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Anna Abrell

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Is Fashion Ready For Bitcoin?

Posted by Anna Abrell on Dec 11, 2014 5:00:45 AM

Image source: bitcoinvista.com

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Topics: Bitcoin: The Future of Money, Rakuten, Bitnet, BitFash, Gyft, Showroomprive, bitcoin, Weekly Stories, Overstock, GoCoin, BitPremier, Reeds Jewelers, Coinbase, Dominic Frisby, Bitpay, Cryptocurrency, Queueco, shopify

The Decoded Fashion Crossword

Posted by Anna Abrell on Oct 21, 2014 8:54:25 AM

The answers to the crossword are as follows:


1 Some might say, digital experiences are best when they offer this feature: Personalisation
2 Owns brands such as Diesel, Maison Martin Margiela and Marni: OTB
3 A form of short-range wireless communication that can be used for contactless payment systems: NFC
4 Hashtag for the Decoded Fashion Milan Summit: DFMilan
7 English woman who was appointed the CEO of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana: Reeve
9 Launched a collection in collaboration with the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative: Stella Jean
13 This is very important, especially in fashion marketing: Branding
14 Founded by Francois Pinault, this group owns many powerful fashion brands: Kering

5 US lifestyle brand founded by two siblings: Rebecca Minkoff
6 A very widely used search engine: Google
8 Italian brand known for its luxury shoes and leather goods: Tod's
10 A device designed to attract attention to a specific location and to track the movement of people: Beacon
11 A little bird represents this company: Twitter
12 One of the largest banking groups in Italy: Intesa Sanpaolo
15 A fast-paced startup competition taking place today: Fashion Pitch
16 Agency that specialises in the strategic design of cross-channel B2C communications: Fabrique
17 Executive Director of Valextra: Scarpella
18 Senior Vice President Digital and eBusiness of KERING: Barbieri
19 Startup that enables brands to engage in real-time video sharing: Grabyo

If you would like to give the crossword another try, you can download it here.

We would love to know what you thought of DFMilan, please complete our delegate evaluation form here.

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Topics: Weekly Stories

The #DFMilan Fashion Pitch: Finalists Announced

Posted by Anna Abrell on Oct 16, 2014 7:30:30 AM

On October 22, at this year’s Decoded Fashion Milan, the Fashion Pitch returns. Eight of the most promising B2B startups in the omnichannel space will be competing for the Fashion Pitch prizes:

e-PITTI.com will select one or more startups that will have the chance to present their project during the next Pitti Uomo fair in Florence. OTB will give the winners the opportunity to meet and engage with Stefano and Renzo Rosso as well as some of their managing team in a day visit to their headquarters. An finally, the winner of the Fashion Pitch will be awarded access into the StartUp Initiative, a platform by Intesa Sanpaolo made to accelerate the international growth of hi-tech start-ups; in addition, another two finalists will be able to participate in the StartUp Initiative Boot Camp.

We have seen some incredibly diverse and innovative applications from promising startups all over the world, including Italy, France, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Israel, Iceland, Ukraine, Canada, Singapore, Turkey, USA, Scotland and the United Kingdom. The resulting eight finalists will pitch to a panel of industry experts including Stefano Rosso, CEO of OTB Group; Myf Ryan, Director UK & Europe of Westfield; and Davide Turco, Head of Atlante Ventures at Intesa Sanpaolo.

The Decoded Fashion Milan 2014 Fashion Pitch finalists are:

IWISHU: Say it with a video - a new approach to gifting using video messages (Switzerland)

MadeUp: A new mobile communication channel that links brands and customers using NFC technology (Italy)

Modist: A new visual tool that helps retailers create shoppable content (Canada)

Rentez Vous: Peer-to-Peer and Designers fashion rental marketplace (UK)

Sartorias: A platform that integrates with your ecommerce to offer a personal shopper experience (Italy)

SuitMe: An interactive video showroom that allows consumers to see and ‘feel’ the product (Iceland)

Fashnfindr: A visual product search solution for retailers (Sweden)

Wallet Circle: An in-store customer engagement platform using iBeacons (UK)

To check out the rest of the Decoded Fashion Milan agenda, including keynote speeches, panel discussions and the roundtable, check out the schedule here.

Good luck to all of of our finalists! See you in Milan!

Reported by Anna Abrell

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Topics: Stefano Rosso, Decoded Fashion Milan Summit, startups, Davide Turco, OTB Group, Renzo Rosso, Startup Competition, Myf Ryan, Weekly Stories, DFMilan

Future Fashion: 24 Hours In A Shopping Centre

Posted by Anna Abrell on Sep 25, 2014 7:49:56 AM

Last weekend saw the world’s first hackathon in a shopping centre: From September 20th to 21st, London’s Westfield Shopping Centre (and it’s shoppers) bore witness to a 24 hour hackathon. A group of sixty elite hackers from varied backgrounds teamed up and worked through the night to find solutions to the fashion, beauty and retail industries' problems.

Participants included developers from the likes of fashion retailer ASOS and augmented reality agency Holition; marketing minds such as senior lecturers from the London College of Fashion; and designers with backgrounds in fields such as UX design for large retailers. The competition was filled with winner from past hackathons, such as the Salesforce Hackathon, the LinkedIn and EE Hackathon, BBC News Hack and Google Chrome Drone Hackathon, along with members of Women Who Code. It was sure to be competitive!

On both Saturday and Sunday, industry experts from Google, Twitter, AllSaints, Front Row I/O were on hand to mentor teams and help them tweak their concepts. The event was accompanied by an exhibition of new technologies around the fashion, beauty and retail space. Westfield shop goers were able to test out the L’Oréal Makeup Genius, try on Google Glass, find the perfect coat using the Fashion 3D augmented reality mirror, and use vrAse to turn their smartphone into a virtual reality headset. Also available to try: the touch-responsive Displair air display; the award-winning 3D controller Leap Motion which requires only your hands, the world’s first bracelet that can charge a phone upon a mere touch, by QDesigns; and a Sound Chamber by NudeAudio. Children were also provided coding classes by FireTech Camp, London’s only tech focussed day campus for kids aged 9 - 17, and CuteCircuit held a fashion show to showcase their innovative designs.

On Sunday, the teams pitched their ideas to our panel of judges: Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council; Myf Ryan, Marketing Director UK & Europe, Westfield; Lisa Bridgett, Director of Global Sales & Marketing at the Net-A-Porter Group; Lee Epting, Vice President at the Samsung Media Solution Centre Europe; Pia Stanchina, Senior Industry Manager at Google; and Millie Mackintosh. They judged the concepts according to four criteria: Is it innovative? Would it excite consumers? Is it cool/beautiful? and Does it solve a real problem?

And the winner? SkipQ, a system that works as an automatic check-out for fast fashion retailers: using unique removable security tags and detachers that only allow the removal of security tags of items that have been paid for, it allows users to pay for an item of clothing on their phone in-store, and leave the store. The SkipQ team will fly to San Francisco for three nights, to receive mentoring from industry leaders of Silicon Valley, including Westfield Labs’ Global Chief Digital Officer Kevin McKenzie. Congratulations!

The audience pick was ShopAID(E), which was designed to enrich the personal shopping experience through allowing users to shop with friends and influencers around the world by way of donating to charity. Check out all the highlights here.

Reported by Anna Abrell

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Topics: google glass, Holition, hackathon, vrAse, westfield, L'oreal, FireTech Camp, Displair, ASOS, NudeAudio, Weekly Stories, London College of Fashion, QDesigns, leap motion

Working Out The Tech

Posted by Anna Abrell on Aug 8, 2014 10:10:44 AM

Technology is intrinsic to the sportswear sector - the use of innovative, lab-produced materials has been standard industry practice for many decades now. But things have moved on from workout leggings being more stretchy and sweat-resistant than ever before, sports fanatics are looking for more than this.

Sportswear brands need to use clever marketing to spark everyone’s attention. In the past it’s been through sponsoring events, launching guerrilla campaigns, entering into collaborations with designers or celebrities. Recently, they’ve also started incorporating technology into the design of their marketing strategies. Here are a few examples of how big sportswear brands have managed to use tech to stimulate media attention, add value to their product offering, and drive ‘brand love’ over the last month.

Reebok added a customisation program to its Union Square FitHub location. It’s called Local 1nk and it lets shoppers customise their merchandise purchases free of charge, using an innovative portable silkscreen printing device. Amidst its current crossfit craze, this is a cool way for Reebok to use technology (rather than bacon) to set itself apart from its’ competitors - whilst appealing to the masses.

Nike upped their ante with technology by introducing a vending machine that can only be operated with the Nike FuelBand. The so-called Nike+ FuelBox holds items such as socks and hats, and dispenses these when users plug in their FuelBand USB - if they’ve amassed enough points. It’s effectively allowing FuelBand users to turn their exercise units into a currency - a great incentive to use the FuelBand (or deterrent from buying one of the new fitness trackers out there) and a fun motivation to work out. Read more about the FuelBox here.

Then there’s Lacoste, who started dabbling in Augmented Reality for their spin-off brand LCST. In collaboration with Engine Creative, they created an AR app for in-store use that allows customers preview what a trainer would look like, without trying it on. It also lets users take a picture of the preview and share it on social media. Check it out here.

It was also interesting to see that Adidas lifted the restrictions they had placed on ecommerce distribution (read more about this here). The German sportswear brand has now joined competitors like Nike in being available for purchase over marketplace sites such as Amazon and eBay. They will enter into further direct competition with Nike when they launch their first wearable tech fitness accessory later this month. These steps may not be that innovative, but you gotta to start somewhere. We’re excited to see what the other big sportswear brands come up with in the future.

Reported by Anna Abrell

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Topics: Nike Fuelband, marketing, Reebok, apps, LCST, adidas, augmented reality, Lacoste, Nike, retail, Nike+ Fuelbox, Weekly Stories, ecommerce, Sportswear

Lingerie Startups

Posted by Anna Abrell on Jul 31, 2014 6:07:48 AM

It’s easy to get your panties in a bunch when shopping for underwear - not only is it time-consuming, and hard to locate the right size but it often requires extended stays in changing rooms with over-enthusiastic salespeople. Today we are hosting our third Underthings Meetup in New York, showcasing a range of startups that are disrupting this space. Some have tried to solve the age-old problem of finding the right bra size, while others use innovative materials. Ahead of tonight’s event, we give you the lowdown on what’s out there:

Sizing solutions
At True & Co, customers get’ fitted’ by taking a short quiz consisting of 16 questions. The answers are used to recommend the right size, based on an algorithm that was created using data from 500’000 women. The data allowed True & Co to identify 6’000 body shapes, and through answering the questionnaire, it helps determine where on the spectrum a customer lies. A home try-on box can then be ordered, where the customer can select five bras to try on - returns are free. Future product recommendations will then be personalised based on what customers decide to keep (or return).

Third Love, which launched in November 2013, also offers a sizing solution that doesn’t involve measuring tape. They have created an app that lets customers measure their cup size at home by taking two pictures of themselves. They also manufacture their own bras, which come in half-cup sizes - an estimated 80% of women wear the wrong bra size, partially because they are between cup sizes. The Third Love app calculates measurements using image recognition and an algorithm (read more about it here). The co-founder, Heidi Zak, will be speaking at Underthings III tonight.

Joyfit: This startup offers an app that lets women take a video of their chest to build their personal profile. Based on thid profile, a bespoke bra is manufactured using 3D-printed silicone (read more about it here).

Innovative materials
Australian brand Silent Assembly uses so-called 3D Curvesscence technology instead of the traditional bra underwire. This is supposed to guarantee a perfect fit and stay true to its shape after many washes. The brand’s US Ambassador, Willy Mrasek, will also be speaking at Underthings III.

Mark Weldon creates ‘smart underwear’ for men - it’s made out of material that keeps its wearer cool and prevents odor. To streamline order fulfillment, the brand uses robots in their warehouse, and if customers don’t like the fit, they can opt for an exchange or a refund. Founder Brian Berger will also be presenting in New York tonight.

Subscription Services
Adore Me: Fast-fashion lingerie: customers can either become members and pay a monthly fee (but they can opt out of months), or they can shop on a pay-as-you-go basis. The focus here is on the price point and sexy design. This concept is pretty much the opposite of the startup Negative, founded this February, which offers only ‘simple’ underwear that is comfortable and made using fine materials; no polyester, no ‘frills’ and no push-ups.

MeUndies: Here, customers can subscribe to receive new underwear regularly - once a month, once every two months or once every three months.

Underwearsociety: A men-only underwear subscription service. Based on a questionnaire that needs to be filled out upon subscription, customers receive a box of underwear on a monthly basis.

So it’s fairly clear - both men and women alike are spoilt for choice when it comes to underwear startups.

Other speakers include Lauren Sherman, Editor-at-Large of Fashionista.com; Lawrence Lenihan, the Founder and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital; Antonia Dunbar, Co-Founder of Thinx; and Jennifer Zuccarini, the founder of Fleur du Mal.

Reported by Anna Abrell

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Topics: Silent Assembly, Thinx, Fashionista.com, startups, Underthings, Joyfit, fleur du mal, Third Love, Negative Underwear, Adore Me, Mark Weldon, firstmark capital, true & co, Weekly Stories, Underwear, Underwearsociety, Sizing solutions, lingerie, meundies

Buy Buttons and Rich Pins: Monetising Social

Posted by Anna Abrell on Jul 24, 2014 10:22:00 AM

Considering how much time we all spend on social media, it’s quite surprising that it’s our least favourite online channel to shop on. This might be to do with the fact that these channels are not fully optimised for in-site shopping -at least not yet. However, recently there’s been a flurry of news stories cropping up about imminent monetisation efforts of large social media channels - could this be the beginning of a social shopping era?

Google Plus found a remedy to this issue by offering shoppable Google Hangouts. This allowed Topman to make their January AW14 catwalk show shoppable (263 people watched), and ASOS to host a shoppable Nike Airmax hangout back in March (376 people watched). Yet the participation numbers are still relatively low, especially considering how large the customer base is for both Topman and ASOS.

Unlike Google Plus, Facebook do not offer a way of directly selling items via their platform - but we can expect this to change soon. Last week they announced that they will start offering merchants the option of adding a ‘buy’ button to their promotional newsfeed and page posts, meaning users can stay on the platform to make their purchases. Though the social media giant is currently not taking commissions on this, it could be expected that they may, particularly if the button becomes available for non-promotional posting.

Twitter seems to have gone to the greatest lengths in this space. They tested out ‘buy now’ buttons with the retailer Fancy (info about this here), and they launched an analytics services to help brands and retailers track the success of their promotional campaigns. Beyond this, they acquired the tablet and mobile retargeting startup TapCommerce, and are also to acquire the online payments startup CardSpring. Looks like they mean business!

Pinterest is still lagging somewhat, with their first step into shoppable social coming in the guise of a partnership with Shopify. All Shopify merchants can now pin ‘Rich Pins’ on to Pinterest, which syncs images and info on items to availability in the vendors’ store. It consequently makes shopping via Pinterest easier, and does other nifty things such as emails the person who ‘pinned’ a Rich Pin, if that item has been reduced in price.

Are social media channels finally cooking up a viable remedy to their monetisation issues, or are these acquisitions and partnerships merely a recipe for disaster? Only time will tell, once these technologies have been fully onboarded - but it sure looks like the process is on its way to being streamlined.

Reported by Anna Abrell

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Topics: TapCommerce, Cardspring, pinterest, Acquisitions, startups, facebook, google, twitter, social media, Weekly Stories, google hangout, social commerce, shopify

Crowdfunding Is On The Up

Posted by Anna Abrell on Jul 21, 2014 7:30:51 AM

The most popular crowdfunding websites are those that cater to multiple industries, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, whose ‘Go Crowdfund Britain’ tour ended just last week. Online retail giant Alibaba also recently launched their own crowdfunding site for movies and amassed 240’000 users in the first two days alone. With their rival JD recently jumping into the space with a crowdfunding site named Coufenzi. We’ve also seen various startups emerge in the fashion space, each of which work in slightly different ways and cater to different audiences. So, what are the advantages for these smaller scale versions? We take a look at the market:

One of the first fashion crowdsourcing websites to enter the scene was Beta Brand, which predominantly features casual wear and was founded in San Francisco in 2009. It allows customers to vote for designs, when a design receives enough votes a prototype of it is manufactured. If the prototype in turn receives enough crowdfunding, it will be turned into a product that is available for purchase on-site.

The Parisian startup I Am La Mode and the New York-based Before The Label, both founded in 2012, work in a similar way. On Before The Label, customers can pre-order designs and these are then manufactured once the target amount of pre-orders have been placed. On I Am La Mode, people can back a project in exchange for a so-called pledge, which is a gift that can be related to the project, but does not have to be. While both appear to cater to women only, I Am La Mode has a high-fashion feel and Before The Label works closely with charitable organisations.

Last year saw the launch of London-based Wowcracy, BuoyUp, and Luevo. The first has partnered up with Vogue Talents to scout for new designer talent, whilst the second caps the availability of each product so as to maintain exclusivity. Like BuoyUp, Luevo also aims to help aspiring designers take off, rather than just letting anyone post individual projects.

Then there’s the recently launched French Meet My Designer, which lets people invest in projects curated by the site. If an investment target is reached, all investors receive a 20% discount on the finished collection or design, and they will also be rewarded royalties in proportion to their investment for the first three months. This self-proclaimed ‘Kickstarter for Fashion’ already features 200 designers from over 40 countries (more information about them here).

Startups and aspiring fashion designers are spoilt for choice - so the question here is, do they think they will be more successful by targeting anyone and everyone, or do they wish to reach a more selectively curated audience?

Reported by Anna Abrell

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Topics: Coufenzi, alibaba, Before the Label, Beta Grand, I Am La Mode, Indiegogo, Wowcracy, fashion, JD, Go Crowdfund Britain, Meet My Designer, Weekly Stories, Luevo, crowdfunding, BuoyUp, kickstarter

The Four Bases of Online Shopping

Posted by Anna Abrell on Jul 16, 2014 4:46:10 PM

No one shops completely offline anymore. Even if you don’t buy online, the choices you make are affected by information that is available via online channels. A recent report from Custora took a look at how we prefer to go about online shopping. We pulled out some of their most interesting omnichannel findings:

We’re not social: People aren’t interested in ‘shopping with friends’ (at least not virtually!): social media drives the fewest conversions - by far. This is true for sales generated on desktops, tablets and mobile phones alike. We don’t visit Facebook to shop, just like we wouldn’t want a generic department store café to be the venue for our birthday party.

We won’t cross-device with everyone: Many of the survey interviewees admitted that they don’t like making first purchases via tablets or mobile - apparently, the majority of us are only comfortable shopping via these two channels if we are purchasing via brands or retailers that we have used before (and feel we can trust). It seems that desktops act as a ‘first base’ for subsequent shopping via other channels.

We take ‘risks’ on a whim: Mobiles generate much lower conversion rates than desktops or tablets do - even though mobile browsing has experienced a substantial increase over the past two years. The average order value of orders placed via mobile phones is also much lower than that of tablets and desktops. People are still getting acquainted with the idea of purchasing through small screens; we browse eagerly while on the move, but making purchases via our phones often feels risky or unintuitive.
It therefore seems somewhat illogical that email marketing is the second-largest driver of mobile conversions. In fact, people purchase via email click-through on their mobile more than they do on their tablets or desktops - impulse shopping at it’s best, despite our reluctance to shop via mobile!

Perhaps there’s a sequence to it:

1. We enter into a relationship with a retailer or brand by stepping on the first base, the desktop.

2. If we like what we get, we may sign up to their online communications and visit their site directly to shop. We may even decide to go further and make a purchase from our tablet.

3. When we are in a trusting relationship with the brand or retailer, we may just go to third base and buy one of their products on impulse, on-the-go on our mobiles, or when enticed by their email marketing.

3. If all goes well, we’ll continue to use different channels and hence become cross-device customers. According to the Custora report, the average customer lifetime value of cross-device shoppers is much higher than that of individuals who shop via just one channel. Homerun for the retailer!

So it seems that the winners are those who cultivate the relationship with their shoppers to such an extent that they turn them into cross-channel shoppers. The only obstacle is finding out who these shoppers are and collecting data about them - join us in Milan for more on ominchannel retail.

Reported by Anna Abrell

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Topics: mobile, omnichannel, Cross-device shopping, Custora, Weekly Stories, mcommerce, Email Marketing, ecommerce, Online Shopping, Retailing

Beacon Solutions: Helping Retailers Stay Afloat

Posted by Anna Abrell on Jul 9, 2014 7:32:34 AM

Just last month, it was announced that 100 stores on Regent Street in London have already implemented beacon technology. If used in the right way, beacon technology can serve to create a brick-and-mortar shopping experience optimised for today’s omnichannel consumers. It makes indoor navigation, automatic store check-ins, contactless payments and location-based marketing possible. It also allows for more accurate collection of visitor information.

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Topics: Bealder, marketing, Beacons, startups, Software Solutions, Estimote, HappyBeacon, omnichannel, retail, Weekly Stories, ibeacons, mobile apps, swirl, Tagpoints, UpNext

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