This summer, fashion tech company, The Lead, hosted their first award program, focusing on congratulating those individuals who have significantly contributed to the retail industry. The Lead’s Defiant 25 awards was a celebration of the fashion industry’s leading visionaries, as well as a celebration of everything The Lead is trying to accomplish in the field.

Sara Kerens, The Lead, Cadillac House, June 2018

The Lead’s co-creator, Timo Weiland, said the idea was “born from my own frustrations. With my own label, we struggled to stay ahead of the innovation curve without the resources we needed. Fast forward to The Lead Assembly. It was a room filled with the people who are creating the future, not those looking to catch-up – it’s exactly what I needed, come to life.”

The Lead attempts to bridge the gap between fashion and silicon valley – focusing on innovations and behaviors in the fashion, retail, and technology market.

The Lead’s Noah Gellman explains, [The] “fashion and Retail is an industry in transition and we serve to bring together a community of stakeholders that have not frequently been in the same room. The silos of cutting edge technology (start-ups), established know-how (enterprise technology), next generation brands (digital natives) and fashion brands and retailers themselves need to be collapsed. The Lead is about converging these once separate communities in a format and a forum for the future. This is what will bring the insight and fresh perspectives to the table.”

By creating a place for those innovators to get together and discuss ideas, The Lead’s Defiant 25 Awards is a way for professionals to gather ideas, talk to others in the field, and be a part of the growth.

Sara Kerens, The Lead, Cadillac House, June 2018

According to Weiland, “the Fashion & Retail Industry is facing a period of transition that we at The Lead view as more of a ‘Renaissance’ than an ‘Apocalypse’ (as it has been widely called). It is a time of tremendous opportunity after the wave of closures in recent years. Brands are no longer being viewed as traditional venture-capital plays because their growth trajectory has demonstrated a different arc than traditional tech and software startups. There are also unicorn brands such as Zenni Optical who have surpassed the revenue ceiling of $50m annual sales that the majority of online-only brands face.”

The next event hosted by The Lead will be October’s “The Sumit” in the Williamsburg Hotel, celebrating innovation in the industry. You can check out the details here.

Sara Kerens, The Lead, Cadillac House, June 2018

Yelena Mandenberg is a staff writer at Grit Daily with a passion for news of all sorts. A Brooklyn, New York native, she is living with cat + tortoise. IG: ymand123

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