startups

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  1. Why This Year Will Be Huge For Wearable Tech
    Shipments of smart wearable bands – currently a relatively small sector in the technology industry – are set to grow by mammoth proportions this year, according to independent analyst Canalys.
  2. Nokia designs ‘smart skirt’ for London Fashion Week
    Technology is in for fall, right? Nokia’s new skirt is made from 35 Nokia Lumina 1520 smartphones and changes with the model’s movements. It debuts at London Fashion Week, which kicked off Friday.
  3. The 10 Best Startup Websites
    When it comes to startups, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of new ones every year here are some that caught our eye.
  4. Marigay McKee Is the New Master of Saks Fifth Avenue
    When Marigay McKee needed to recharge between top gigs at Harrods and Saks Fifth Avenue, where she recently took over as president, she did something unusual: She climbed more than 17,000 feet, to Mount Everest’s base camp.

Apple Store Meetup

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.

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Dubai-based Knot Standard tailors with 21st-century twist
Dubai startup Knot Standard enables users to get perfect suits from the comfort of their own room, all users need is a webcam, a CD or DVD, and an internet connection. Gulf News has the details.

Lots of Buttons, an online button shop (!) from Hong Kong, wins Tech In Asia’s startup contest
Hong Kong’s Lots of Buttons is a US-targeted startup holding 15,000 different buttons for designers to choose from and buy online. Read more on The Next Web.

Is Scented Nail Polish What’s Been Missing From Our Lives?
Forget about the sweet-smelling childlike scented nail polishes, Refinery29 tests out Calvin Klein’s CK One scented nail polish and the results are impressive.

 

 

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‘Shazam For Clothing’? Street Style Will Never Be The Same
The song-recognition app, will with the launch of a new feature be able to identify clothing on a TV screen. HuffPost Style discusses the implications of a streetstyle-recognition app.

Ashton Kutcher’s e-commerce startup debuts Spring line, reveals top-tier investors (exclusive)
VentureBeat reveals the top-tier investors that are changing the button-downs to casual Ts by backing Ashton Kutcher’s e-commerce startup Pickwick & Weller.

DailyLook Gets $2.5M From GRP Partners, Rachel Zoe, And Others To Be The Web’s Go-To For Fast Fashion
Startup DailyLook raises funding to be the online go-to for fast fashion, applying a regular e-retailer model. TechCrunch has more.

Nine West Charity Initiative Goes Live on YouTube
Nine West invites customers to post videos doing good while looking good onto their YouTube network Channel 9 and tweet them using #GangsForGood. Weekly prizes are awarded to participating customer. Get the details on Fashionotes.

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“Search It. Stalk It. Steal It” is ShopAddikt.com’s Motto to Help You Never Miss a Sale
ShopAddikt.com is the ecommerce startup allows you to “stalk” certain items to not miss the time when they go on sale. FashInvest has more.

Next-Gen Retail? Hointer, Bonobos, And Dollar Shave Club
Forbes investigates how companies Hointer, Bonobos, and Dollar Shave Club are using technology to disrupt and improve the traditional retail model.

Global Online Fashion Retailer ASOS Chooses SiteSpect to Optimize Its Website
ASOS aims to improve customer experience by employing SiteSpect to improve targeting and website optimization. Read more on BusinessWire.

The Inevitable Soap Opera About Fashion Blogging Is Here
Hearst and Condé Nast have both given online programming a go, now Lookbook.nu is joining them with a soap opera about personal style blogging. Fashionista has the details.

 

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Start-Up Luvocracy Solves The Pinterest Purchase Problem
The High Low reports that startup Luvocracy solves the problem with out of stock merchandise on Pinterest and incentivizes users with credits that are redeemable.

How Are Burberry Bags Like Caesar’s Palace? Both Use Small Data In A Big Way.
The 156-year-old luxury fashion brand uses small data to win big with its customers, from digital personalization to web-first fashion shows. Forbes has more.

David Yurman taps Instagram for spring lifestyle push
Jewelry designer David Yurman creates hashtag #DavidYurman to share and expand the lifestyle accompanying the brand by  inviting customers to share their own jewelry-styling. Read More on Luxury Daily.

E-Commerce Companies Bypass the Middlemen
Fashion tech startups keep costs down and profits high by selling online straight from the manufacturer. The New York Times has the details.

 

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This past weekend I teamed up with four crazy smart teammates to compete in the first-ever Fashion Hackathon.

The event was a blast and, I think, a pretty big success. It was the most diverse Hackathon anyone could remember – by a lot. The competition was tough, and people worked hard. Some honest good ideas emerged. Judges were fair and asked the right questions. It felt a little bit like Group Week on American Idol.

A month ago hackathons were an exotic notion, the terrain of guys like the genius 23-year-old developer who built me the website of my dreams. Now it’s something I’m looking forward to doing again next year.

The weekend kicked off with a diverse panel of articulate fashion insiders. They shared frustrations and ideas. Distilling what we had each just heard, my team and I quickly aligned on a few observations.

Given our backgrounds – two of us were lawyers, two have MBAs, one is a legit MD from Stanford Medical School – we came to see the industry’s problems as systemic, structural, and epidemic in nature. Everywhere you turn, you find just-slightly-lagging technology; and everyone you meet seems to feel things ought to be way more futuristic by now; but nobody has really defined for the industry yet what that is gonna look like, and people are tiring of humoring the notion that a radically different future awaits.

“The industry’s problems” may be the wrong phrase for the thing we diagnosed Saturday afternoon. But something smelled fishy, especially when we stepped back and assessed, as outsiders, the performance or health of the industry as a whole.

8446686645_9b8d8ff3f2_bAt almost every link in the value chain for fashion goods – in design, production, runway shows, curation/merchandising, distribution, pricing and markdowns, inventory forecasting, targeted marketing, and so on – people can intuit that they ought to have more data and stronger analytical tools guiding their decision-making. But nobody’s yet articulated what a good solution looks like, or how the killer app of the future differs from all the other fake-bespoke database tools already in widespread use today.

We observed that data are not at all scarce in the fashion industry – quite the opposite: there’s a ton of data, all around us, everywhere you could think to look.  The problem plaguing all these pools of information is illiquidity.  That is, knowledge fails to flow.  Ideally, information should move from the parties generating or observing it, to any or all other parties who might valuably use it.

All the information anybody could possibly want is already, today, in someone’s reach, but it’s usually in someone else’s reach.  And you can bet he or she is guarding it – jealously.

Perceiving this dynamic, my team and I explored ways we could use other people’s information to create value. We asked, if we could know anything anyone else is capable of knowing, how could we use that all-access knowledge pass to create real, lasting, exponentially-growing value for the fashion industry as a whole? A company that could do that would be everyone’s friend in no time.  So we brainstormed ways new data sets might help grow overall-industry sales or lower overall-industry costs.

Then, for each idea, we spent a couple minutes cooking up product ideas and rapidly shooting most of them down – giving serious thought only to the few that we actually made sense as products someone would use or buy.

We were supposed to find ways to use sponsor-company APIs, but we wound up exploring ways to turn fashion companies themselves into APIs.

By imagining we could tap into an existing, worldwide network of hardware, software, and information, we couldn’t help feeling – and I continue to feel, strongly – that we have at our fingertips, in 2013, all the component parts of some newer, bigger, badder fashion industry. One that makes sense for, and stands to make money in, the twenty-first century.

This was the kind of thinking that had previously led my teammates Jill and Alain to found Modalyst, and the kind of reverse-problem-solving that led me to design and build The Shoplift in 2012. Last weekend, it led our team to unearth serious structural problems we believe trap creative potential, preclude discovery, set arbitrary speed limits on trends and slow down fashion as a whole, and lead to wasteful overspending on all kinds of things.

These are big challenges, too tough to resolve in 24 hours and tougher still to pitch about in two minutes.

Which is not at all a dig at the Hackathon format, honest. I found that the two-minute pitch timing nicely reflected the reality of an industry in which everyone is terribly busy, first impressions matter a lot, and success sometimes means making a scene.8446092266_0a2463f3a1_b

Fashion insiders are furiously self-oriented people. When put on the spot to innovate, they mostly propose ideas to make their own jobs marginally easier. So far, blissfully missing out on the really important opportunities, they have steered the industry clear of the biggest revolutions, in favor of one-off features, simplifying tools, and easier ways to do business on other people’s terms (tricks to get more Likes on Facebook, for instance).

A mid-panel exit by Rachel Roy – looking amazing but ducking out early for a conflicting Saturday-morning commitment – nicely illustrated the industry’s tendency to hurry-up-and-get-back-to-work when new technology comes up in conversation.

This tendency is dangerous. It’s the kind of thing that can really hold an industry back. If we don’t decide for ourselves what the future looks like, we’re doomed to accept decisions people in other industries make for us.

I’m psyched to see how the finalists do next week. My pick to win is Fashion Dashboard, because if it doesn’t exist already it totally should.  But it’s definitely still anyone’s game, and I wish all of the contestants the very best of luck. They’re currently working round-the-clock to finish their apps in time for their big day during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. (If you don’t have tickets yet, it’s not too late.)

Look for me there or check back here for my reactions after the show.

Author Brandon Fail is the founder of The Shoplift, and the Fashion Hackathon was his first-ever hackathon. 

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz1nJDfhKOQ&feature=youtu.be

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Rachel Roy on the Only “Celebrity” She Cares About Dressing
Rachel Roy’s opting for a digital show instead of a runway show. Racked has more, including the only celebrity she wants to wear her namesake label.

Kimberly Ovitz RTW Fall 2013
Kimberly Ovitz’s A/W 13 collection showcases cocoon layering, some abstract prints and a slight futuristic bent with silver, space-age pieces, 3-D printed by Shapeways. WWD posted a slideshow of the looks.

Second Screen App Provides Real-Time Subtitles For Brazilian TV
A new service provides subtitles for Brazilian TV shows in any language by combining closed captioning technology and Google Translate. PSFK features the startup.

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On Feb. 2-3, Decoded Fashion held the world’s first Fashion Hackathon, a 24-hour event where 550 registered participants and 78 teams competed to build a technology that helps American fashion designers.

About 300 developers, designers and entrepreneurs—40 percent women—worked on a variety of projects, from B2B software for production and merchandising to analytics for social media and e-commerce. Many projects were inspired by the Fashion Brief, a conversation with designer Rachel Roy, DKNY’s Aliza Licht, Rebecca Minkoff’s Uri Minkoff, Michael Kors’ Farryn Weiner, and the CFDA’s Kelly McCauley and Sideways’ Nathaniel Catanio, on what areas of the fashion industry could utilize technology to increase efficiency and drive business.

Five finalist teams were chosen to compete for the top prize—$10,000 and the chance to have its app launched by the CFDA. They will pitch live on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week during the Decoded Fashion Forum, to a panel of fashion judges including the CFDA’s Steven Kolb, Style.com’s Dirk Standen, Zac Posen, Rebecca Minkoff’s Uri Minkoff, and Gilt Groupe’s Susan Lyne.

Finalists:
42 personalizes the brick-and-mortar experience by using the best intelligence of online commerce. Founders: Cathy Han, Sarah Hum, Lucas Lemanowicz, Nicolas Porter

Avant-Garde remakes targeting marketing by matching customers with products by visually analyzing products and social media streams to understand exactly what customers want right now. Founders: Vladimir Dedov, Ajay Mantha, Carrie Mantha

Coveted is a 1-click platform for brands to sell their products through shareable tumblr images. Founders: Ian Culley, Michael Dizon, Jason Fertel

Fashion Dashboard optimizes commerce through competitive social media and merchandising analysis. Founder: Stephan Alber

SWATCHit is a peer-to-peer platform connecting global designers with emerging market artisans and overseas producers. Founders: Ramzi Abdoch, Jagjeet Gill, Jackson Lin, Henrika Makilya, Paul Yun

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