getting it wrong all the time. So we are talking about an education that needs to happen on both fronts.”Ms. Winston Wolkoff said: “People on the tech side think very differently about fashion. It’s not just about brands, it’s about publishing and distribution and manufacturing. And when you say fashion people think clothing, but it’s more than that. It’s the business of clothing.”

On Feb. 14, Decoded Fashion announced SWATCHit, an app connecting designers with fabric creators and other artisans, as the hackathon winner. The team received $10,000 from the CFDA.

“What I loved about SWATCHit was the B to B aspect,” said Steven Kolb, the chief executive of the CFDA. “Sourcing is a difficult aspect for all designers big and small, and more efficiency in sourcing will streamline production processes. And it has the potential to expand into even more than the way they presented it.”

Speaking of presentation, many hackers paid as much attention to their own style as they did to their code. They “looked very dapper after not sleeping for 36 hours,” Mr. Uhovski said.