5 Fashion Tech Companies That Are Making Waves
PSFK reports from the Future of Fashion event about New-York-based startups who are redefining how we think of retail.
At the last Future of Fashion event of 2012 held in the Projective Space by Fashion Digital Daily, the five presenting companies were Merocrat, Bib + Tuck, Go Try It On, Stylitics, and Little Black Bag. Each brought something new to the intersection of fashion and technology.
A professional community for global fashion talent, Merocrat seeks to give transparency to the hiring and project management practices of the fashion industry. Viktoria Ruubel, CEO and Co-Founder of the New York-based company, decided to build a professional network for creatives that was based on trust and transparency. She wanted to ensure that creative professionals including photographers, designers, models, make-up artists, and hair stylists could have direct contact with clients, and through this direct contact, establish trust and get paid. To prevent bragging, Merocrat is a project-based environment, where clients can assign credit for projects completed and talent can accept credit. The site also serves as a platform through which creatives and clients can setup payment plans, without going through agents.
“Wear your best bib and tucker.” Sari Azout and Sari Bibliowicz revived this out-moded phrase for “wear your best outfit” to name their pre-owned clothing trading community Bib + Tuck. The New York-based pair set out to rebrand second hand clothing with their fashion startup. Bib + Tuck is a women’s-only, invite-only community that allows members to swap garb. There is no money transferred on the site. The “shopping without spending” service allows members to upload items that are on the way out and assign a Bib + Tuck buck value they would accept for the item in exchange. Items and bucks flow through the system, without real dollars entering the picture. Although no money is exchanged between users, one buck is equivalent to one US dollar. If a member has not yet acquired enough Bib + Tuck bucks through offering clothing on the site, they are able to buy bucks directly from Bib + Tuck.
Sari and Sari want community to drive the site as an exchange platform and encourage digital sharing and offline meet-ups. Bib + Tuck features curated content including a featured closet every week, a trends section, featured members and products, and a section showcasing creative reuse. The creative reuse item shows before and after pictures of the same item with the original owner who “bibbed” the item and the person who “tucked” the item. Although Bib + Tuck organizes monthly meet-ups, they were proud to note that members often plan and host their own offline meetings, separately. The Saris were also quick to add that all brands are welcome on the platform; members’ closets are a mix of high-end brands and fast fashion apparel.
The social side of style, Go Try It On is an iOS app to help the fashion-conscious hone their daily clothing style. Amanda Hunter, VP of Strategic Marketing, spoke about how the New York-based app seeks to connect users with their friends to talk about their current closet, and potential fashion purchases, and allows them to follow their friends, fashion icons and influencers. The app also introduces a new photo feature for their camera happy users. Rapid sequential photo taking, this continuous shooting feature enables users to take three fast photos in succession, instead of manually taking many pictures. The idea came from the fashion world’s photo shoot. These photos can then be instantly shared on Facebook or Twitter to friends and followers for advice.
Currently without ads, the Go Try It On app hopes to let brands engage with users using other methods, which might include curated products or closets. Their user base consists of young women who are brand agnostic and have a unique style. Highly social, the app champions the idea; trust your friends when you can’t trust your gut.
Previously covered by PSFK, Stylitics wants to become the largest social closet. Now open to the public, the site allows users to upload every clothing and accessories item they own into a virtual closet. From their online inventory, they can create combinations to wear in the future, track worn items, wishlist desired items, and explore other people’s closets for inspiration. The site also has purchase capabilities. Besides managing their own closet, users can also share items and outfit collages with friends to get feedback or share their wishlists. For those short of fashion style, the algorithms of Stylitics can use your inventory and history of wearing items to create style recommendations. The platform is also a powerful resource for companies who are able to track their products and consumer behavior around their brands and items.
Little Black Bag, already covered on the PSFK website here and more recently here. David Weissman, President, revealed that about 200 brands have partnered with Little Black Bag to have their products featured in the mystery bags. He mentioned that the brands are a mix of established and up-and-coming, and that the Little Black Bag is an excellent discovery platform for consumers to learn about new brands. David explained that the site is trailblazing fashion tech for its use of social networking, ecommerce, and social gaming through consumer trading.
Heading image courtesy of Uprising Movements.