Image source: Fairplay
As most schoolchildren are told from a young age, A stands for Apple; April, on the other hand, surely stands for the Apple Watch. The industry’s most hotly-anticipated wearable has been preceded by months of speculation – could it sell as well as the iPad on its launch? Will it provide a natural fit for fashion editorials? Now, on the eve of its launch, keen industry-watchers are looking to Baselworld (the watch industry’s international trade fair) for possible rivals. There, a crop of new announcements are proving themselves worthy contenders to the smart watch throne – one which, as we should remind ourselves, Apple hasn’t ascended to quite yet.
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)
Good luck to all of of our finalists! See you in Milan!
Reported by Anna Abrell
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:
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).
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.
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
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
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
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.
Screaming girls and Sherlock Holmes, what a way to open our Apple Store Meetup. If you arrived on time, you would’ve been met with an outpour of Benedict Cumberbatch fans, as we did a swift turn around to get ready for our event.
With a full house, it was time for us to reveal our 2014 Calendar and a special opportunity for founder Liz Bacelar to tell the story behind Decoded Fashion. We unveiled our plans for SXSW and the launch of the Fashion Hackathon and Summit for London this May. Not only that, but this year we have expanded our Meetup to create a global community to uncover the best tech in fashion. January saw us head to Toronto, whilst in March we will be in Dublin, Berlin and Singapore.
Up next fit solutions go to war Fits.me and Metail- let battle commence!! With the CEO’s of both discussing different approaches to the problem of fit and how they are bringing return rates down. There is no doubt the tech is great but do customers use it? With the key issues across fit solutions being 3D representation, digitising clothes cheaply and size/shape of people against size/shape of clothing. It’s also about understanding consumer mindset and behaviour, do they need to learn to use a fit tool? And the bigger question to be asked to the retailers, do they prefer conversion sells vs reduced return? With both solutions collecting a huge database of “body shapes”, it’s clear that there is further potential in this data, yet to be put into practise. With Metail CEO Tom Adeyoola closing with "the past 5 years have been about putting infinite things on the internet, the next 5 will be about making choices”.
Diffusing the debate, CEO, Runar Reistrup introduces Depop, a mobile shopping app, that could be described as a little like Instagram with a buy button. Yes, it is another social shopping app but what stands out is it’s network of influential sellers and it’s clever use of high profile social figures to help onboard users. It’s a great way for emerging designers to sell directly to the consumer, with Designer Katie Eary using Depop to sell her designs straight from the runway.
And finally, what a breath of fresh air when ShuffleHub’s two young founders took to the stage. With a dramatic intro and a book on the floor here is Shufflehub “taking away the work and bringing the feel good” to shopping. Taking us through the UX golden rules and introducing us to a humorous testing regime on hungover friends. "We get out friends drunk, and make them sleep over" just to prove it's easy to use. Aiming for the purest and simplest browsing on the internet, one big button, easy shopping for when you don’t know what you want and also for when you do. We have a good feeling about these boys!
The podcast is now available for download on itunes.
Miss the pitches by our five finalists teams or just want to relive the magic? Check out the video of pitches by 42, Avant-Garde, Coveted, Fashion Dashboard, and SWATCHit!