The first ever Fastfwd Fashion conference, an event organized by UKFT Rise, took place 4 November at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters in east London. Gathered to discuss the technological movements that are shaping the industry’s future, a wide cross-section of brands, retailers, investors and technology specialists took part including representatives from Google, Henri Lloyd, La Perla, The Unseen, Grabble,, Yr Store and Mintel.

The panel discussion topics ranged from the ways in which innovation can help future-proof fashion businesses, to the tricks of successfully breaking into international markets. Smruti Sriram, CEO of printing service Supreme Creations, chaired one of the most interesting debates, exploring product and textile innovation. It shed light on the particular approaches of such diverse players as sailing performance wear veteran Henri Lloyd and young textile pioneer Lauren Bowker, founder of The Unseen. Meanwhile, keynote speeches included that of Martijn Bertisen, Industry Head of Retail UK at Google, who demonstrated the much buzzed about Google glasses while giving hints on how apps can be used in entertaining ways to drive traffic to stores.

In between panel talks and speeches, five emerging innovative businesses selected by UKFT Rise went head to head in a competition that saw them unveiling their visions. The audience was invited to cast a vote for flat pack mannequin name Mannequino, the “tinder for fashion” Grabble, face recognition innovation Touchbyte, wholesale ordering player Re:Channel or wearable tech purveyor Kovert Designs. The latter was crowned winner, having impressed the audience with its line of tech jewelry linked to a mobile app discreetly notifying the wearer of important calls, but without the disruptive chimes of a mobile phone.

At break time, 3D printing specialist Ultimaker offered live demos while Yr Store invited delegates to design their own pair of socks using its groundbreaking software and live printing device.  Interestingly, Yr Store is considered an established force in the fast moving sphere of digital innovation, although it was founded as recently as August 2013. This fact alone shows the relevance of Fastfwd Fashion – it keeps track of the mavericks that are likely to contribute to the fashion landscape’s changing terrain.

Event host Richard Hurtley, Chairman of UKFT Rise, said: "The opportunities to harness innovation for the fashion industry are bigger than ever. In organizing Fastfwd Fashion, we acted as the filter, hand picking content and products from up and coming technologies and putting them in front of a receptive fashion audience."

The date for the next conference will be announced in due course, and judging by the strength of the first outing it’s an event to be reckoned with.