Monday, August 10, 2009

Talking Fashion and Technology with Agnieszka Kij: Links a la Mode

Portrait of Agnieszka Kij by Ray Chang

Agnieszka Kij of Net-a-Porter spoke to Style Gourmand about Net-a-Porter's new iPhone app, and about where fashion and technology meet.

A couple weeks ago Natalie Massenet, NAP founder, and designer Roland Mouret appeared at the Apple store in London to discuss fashion and technology. Although fashion and technology seem like two disparate areas, they both attract creative passionate people, just with very different ways of expressing their ideas: how much do you think fashion is influencing technology and vice versa?

The brilliant thing is that no matter where you live, technology enables you to see, interact and get inspired by fashion. More and more designers are realising this and are looking to see how they can harness technology to deliver something new. I love designers who constantly push boundaries (Hussein Chalayan is a great example), but it’s no longer just about creating a beautiful product, it’s also about how creative you can be in getting it to your customer. I think the dialogue between fashion and technology is only just beginning and that we will continue to be surprised by the results.

So Natalie and Roland were also discussing the new Net-a-Porter shopping app that launched this week. Can you tell us a little bit about it? What kinds of features does it have and how is it different from other fashion apps?

It’s the first app where you can actually purchase the latest fashion via a streamlined purchase path. Most apps take you out of the APP and into a separate browser to make a payment. With the NET-APP, you stay within the application throughout the entire payment process. I also am particularly proud of the level of product details we provide for all the ‘what’s new products.’ There are 5 images per product all taken from different angles and zoom functionality so that our customers can see everything from the fabric texture to the smallest stitch! This means you can really shop and access luxury fashion wherever you are – last week I was sitting on the beach in California browsing NET-A-PORTER’s ‘what’s new’ section and magazine - what else does a girl need?

Since your work requires you to be both a techie and a fashionista at the same time, who in the worlds of fashion and technology do you find most inspiring?

There are many people I find inspiring in technology such as Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Steve Jobs but I find I am mostly inspired by the people I work with at NET-A-PORTER. There is nothing more exciting than coming up with an idea, then speaking about it with my colleagues, fine-tuning it and then working on delivering it. Fashion inspirations are harder to pinpoint. Living in London and working in fashion company I constantly see brilliant things. I can be inspired by anything from a teenager crossing the street in east London to a model coming into our offices for a casting.

How did you get into the fashion industry?

It was actually quite by accident. I came to London from Poland about 5 years ago and applied for a job at NET-A-PORTER…and instantly fell in love!

Have you always had an interest in fashion or is it just an occupational hazard?

I have always had interest in design and aesthetics and fashion definitely falls within these categories.

Your hands-down favorite items in your closet:

I have 3 - a stripy white and navy blue top which goes with everything, some Eley Kishimoto ballerinas and I always have a pair of classic white Converse in my closet.

The coolest thing you've seen lately:

I went on a road trip across the US recently and fell in love with old American cars all over again…but then I saw the old cruise bikes in New Orleans and think they are even cooler!

Complete the sentence: You're always naked without comfortable shoes

What one gadget can you not live without?

iPhone, iPhone, iPhone

What new gadget have we never heard of, but in the future won't be able to live without?

3D technology – imagine 3D touch screens computer where you can design a chair for example and then instantly print it on your 3D printer.


  1. Fantastic interview and a much needed but often overlooked topic in the fashion industry. Technology is the future of fashion both in function and design.

  2. This is a great interview! I'm excited about the iphone app's new accessible features!

    I've seen 3D printers making bracelets that you can buy at a gallery in my hometown. It's only a matter of time before we will all have 3D printers bluetoothing with our laptops, iphones, and palmpre's and we will print sustainable, recyclable dishes, silverware, shoes, and furniture whenever we wish. Technology is evolving so rapidly that I expect to see this pretty soon.

  3. I'm really looking forward to testing out this new app, which I have to say is just genius!! Whoever thought this up deserves a payrise! :)