Gilt at the Fashion Hackathon

3 min Read Time

Hello there!

I’m Miguel Fajardo, an engineer at Gilt. I want to share a great experience I had with fellow Gilt engineers Jose Sanchez and Patrick Losco at the recent Fashion Hack during New York Fashion Week.

Hearst Corporation hosted the event in their New York City headquarters, the Hearst Tower. The building is easily identified by its diamond-patterned façade. Many other companies co-sponsored the event, including Microsoft, Spotify, Okta, HTC, and of course, Gilt.


The two-day event kicked off on Saturday morning in the auditorium where Hearst explained the rules of the competition. The goal was to build a web or mobile application that would interact with the APIs of some of the sponsoring companies, that included Gilt. 


As one of the companies exposing the APIs to be used as part of the competition, we presented our developer portal and showed some examples to illustrate how to use the Gilt API. Anyone can query our systems to retrieve information about current or future sales, including what products will be included and a ton of info about them (price, current availablity, checkout URL, etc). If you are interested, you can find more info in our developer portal.


Here you can see the team once dinner was served at 7pm:


From left to right: Miguel, Jose, Patrick, and Dalia (she joined our team as application designer and front end developer).

Our idea was to use a city selected by the user and the current local weather to show trends in the form of relevant clothing and accessories from Hearst media. When the user chooses an image, the application recommends similar products available on Gilt. We built it using the Play framework with Java and Twitter Bootstrap.

By midnight, we had the retrieval of content from the APIs completed and started focusing on the front end. Time flies in this kind of event, where you are trying to design and build an entire application in such a short period of time!


We had all major functionality wired up by dawn, and then it was a matter of improving the user interface and optimizing performance. We improved the algorithm to select what images from Hearst to show and how to link these to the Gilt items on sale. We decided to fetch the weather at runtime, but cached other API calls that were taking up to a minute. The submission deadline was Sunday at 1pm and we made it just in time. There was no time to rest before all the teams presented their work.

The presentations took place on the 44th floor of the amazing Hearst Tower.


The views were stunning, especially with fresh snow from the previous day’s blizzard covering the city.


Our presentation went smoothly and we even appeared in a tweet from Hearst president David Carey.


In the end we got a special mention as one of the top 5 applications.


Jose was already asleep by the time we got to the prizes.

The Hearst Fashion Hack was a great experience. Not only did we learn a lot about the APIs, but we had a lot of fun together. You can view a demonstration of the application in this video.

Hope you enjoyed the post!

HBC Tech

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