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People INTERVIEW

Meet founder of Fashinnovation, matchmaker of fashion and tech

By FashionUnited

4 Mar 2020

After over fifteen years working in public relations Jordana Guimarães co-founded Fashinnovation in 2018 with her husband Marcelo which launched during New York Fashion Week. The aim of the multimedia platform was to connect entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology to ignite change within the fashion industry. Now she counts Fern Mallis, Diane von Furstenberg, Louis Vuitton, Chromat, WGSN, Wearable X, Mara Hoffman, Refinery29 and Fast Company, among the members of the Fashinnovation community.

Bringing people together drives Guimarães’s entrepreneurial spirit but with a focus on people as much as profit. Her early exposure to economic inequality growing up in Brazil inspired her to launch The Nylon Project in 2016, a homelessness awareness campaign, then to publish a book, “It Can Be You,” which tapped her network of influencers and celebrities to tell the stories of homeless individuals. It might sound odd from a long-time industry insider, but her motto is “Fashion is to love.” On the heels of the fourth Fashinnovation event in NYC which gathered such an array of powerbrokers as the Chief of Office for Partnerships at the United Nations, Lucie Brigham; CEO of Diane von Furstenburg, Sandra Campos; international runway model activist, Coco Rocha; Dean of Fashion at Parsons, Burak Cakmak; Director of Marketing at UPS, Jason Robinson; and founder of EcoAge, Livia Firth, among many others, Guimarães spoke to FashionUnited about the experience of bringing everyone together in one room.

Why did you decide to found Fashinnovation?

What motivated us is that we have always had an admiration for entrepreneurs, they have power to make things happen, they are the decision makers. We live in a world right now that has a need for good social impact. Technology and fashion are two of our biggest industries, with so much influence on society. We figured it would be perfect to unite them to address topics which benefit brands/companies but also make the world a better place. This is why our slogan is “Fashion Is to Love”.

As conference-type events which gather industry professionals together become more popular in the fashion space, what makes Fashinnovation stand out?

Fashinnovation differentiates itself from others because we not only host the events (as branding for who we are) but our core mission is connecting CEOs with founders who meet and get to know start-ups and scale-ups, to give them a chance to grow via investments, and to collaborate in creating new innovations to shape trends, to take away the pain points in the industry via open conversations as well as debates and panels.

How do you go about curating the day's content?

We focus on key topics which are most relevant to the industry but also in making the world a better place: sustainability, women’s empowerment, diversity, manufacturing/production, e-commerce, new textiles and entrepreneurship.

What are the particular challenges in organizing Fashinnovation?

The planning involved is very vigorous. As the event is by invite only and since building community is our focus as well as managing a diverse group of individuals at C-suite level, it’s a lot of different personalities to connect and ensure that everyone will get something from the experience.

What are your criteria for selecting speakers and panelists?

The criteria for selection involves truly finding companies that are innovating and differentiating from competition in the market/industry. As long as they are innovating in a unique way, we love to give them a chance to showcase.

Are the speakers paid for their appearances? Do you work with sponsors?

None of the speakers have ever been paid. They do it to build community, inspire and share knowledge for a better tomorrow! We do have the sponsors for the event, which allow us to produce all of it.

Can you provide some insight into who the attendees are?

At Fashinnovation attendees are a nice mix of institutions, influencers/media and C-suite, of large, start-up and scale-up fashion, as well as tech companies.

What are your hopes for the future of Fashinnovation?

The future of Fashinnovation is to keep growing a community of like-minded decision makers who want to continue the positive trends we are seeing being implemented into the fashion industry, while giving the start-ups and scale-ups an opportunity to grow via connectivity as well as collaboration with the bigger brands whom we bring on stage to inspire––all under the slogan of “Fashion Is to Love”

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Photos by Stanley Steril for Fashinnovation