Tag Archives: start-up

Digital snippets: Burberry, Calvin Klein, Moschino, Saks, M&S, Primark

27 Feb

A round-up of all the latest stories surrounding fashion and tech…


  • Burberry reveals ‘digital innovation’ partnership with WeChat to strengthen social presence in China [The Drum]
  • Calvin Klein asks fans to snap selfies in their skivvies for #MyCalvins campaign [BrandChannel]
  • Fast-fashion: Moschino offers fans the ability to shop its McDonald’s-themed show live [Dazed Digital]
  • Saks recreates in-store beauty tutorials with six-second videos on Vine [LuxuryDaily]
  • Marks & Spencer launches new website to replace Amazon platform, after three years in the making [The Telegraph]
  • How Primark achieved 1.7m Facebook Likes in just six months [Econsultancy]
  • Former GQ editor Lauren Bans comes out as @CondeElevator Tweeter [Fashionista]
  • New privacy website lets you opt out of tracking in retail stores [AdAge]
  • Ebay buys virtual fitting room start-up PhiSix Fashion Labs [PC Mag]

Digital snippets: The North Face, Instagram Direct, Target, Barneys, Harrods, Karmaloop

15 Dec

The big news over the past couple of weeks in the retail and fashion tech space was of course the concept of Amazon drones, but multiple other stories grabbed the headlines too. Here’s a highlight of the best ones…


  • IBM’s Watson explores the great e-commerce unknown with The North Face [AdAge]
  • What Instagram Direct means for fashion brands (as pictured) [Fashionista]
  • Barneys creates holiday .gif guide to appeal to younger consumers [Luxury Daily]
  • Harrods’ Christmas Weibo campaign engages London’s Chinese tourist influx [Jing Daily]
  • Karmaloop targets millennials with YouTube and Snapchat holiday plan [AdWeek]
  • Kmart’s ‘Ship My Pants’ gets the Dickens treatment for Christmas [AdAge]
  • Native advertising: the pros and cons [WWD]
  • Designing the next generation of wearables, with women in mind [Fast Company]
  • With 3-D printing, clothing that leaves out the sewing machine [NY Times]
  • Mallzee is a Tinder-esque shopping app that lets your friends play fashion police [TechCrunch]
  • Start-up Thread is building a scalable personal styling service, blending human stylists and intelligent algorithms [BoF]
  • Instagram is the ‘best platform for brands’ in 2013, beating out Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ [Venture Beat]
  • Retailers look to their best customers, not bloggers, as the new influencers [Fashionista]
  • Gap’s ad with Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia defaced with racist graffiti, drawing incredible response from company [Huffington Post]

Lyst introduces back in stock alerts

18 Oct



Social shopping site Lyst has introduced another nice feature to its platform – users can now receive alerts when items they’re interested in come back into stock. 

Pitching the launch as combatting fashion FOMO (fear of missing out), the company says its mission is to make shopping as easy as possible. Now when users add items to their stylefeed they’ll be notified immediately when they become available to buy again. 

This launch sits alongside the site’s already existing sale alerts, which lets users know when items they’re following get discounted. 

The company also introduced an integrated checkout system earlier this summer, allowing users to shop directly from its site.


Latest Topshop innovation will see #LFW content shared via sound

12 Sep


Topshop is partnering with a start-up called Chirp for its upcoming Unique show at London Fashion Week in order to share pieces of content via sound with those in attendance. 

Chirp is an iPhone app that refers to itself as a “magical new way to share your stuff”. Essentially it encrypts pictures, notes or links as a type of “digital birdsong” – users post their content, then hit a big yellow button to emit a unique 20-note chirp, which other devices running the app nearby can pick up.

Here’s its own explanation of how it works: “You can think of a chirp as a tiny piece of music. Each chirp lasts about two seconds. The system listens out for a couple of dozen notes played rapidly in a certain order, within a certain range, at a certain speed. The audio engine tries to decode the sequence of notes into a sequence of letters which our server understands. The server then returns a link to the user so they can go wherever the short code points: to a webpage, say. This decode all happens in realtime on your phone.” A more technical introduction can also be found on its website.

What all this means is that users don’t need to login and follow Topshop to be able to receive the content, rather by being in proximity (i.e. at the show) they will be able to simply “hear the data” when they’re running the app. The retailer will be sending out images from several Chirp locations around the site, ranging from shots of the pattern room where the clothes were made, to the collection backstage, the hair and make-up tests, and the models walking down the catwalk. It has also added a new and unique aspect to the application whereby tapping on each image will flip it around to reveal more info and extra content.

Further reading shows Chirps can also work over PA systems, as well as in YouTube videos, meaning Topshop could potentially share the same pieces of content with anyone listening from home.

Its website however will host a gallery of the images so anyone tuning into the live-stream can also see them. As below, they will sit atop additional content pulled from Twitter from both the brand’s own account and from key fashion insiders it has asked to contribute from front row and backstage.


Meanwhile, its Oxford Circus store will feature a Chirp and Twitter Garden full of digital content for shoppers to explore (as the picture above demonstrates).

“Each season, we set ourselves the challenge to innovate and excite in a different way with the Unique show; not only in terms of our collection and show space, but also how to engage with and involve Topshop fans worldwide. The link with Chirp is fun and we love the fact that it allows people to discover new aspects of the collection and what goes on behind the scenes at Unique through creating iconic images to story tell,” said Sir Philip Green.

Topshop has of course previously made its mark in the digital space by teaming up with mega-tech companies including Google and Facebook around its collections. But it says this move is all about supporting emerging talent – taking the same approach it has with burgeoning young designers for instance, to what it believes is a pioneering new app.

Its team members told me they’re “experimenting with something that’s new”, “just having a bit of a play” and “seeing what they can get out of it”.

The brand will also be continuing its Customise the Catwalk and Shoot the Show initiatives, as well as offering followers the option to download the show’s soundtrack from iTunes and click to buy the make-up looks. Check out its trailer for the event below:


Digital snippets: American Eagle, Rebecca Minkoff, Bonobos, L’Oréal, adidas

5 Aug

Here’s a highlight of other stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital recently:


  • American Eagle unveils denim runway across America with “Rock Your Walk” seamless video project [WSJ]
  • Rebecca Minkoff goes digital with fall campaign (as pictured) [WWD]
  • Andy Dunn of Bonobos on building the Armani of the e-commerce era [BoF]
  • Reverse showrooming: Pinterest is driving people into stores [Business Insider]
  • L’Oréal, Walgreen’s look to measure effectiveness of mobile coupons [AdAge]
  • New adidas campaign stars Leo Messi in LED suit [BrandChannel]
  • Hanes is asking women to overshare on social media by telling the world the colour of their undies [AdWeek]
  • How do 15 top US fashion retailers handle email sign ups? [Econsultancy]
  • With $5m  in funding, Olapic targets fashion retail market [Mashable]

Personalised fashion marketplace Lyst launches “integrated checkout”

4 Jun


Ever wanted to be able to buy a dress with the same sort of ease you can purchase an app? That’s the aim from social shopping site Lyst, now referred to as a “personalised fashion marketplace”, with the launch of its new integrated checkout feature from today.

The three-year-old company is introducing an express shopping option directly from individual product pages, meaning users are no longer taken to third-party sites to buy the pieces they want. In doing so it’s aiming to capture consumers at the moment of inspiration, rather than expecting them to fill out multiple sets of payment and shipping details around the web.

Launch partners include both retailers and brands, from Alexander Wang, Theory and Helmut Lang, to Satine, Revolve and Lane Crawford. Initially it’s for shipping to the US market only, with plans to expand internationally throughout the rest of the year.

Speaking at the press launch this morning, Chris Morton, co-founder and CEO, said there were already two million people visiting Lyst every month, 50% of which are in the US. “We expect to see a step change increase in the number of sales that we generate for our partners as a result of this,” he explained. Mobile is another big focus of this move to make checking out seamless, based off the fact traffic to Lyst from smartphones and tablet devices has grown from 8% in 2012, to 30% so far this year. “People are happy to buy on mobile today, we just have to make it easy for them,” Morton said.

Importantly, the process is also a very simple one for Lyst’s partners, separating the site out from other companies attempting to introduce the same. “There’s no integration work required for our partners, meaning there’s therefore no fees for them either. We’re really proud of that. It’s hard to make something very easy,” said Morton.

Lyst handles the actual purchase, using proprietary technology to securely store users’ payment and shipping information, reports WWD, but the fulfillment of the purchase is then carried out by the designer or retailer. Morton refers to it as “moving the buy button”. Everything after that from the delivery, to the customer service, even the packaging belongs to the brand. “Think of us as a shopping mall,” he said. “A marketplace.”

A key factor in making this work is that inventory availability is constantly tracked by Lyst. “I’ve been waiting for this day for three and a half years,” Morton started this morning, “but it was too difficult to do from a tech point of view before. The most important thing is that what we have on Lyst matches with what’s on those partner sites. If it doesn’t, that results in a bad experience for our consumers and seriously breaks down those relationships.” He has a significant tech team in place to make sure they’re constantly solving that problem.

Other launch partners include James Perse, Hudson Jeans, Maiyet, Rag & Bone, Cynthia Rowley, Intermix, the Yoox Group, Trina Turk and Seven For All Mankind. More than 7,000 designers are currently represented on Lyst.

Shopping tool Hukkster hits Time Inc’s top 10 NYC start-up list for 2013

30 Apr


Time Inc has revealed its third annual list of the 10 start-ups to watch in New York City, and… there’s a fashion name in there again.

Hukkster, as it’s called, follows in the footsteps of Fab.com and Warby Parker (in 2012 and 2011 respectively) – highlighted by the Time Inc group as one of the most promising companies to transform the shopping space.

In this instance, it’s a tool that notifies shoppers when the products they want go on sale. Hukkster tracks more than 1,000 popular online stores, allowing any user to add its bookmarklet to their browser and then hit “Hukk It” when there’s an item they want to keep tabs on.

Once the price drops you get an email, a text or push notifications. You can also opt to only find out when it goes down by at least 25% or at least 50%.

According to WSJ’s profile on the start-up in 2012, and its founders Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan, each time a user buys an item they’ve been watching, Hukkster collects a fee for lead generation, using a third-party service that has relationships with more than 18,000 retailers. Its top revenue drivers, back when the piece was written, were J.Crew, Amazon.com’s Shopbop and Macy’s.

Furthermore, in November 2012, the Winklevoss twins led a $750,000 investment in it.

Hukkster appears in Time Inc’s list this year alongside nine other start-ups from a variety of fields. Included in them are ArchetypeMe, Custora, FiftyThree, Fitocracy, Grouper, IMRSV, Klooff, Qwiki and Upworthy.

Start-up spotlight: Stylyt

25 Apr


Greater consumer participation in today’s brands is a trend that shows no sign of abating. In fashion of course, that’s a huge opportunity, meaning it comes as no surprise to hear there are a number of start-ups exploring the co-creation space. Stylyt, is one such example, a brand new launch that stands out for the fact it’s already working with known designers like Timo Weiland in its offering to consumers.

Founded by Nina Cherny and Jenny Wu, this “collaborative design” site enables its members to explore certain design templates offered from the upcoming collections of designers like Weiland, and customise their colour, print or fabric.

Better yet, however, they can also then potentially own them. Everyone’s submitted designs are pitched against each other in a series of galleries online (as pictured below) from which they can be voted for by the community. The ‘winning’ style from each collection is then made into limited edition pieces and sold exclusively on the Stylyt site.

As the tagline reads: “Play fashion designer for your favourite brands.”

Weiland for instance is offering up a basic backpack shape (as pictured), to which users can adjust the colour of the canvas, the colour of the leather straps and flaps, and even the colour of the ponyskin on the front pocket.

Alongside Weiland’s bags so far, are also summer dresses by Lovers+Friends, wallets and clutch bags by Hayden-Harnett and a series of dresses and tops by Torn by Ronny Kobo. New collaborations are set to open every week.

“By giving consumers a voice in the creative process, brands get to promote their collection to fans who feel involved and appreciated, leading to higher loyalty and meaningful sales,” said Wu.

I chatted to her to find out a bit more information:

How did you establish the relationships you have with each of the designers?

“Our fantastic brand partners either come through our industry connections or traditional routes, such as trade shows and showroom visits. These digitally-savvy, forward-thinking brands understand that by embracing customer input, they can gain loyal customers for life. Timo Weiland, one of our anchor brands, is quoted in our press release as saying ‘We’re obsessed with the technology behind [Stylyt], so this will be a great exercise for us’.”

Customisation often gets complicated once it comes to the manufacturing side. How are you handling this?

“Once winners go on sale, we place a custom wholesale order with each brand. We act as any other e-tailer here, except we sell exclusive, limited-edition pieces from the brand’s upcoming collection. The brands love this because we are not discounting past season’s merchandise, so we’re not diluting their brand.”

Such a system must also provide you with a lot of data. Might this be used to help inform design in the long-run?

“After each collaborations ends, we provide brands with campaign metrics that include trend data from our designs and voting results. For example, we’ll be able to show which colors or combinations were the most popular with which demographic, etc. Our voting model is set up in a way to detect trend patterns over time.”

What are your long-terms plans for scaling?

“We see Stylyt as THE platform for branded collaborations. We plan to expand to new verticals that are design-driven (i.e. home decor, beauty), as well as increase the scale of our collaborations. Soon, you’ll see entire capsule collections designed on Stylyt, or perhaps see Stylyt powering the next fashion reality show. Either way, we’re enabling brands and consumers to connect more directly, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down!”




ThingLink’s interactive images expand to Facebook, again key for fashion

24 Apr


You might remember this piece about ThingLink – a tool that lets you tag any image, with any content, making it instantly interactive. I wrote about its potential relevance to the fashion industry when it launched embeds in Twitter, demonstrating it in action with a Burberry image (as above in a non-interactive format) that to this day is still getting regular “hovers” over it week to week according to my email alerts.

News now has arrived of its integration with Facebook. When you share a ThingLink-enabled image to your Timeline, much like with how it worked on Twitter already, fans are able to experience the content inside the image without leaving the page.

An example has been released from Médecins Sans Frontières to demonstrate it. But this once again this has enormous application for fashion brands trying to share more than just a still shot of their collections. Their videos, show music, e-commerce pages and more.

As referenced previously from Mashable: “That single photo, in essence, just became a platform of its own.” Armani is an example of one designer officially using it, and already doing so on Facebook.

On a similar note, TechCrunch has just reported on rival tool Stipple’s new social commerce element called Stipple Shopping. This allows photos to be placed on Facebook and Twitter that users can explore, compare and now actually buy from too, likewise without leaving the image. Single photos that instantly become stores therefore.

It’ll be interesting to see what cut-through these tools might have. While increasing interaction and engagement is a worthy aim, whether they can actually impact commerce is another question.

Check out the video below…

Third Wave Fashion launches database of fashion tech start-ups

16 Apr

There’s no denying we’re in one of the most lucrative times for fashion and tech start-ups. As reported by The Business of Fashion recently (in debating whether there’s a fashion tech bubble), large sums of capital have been pouring into young companies over the past couple of years, including Moda Operandi ($46 million), Nasty Gal ($49 million), ShoeDazzle ($66 million), BeachMint ($75 million) and Gilt Groupe ($236 million). The latest news in Farfetch’s $20 million and Rent the Runway’s $24.4 million can both be added to that.

Keeping abreast of all this, not to mention the multiple others entering the space on a seemingly daily basis, however, is a heady task. Have you ever wondered just how many there actually are in total for instance? How many of them last past their first year, let alone make returns for their investors? And how many of them are truly relevant to you directly?

Fortunately someone’s been keeping tabs. New York-based consultancy company, Third Wave Fashion, has been tracking the space for two years, and is set to launch a database listing over 650 fashion-focused tech companies in order for us to try and get a handle on it.

Available for paid subscribers, the site is searchable by over 30 different business categories, including image sharing, content-and-commerce, subscription commerce, virtual closets, pre-orders, marketplace and more. These can then be cross-referenced with some 50 tags such as B2B, beauty, luxury and mobile. It also includes listings for 350 investors and 800 founders.

Third Wave Fashion founder, Liza Kindred, said: “The database is a culmination of nearly two years of monitoring the industry. We began tracking companies so we could have a comprehensive view of the landscape, and quickly realized that this information would be valuable to many other people as well.”

She pitches it as a “trusted resource for interested parties such as fashion brands, investors, entrepreneurs, journalists, and emerging designers searching for new platforms for distribution”.

The database will continue to grow as the industry does, but also feature that all-important RIP category for those failed start-ups too.

Further reading: The State of Fashion Tech, a keynote by Liza Kindred

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