FIYB Highlights – Ep. 99 w/ David Yi: “Fashion Is Your Armor”

David Yi, the fashion editor for Mashable, joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez and Marc Raco on at Rise NY for an interview sponsored by Fiverr.

David Yi Sees the Video Future

David launched the Fashion vertical at Mashable last year and the vertical covers the intersection of fashion, technology and entertainment. Rob asks about the shift in Mashable’s direction which leads into a discussion of content platforms that the site is using and turning towards. News content is moving towards video both on social media–like Snapchat and Vine–and on television. Yi makes the argument that Snapchat is not a medium of the future, but the medium of now. (OSF is on Snapchat, by the way.) Mashable has been invited to be part of Snapchat’s Discover platform as something of a tech channel. Facebook Live, the social network’s foray into video, also gets brought up, as Mashable is already using it for reporting.

He also brings up Generation Z, who may or may not be millennials. He describes them as voracious consumers of content who want to be taste-makers. But they are also savvy consumers who don’t like to be out-right marketed to.

Social Media En Vogue

Marc asks about Mashable’s engagement with technology goes beyond just reporting on it, but also enhancing their journalism. David responds that you always have to experiment in order to be current and innovative. Soon, the experimental platforms might become the necessary platform and you want to be fluent in your usage.

Fake It ’til You Make It (or Blue Hair, Don’t Care)

David details his path to fashion, being inspired by spending time in London then returning to New York to do journalism. His first job was at the Daily News where two editors left and, at 22, he was named fashion editor. He learned on the spot and faked it ’til he made it. This included dyeing his hair different colors and wearing fashion forward outfit that made him feel like he belonged. The more time he spent in the industry the more he learned and did until he was no longer ‘faking’ it but just doing it.

Fashion Is Your Armor

David explains the point of view he tries to bring to stories. He wants to discuss things beyond the fluffy and shallow reputation that the industry gets and focus the human element. Fashion is about self-expression, identity, changing culture, and sometimes can be your armor and be political.

Here are some of pieces he wrote that he references during the podcast:

Better Living Through Fashion

Pavan asks about what David is excited by in the fashion tech world, noting that we are at the cusp of wearable being incorporated seamlessly into clothing. David believes that we’re still in a period where things are still a bit gimmicky, but agrees that we’re at the brink of change. He thinks that the focus should be enhancing wearer’s lives.

Rob brings up a discussion that Third Wave Fashion held with Leslie Muller of VSP Global and the failure of the Google Glass. At the event, he learned from someone VSP that they are working on tech that can help blind and hard-of-sight folks, including things that can read text to you and location assistance. He wonders why there isn’t more reporting on these products. David points out that a number of these ideas are not ready for consumers or in prototype stage; for instance, they may need to be FDA approved. He also recognizes that his audience wants things they can get or buy now.

Marc asks what interests him in the world of fashion tech and David responds that he wants stuff that can change the world. He elaborates on the waste that fashion produces and that consumers need to be more savvy in their consumption.

Screen Shopping

Towards the end of the podcast, Pavan brings up Smartzer. David brings up how a lot of brands in the space are trying to figure out how to monetize fashion as it is presented on social media and connect it to product. He’s critical of how that matches up with common shopping habits and that people still want to go to store. This leads into a discussion of the magic mirrors in fitting rooms and, sponsor and past podcast guest, Alert Tech.

Featured image credit: Mimby


Alex Tunney

Alex is Managing Editor of Open Source Fashion. His work has appeared in The Billfold, Lambda Literary, The Inquisitive Eater and The Ink and Code. Alex earned his MFA in Creative Writing from The New School.