Coco Rocha is a gadget geek.
The techie, model and now designer said during her talk capping off the Onestop Emerge Summit Tuesday in Manhattan Beach, Calif. that the surest way to win her over is not with purses or other such items but rather with gadgets. Rocha later sat down with WWD to talk about her love for technology, which she said could have been the result of her upbringing that had little in the way of technology, or even a TV for that matter.
“Maybe it was the opposite effect,” she told WWD. “I didn’t really have a computer until much later in life. Dial-up when it was not cool was when I obtained Internet so I’m not really sure why I love [tech] so much. It was not given to me at a young age so I really wanted to dive in once I had the chance to do it on my own.”
Rocha has been vocal about the intersection of fashion and technology. She was an early adopter of social media, first with Myspace, a move she said was met with pushback from the industry. She’s now adept at social media with accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tencent Weibo and other platforms. Her interest has organically given way to consulting gigs for tech start-ups and also got her a contributing editor gig at PC Mag, where she’s written on topics such as 3-D printing and Google Glass.
She’s also been known for calling out the tech and fashion worlds for their inability at times to work together. She said that fashion, for its part, has been slow to adopt tech in what, in some cases, stems from a fear of change.
“For a long time it’s just been the same story,” she said. “There are certain people in the industry that usually make and change the industry and then from there we just hear the narrative that this is how we should do it….The industry is meant — as models or as designers — to inspire people so you get to a point where people are inspired and then they’re just not inspired anymore and you have to try new things and I think personally tech does that. It gets people excited again about the industry so it’s not a bad thing to take on. But it makes people nervous because change isn’t always good.”
Rocha has now turned her attention to her recently launched Co + Co clothing line of sporty separates ranging from mesh cardigans and tops to leggings and jumpsuits. The company is using heat-sealed seams and scuba with the line but still has work to do when it comes to partnering with factories and companies that can help take the business’ use of technology to new heights.
“I would love to say that we already have the funds for 3-D printing and we’re already working on new and inventive ways of [developing the line],” she said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have that quite yet but we are always looking for new and exciting things so that’s what I love about these sort of conferences because someone all of a sudden comes up to you and says, ‘I have this new really cool thing that I’m wondering would you be willing to try out?’ No one’s going to lose anything for trying something.”
Rocha said plans are in the works for how the collection will ultimately be shown to the market; it won’t go about it in the traditional route.
“Will we show the old-fashioned way? Probably not because people are expecting something different,” she said. “We are going to do something really fun this fashion week. Hopefully everything makes people come together but we plan on doing something very new and exciting — tech meeting fashion — that no one has seen the two spaces do yet.”