Fashion Technology London 2014

January 9, 2014
fashion technology ldn 2014

London is known worldwide for it’s fashion names, from Alexander McQueen to Kate Moss to Isabella Blow, we have some of the top dogs in the business, but there are a few new members, bringing something a little bit different to the fashion scene and well they are doing nothing but expanding their empires fast. What do all of these new members have in common? They are bringing Fashion AND Technology together and their ideas are only getting more inventive! From digitally printed shoes and fabrics, bringing interactivity to our brick and mortar stores, finding our desired products with the click of a camera as well as making shopping a whole lot more social online, the possibilities are endless!

At the start it began with people like Natalie Massenet wanting to redefine magazines and buy clothes with a click of a button. An idea that was ridiculed, who would want to buy clothes online especially luxury ones? Nowadays multimillion e-commerce businesses are far from unheard of and of course it is not just e-commerce that is making waves within the Fashion Technology industry. 2013 was called the year of 3D printing by Wired magazine, we can now not only shop online but social shop too, data has become more accessible allowing for a better insight into the industry resulting in improvements never even realised before and interactivity between retailers and customers has been taken to another level.

The Fashion Technology scene in London is particularly successful, with many a noteworthy company claiming it their stomping ground, as Jenny Griffiths, Founder and CEO of Snap Fashion states:

“The London Fashtech scene is such an exciting space to be working in.  Everyone knows everyone, so it’s such a friendly environment and we’re always sharing ideas and contacts. It’s a proper hotbed of innovation here – everyone’s genuinely trying to make online and offline shopping a better user experience and everyone has amazing insights into what the problems are in that space at the moment.  When you see the variety of companies in this space and the way that we’re all working together to solve a wide selection of problems, it makes you realise that online shopping is going to be really cool in the future.”

Why would they want to be anywhere else as Suraj Kapoor the Co-Founder of LookLab told us:

“London is the city that the rest of the fashion world takes its cues from in terms of innovation and creativity so it’s no surprise that fashion tech has carved out its place in the startup eco-system.”

Many of the companies featured in this article have decided to move to London because of it’s Fashion Technology scene, from Milan, Berlin to even Silicon Valley, none of them quite made the grade like London does. For example, as Kieran O’Neill, the Co-Founder and CEO of Thread told us:

“We started the company in Silicon Valley but moved back to London as the Valley lacked the depth of fashion talent that we have here. It’s the perfect place to be.”

To pay homage to the Fashion Technology game changers, in this two-part article, we will be showcasing 12 noteworthy companies working out of London who are ones to watch for 2014!

The following companies have been interviewed: Depop, EDITD, LookLab, Lyst, Nuji, Poq Studio, rufflr, Shopcade, SilkFred, Snap Fashion, Styloko, and Thread (the order is simply alphabetical, no favouritism here):

DEPOP

Depop: http://www.depop.com/en/

Who?

Depop is a mobile shopping application.

What?

Depop allow users to upload something to sell straight from their phone, chat to friends and discover new products all in one go!

How?

The main focus for Depop is to keep things simple and fun. It is not only a place to sell your things but a place to make friends and create a real community vibe.

Insight:

The biggest highlight for them has been capturing the interest of the people and brands Depop have on board for example Katie Eary, Goodhood and beach. They are selling really unique items and bringing something special to the Depop community.

editd

EDITD: http://editd.com/

Who?

EDITD runs the world’s biggest apparel data warehouse, which global and local retailers use to track the market, align product assortment and trade with competitive intelligence. It’s software is the market leader in real-time analytics of pricing, assortment, and deep product metrics for apparel professionals in merchandising, buying, trading and strategy. Used by the world’s best fashion retailers, like Gap, ASOS and Target, across five continents, EDITD helps buyers and merchandisers to make the right trading decisions.

What?

Brands and retailers using their software are able to gain a global view of what’s selling and at which price points across the market, and at any of their competitors. Buyers and merchandisers use that information to address gaps in their own assortment, while designers use it to detect trends in their early stages and develop product accordingly. Basing decisions on tangible facts in this way means that these brands and retailers can confidently buy into the trends their consumers want and reduce poorly bought stock, which ends up discounted or in disposal.

How?

EDITD build software that is designed for buyers and merchandisers to help them make the right trading solutions.

Insight:

When they first set out, their aim was to bring together the most critical data-points affecting the fashion industry in one place. They’ve since built the world’s biggest apparel data warehouse! Their customers, global retailers and brands, are amongst the most demanding, and to have their buyers and merchandisers logging on and using EDITD for their trading and product decisions every day gives them a real buzz.

LookLab

LookLab: http://www.looklab.com/

Who?

LookLab is your personalised online stylist.

What?

LookLab allows anyone to ask their personal style question to LookLab’s growing community of fashion stylists for one-on-one style advice. Their users can expect outfits fully tailored to their personal needs.

How?

LookLab suggestions are not based on computer algorithms but on the tastes of their stylist community, who are at the forefront of fashion trends.

Insight:

LookLab have grown their stylist community rapidly to almost 100. They have stylists based in all major fashion capitals around the globe, and this adds to the sense of community and the quality of suggestions.

lyst

Lyst: http://www.lyst.com/

Who?

Lyst is a social shopping platform.

What?

Lyst exists to make shopping for fashion easier – and therefore even better – as they create unique online shopping experiences tailored to each of their 3 million fashion consumers who use the platform every month.

How?

Lyst do this by offering the world’s most comprehensive fashion inventory, partnering with the world’s greatest designers and stores. Their members enjoy a personalised shoppable ‘Stylefeed’ of the fashion they love as well as benefitting from those famous Lyst Sale and Back in Stock Alerts on all items they add to their ‘Lyst’. The company has grown over 1000% in the past 12 months and now generates tens of millions of dollars in sales. They are backed by leading investors including Accel Partners (Facebook, Spotify), DFJ (Skype, Hotmail) and the teams behind Oscar de la Renta and Tory Burch.

Their principal advantage is the pureness and depth of their data science and capabilities. For every warehouse of clothes that Lyst’s partners have, they have servers full of rich, real-time data which they have been creating for 3 years; and while their partners look for operations and logistics personnel, Lyst attracts data science PhDs formerly at Google and Accenture.

Insight:

This year has been amazing for Lyst. A major highlight for them was the launch of fashion’s first-ever universal cart allowing Lyst customers to shop for millions of products from thousands of designers and check-out seamlessly in one step all on their platform – making it a shopping experience that cannot be found anywhere else online or offline. They released it first in the USA – their largest market – with European roll out early 2014.

Back in the London, they announced this month that the new London HQ will move to 48 Hoxton Square, “Lyst Studios”- an iconic East London building that was formerly the White Cube Gallery. Their team will occupy the top 2 floors; they will release the 1st floor for local startups and, excitingly, the iconic 2200 sq ft ground floor ‘Studio’ will be used to celebrate and support London fashion, technology, design and innovation. This followed the announcement that they had been named as one of the “Future Fifty” – a British government backed TechCity initiative aimed at recognising and supporting the fifty fastest growing companies in the UK.

Their sales continue to grow exponentially. Cyber Monday was a huge day for them –  compared to last year, they did 439% more value in sales with 237% traffic!

nuji

Nuji: http://www.nuji.com/

Who?

Nuji is creating a new shopping platform based on users being inspired by each other.

What?

Nuji has millions of products and thousands of brands giving them the opportunity to build a new breed of online retail with social and personalisation built at its core.

The idea is to create an inspired shopping experience by following people with similar taste to discover items that they’re saving to their shopping wish list. This makes the Nuji experience more personalised, addictive and fun.

How?

Curation and a high quality community are the strongest points of the Nuji product. They have put a lot effort into this as they felt it would be one of their key differentiators and something that will become increasingly important as everything scales. Nuji’s community have done the hard job of shopping for other people.

Another strong feature is the scale of products and brands on the site. They have millions of products and thousands of brands but even the smallest brands that are well designed can quickly become viral and rise to the top. Their motto is if the product is good, it will rise and sell naturally.

Insight:

The most rewarding part of building this company for Nuji has been watching small stores and brands thrive. They have large International retailers and brands as well as smaller ones and more often than not, it’s the small guys that go viral and thrive on our platform. They get a great amount of pleasure watching new businesses grow rapidly on their platform.

Poq Studio

Poq Studio: http://poqstudio.com/

Who?

Poq Studio is a mobile commerce platform for fashion retailers.

What?

Poq Studio make it easy for brands to get their own mobile app and mobile site, so they can engage with their customers and sell more products

How?

Poq Studio have a unique advantage because they only work with fashion and apparel retailers, so they understand the specific needs of the sector. This focus means that they have collected lots of interesting data from the fashion retailers they work with. This enables them to bring in new fashion-specific features that benefit their clients, as well provide the best shopping experience to the customers using the apps.

Also, because of their platform model, they can offer retailers a fast set-up and sensible pricing. The Poq online admin system gives their clients creative control, so their app is fully branded. They can also easily add new engaging content to keep customers coming back.

Insight:

Poq Studio biggest achievement has been scaling their platform and customer base without losing focus. They have grown very quickly, but still maintain a high level of customer support. They now work with some of the biggest and most innovative retailers in the UK. They are particularly excited about working with Boxpark – their app will launch in early 2014 and includes in-store features like product scanning and location aware push messages.

rufflr

rufflr: http://www.rufflr.com/

Who?

rufflr is a social shopping site with an eclectic set of brands and products to discover.

What?

Consumers are all constantly bombarded with thousands of products and brands but sometimes less is more. rufflr allows users to separate the wheat from the chaff, helping them to find amazing products through amazing people.

How?

rufflr allows users to find and make record of specific products they are interested in.

Insight:

rufflr have had lots of mini achievements like their first £1,500 day and a whopping growth spurt. However, their biggest achievement will be revealed in early 2014.

Shopcade

Shopcade: http://www.shopcade.com/

Who?

Shopcade is your daily source of fashion trends and deals.

What?

You can find all of today’s top trends and deals in one place, curated by the celebs people admire, the bloggers that inspire, the magazines people read, and a great fashionable community. You can shop these trends and deals, or save them for later, and get alerted whenever they go on sale.

How?

Shopcade’s proposition is pretty unique, they use socially powered trends, a massive catalogue of over 100 million products, updated daily and constantly completed by their users, and including all available deals as well as some exclusive offers for their users.

Insight:

Nothing makes Shopcade more happy than seeing new celebrities and magazines using Shopcade – Kate Nash created her Halloween list on Shopcade and Cosmopolitan Magazine are using their publisher tool to feature trending products next to their articles.

silkfred

SilkFred: http://www.silkfred.com/

Who?

SilkFred is the new online destination for those who love to shop unique pieces. It’s a highly curated platform of fashion’s future, offering a stylish mix of clothing, bags, accessories and jewellery, celebrating individuality and uniqueness.

What?

SilkFred work with independent and emerging fashion designers to help them to establish online and offline routes to market through SilkFred’s platform.

How?

SilkFred work with over 130 fashion brands that are constantly pushing boundaries. They provide fashion brands with a one stop shop solution to launch and grow their business online and offline. With both e-commerce stores for fashion brands, and a marketplace, currently used by 100+ designers, SilkFred continues to generate product sales for their designers, with a shopper base of nearly 10,000. They also run pop up shops and have placed over 50 brands on shopfloors in Paris, Munich, Hong Kong, Ibiza, Spain and London.

Insight:

SilkFred raised investment through crowd-funding site, CrowdCube and have now got a great collective of investors who support their business and can offer expertise. Post funding they’ve had some amazing opportunities including appearing on ITV’s Daybreak and going to Downing Street to meet the Chancellor, George Osborne.

SnapFashion

Snap Fashion: http://www.snapfashion.co.uk/

Who?

Snap Fashion is a multi-award winning visual search engine for fashion that lets you find things that you love from a photo.

What?

They have 3 products: Snap Fashion on the web lets you Snap any image off any website to find similar items based on cut and colour; think the hottest celeb looks in online magazines. Snap Fashion on your mobile lets you find similar items on the move, and Snap ColourPop is their new app which lets you get inspiration from literally everything. Take a photo of a colour you love and they will find you everything in that shade.

How?

Snap Fashion are always proud that they were the first to offer fashion visual search across web and mobile. When it launched, Snap was truly pioneering and it won them lots of awards, from Decoded Fashion to the Cisco British Innovation Awards.

They also offer an insane amount of choice – with a vast network of over 170 major retailers and e-tailers, such as Topshop, Reiss and Net-A-Porter, their users have access to hundreds of thousands of items from thousands of designers to suit their style and budget.

Snap Fashion are all about design and user experience.  They want to offer their users a beautiful product which is super useful.  Now they can also save their favourite Snaps, get price alerts when clothes are on offer, take inspiration from their fashion blog and most importantly, go straight to a retailer’s website to buy new items of clothing.

Insight:

Launching Snap Fashion is the most exciting thing that the CEO Jenny Griffiths has ever done. She finds it incredibly cool that something that she was working on at university has turned into a fashion service being used by hundreds of thousands of people.  That’s definitely her biggest achievement – hearing people talk about Snap and being featured in top notch fashion publications like Vogue, Grazia and Cosmo, where they’re all saying nice things about Snap.

styloko

Styloko: http://www.styloko.com/

Who?

Styloko is a social shopping site.

What?

Styloko aims to connect women to the stylish products they love in a quick, curated and personal manner.

How?

Styloko lets you follow your favourite brands, add items you love to your personally curated boutique, and discover the latest in style with daily updates from their editors.

Insight:

Styloko’s biggest highlights are the organic discovery which developed amongst style influencers from well-known bloggers to stylists to TV personalities! As well as no longer being a well-kept secret as many (global) style influencers are finding their service integral for documenting, shopping and sharing their fashion finds and lust lists.

thread

Thread: https://www.thread.com/

Who?

Thread is a website that supply’s people with their own personal shopper to help them find clothes they love.

What?

Thread make it easy for customers to shop by providing advice on what will suit them from an expert.

How?

Thread use a mixture of human stylists and intelligent algorithms to help their stylists provide a personal experience to many clients.

Insight:

Thread have had many highlights since their launch including: working with famous stylists such as Elizabeth Saltzman (who has styled George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt), growing to just under 10,000 clients, and being featured in GQ and Vogue.

-

As you can see the London Fashion Technology companies are creating and achieving amazing things, from building the world’s biggest apparel data warehouse, creating the first visual search engine, featuring in top fashion publications to growing over 1000% in the past year (that is not a typo it should be one thousand!). A lot of these companies are quite young but have some amazing achievements under their belts. With companies of this nature already occupying the London Fashion Technology scene it is exciting to think what the scene will look like (and have to boast about) at the end of 2014!

As a Fashion Technology business ourselves we could not be happier to be based in London. We also feel it is the best place to grow our team of Fashion Technologists whilst focusing on how we aid the industry, bettering the way it works and the way it creates experiences for the end consumer. It is an exciting area to be and one which we can only see growing from strength to strength.

We thank the companies profiled in this article, Amrita Kriplani for her curated Fashion Technology London list, and Amy Marsh for composing the article.

Announcements

Stay in the loop, signup to be informed of chloédigital announcments.