New York Fashion Tech Lab aims to merge NYC’s fashion and tech scenes

Springboard Enterprise chairman Kay Koplovitz speaking at NYFTL's 2015 Demo Day (courtesy NYFTL)

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New York Fashion Week is here, and we’re getting in on the action. So we’ve teamed up with men’s e-tailer Frank & Oak to bring you Fashion-Tech Week – everything you need to know from the intersection of tech and fashion.

New York Fashion Week kicks off today, and the event’s sheer magnitude is undeniable – last fall’s Fashion Week drew over 100,000 attendees for nearly 300 shows and presentations, dwarfing fashion weeks in London, Paris, and Milan.

By comparison, New York Fashion Tech Lab’s second annual Demo Day, held in June, may have seemed petite – but the accelerator’s potential impact on the future of fashion and tech in New York City is most certainly not.

Cofounded by Springboard Enterprises and the Partnership Fund for New York City in 2014, New York Fashion Tech Lab is a 12-weeek incubator in which fashion-tech startups are paired with major fashion brands, gaining feedback and potential business relationships.

2014 graduate and independent designer platform Nineteenth Amendment, for example, launched a partnership with NYFTL mentor Macy’s earlier this month, which will showcase Nineteenth Amendment’s designers to Macys.com customers.

This year’s class of companies included Dropel Fabrics, a cotton textile supplier that uses nanotechnology to create stain and water repellant fabrics, and since-acquired inSparq, which helps retailers market trending products.

“I saw the evolution of technology in the retail space. The consumer was so out in front with smartphones, mobility, mobile pay, omni-channel – yet the retail space was not able to really respond to a lot of the demands in the consumer market,” Kay Koplovitz, chairman and co-founder of Springboard Enterprises told us. “I thought the technology aspect of fashion and retail was important, and here in New York should be a focus.”

According to Koplovitz, Springboard Enterprises will take full responsibility for the lab in 2016, with the Partnership Fund for New York City staying on as an affiliate. The one-time Chair of National Women’s Business Council and founder of USA Network, Koplovitz has big plans for the lab going forward.

“We’re doing the lab once a year at the present time, but we will be evolving to more activities throughout the year as we go into 2016 and 2017,” Koplovitz said. “We have a little bit of time to do some other things in the marketplace.”

You can read more about New York Fashion Tech Lab and check out the application process here.

Now go forth (and pitch).