Meet London’s finest fashion-tech startups
London Fashion Week kicks off tomorrow with emerging designers, bloggers and the latest fashion trends at the top of the agenda.
The capital continues to dominate fashion trends across the globe – but how has this pool of raw talent influenced the tech scene?
Tech City News rounded up some of London’s cutting-edge fashion tech startups to find out how they’ve sewn the worlds of fashion and tech together.
Roberta Lucca, Co-founder | WonderLuk
I love design and the beautiful things in life. Innovating, shaping the future and building an audience from scratch are things that drive me in life.
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Company: WonderLuk is a fashion tech startup in stealth mode, creating a movement we call Co-Couture. We say ‘no’ to mass production and ‘yes’ to contemporary fashion that is uniquely made in Britain for each customer. Thanks to 3D printing and Cloud computing, WonderLuk can bring customisation to fashion.
Journey into fashion tech: I’ve always been a fashion-forward person but back in July this year I submitted the WonderLuk concept to the Fashion Digital Contest and was honoured to be amongst the three finalists to pitch my business to a panel of judges. The feedback was incredible and I realised my concept does have legs.
When does fashion become tech? I believe it doesn’t. The most behavioural changing fashion products and services are the ones that technology is used as a means to an end. Look at Google Glass, Jawbone Up, and even ASOS as examples. It reaches adoption when it becomes about the relationship between an object of desire and you.
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Julia Grinham, Co-Founder | UpperStreet London
Having backgrounds from outside fashion and tech enabled us to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of what was possible.
Company: Upper Street is a made-to-order luxury footwear label, where you can design your own shoes.
Journey into fashion tech: My sister Katy and I could never find the shoes that we were looking for; designing our own was the perfect solution. With my background in running online businesses and Katy’s experience in marketing and operations, creating Upper Street London made complete sense.
Successes: Our customer base doubles every six months and we were recently named as one of the Wonga Real Business Future 50 companies to watch. Our world leading iPad shoe designer app was listed in the Top 10 Fashion Apps by The Independent.
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Excited about? 3D printing. We’d love to see every consumer with a 3D printer in their home, so that they can test and try their prototype shoe designs at home. We’re not sure how you can print out real snakeskin yet, however, someone is bound to prove us wrong sooner or later!
Emma Watkinson, Founder | Silkfred
Fashion is an industry driven by the constant reinvention and evolution of new ideas. By its very nature it lends itself well to the rise of technology start ups.
Company: Silkfred provides independent fashion brands with an online and offline solution to launch and grow their businesses. We help online shoppers discover unique fashion by providing them with a highly-curated platform featuring our fashion brands’ products.
Successes: We collaborated with Bloomberg for an evening showcase of our crowdfunding campaign. We raised £13.5k on the night and got up to 40% of our target – I was incredibly proud of our team and how far we’ve come.
Plans: To increase the number of independent fashion brands we can work with, build more cool new tech for their SilkFred powered e-commerce stores and build out our stockist partner network.
[button link=”http://www.uktech.news/2013/03/19/elevator-pitch-silkfred-startup-of-the-week-in-30-seconds/”]Watch Emma’s Elevator Pitch[/button]
How has tech revolutionised the fashion industry? Bloggers have bigger online followings than editors, independent fashion brands are finding new routes to market, and consumers have more choice, more content and more awareness of what’s out there. The possibility to discover something really unique is made easy.
Ella and Sophie Berman, Co-founders | London Loves LA
Our fans have grown with us through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – they’ve been on the journey with us which makes them feel even more part of the brand.
Company: London Loves La is an online boutique bringing affordable LA-inspired fashion and vintage to a new, young audience.
Plans: Growing and expanding our own online platform. We’re creating a lookbook for our website where we’ve asked people to send in their images/selfies of themselves in London Loves LA clothes –making people feel part of the journey and something they want to follow and be a part of.
How has tech revolutionised the fashion industry? We use social media to be more than just an online store. It gives us a voice and allows us to engage with our audience on an almost an hourly basis- something almost impossible in a traditional retail environment.
Marc Cameron, Founder |2210
As a rugby/football-playing little boy – I secretly enjoyed going with my mum to the fabrics shop in town to pick out materials for my Bermuda shirts to be made from.
Company: 2210 is an e-commerce fashion marketplace for men and women aged 25-34. Our USP is to champion the Stella McCartneys and Tom Fords of tomorrow, alongside established brands.
Journey into fashion tech: I used to run my own print and online magazine, Seven. I also loved art directing the magazine’s different fashion photoshoots. So having worked in digital for nearly nine years, I decided to fuse my two passions/areas of expertise together.
Plans: To become the biggest fashion brand in the world. After we secure £1/2m investment – we intend to launch in January 2014 in the UK and then expand worldwide.
How has tech revolutionised the fashion industry? The web and social media are giving fashion designers/companies a new way to reach the masses. I’m seeing some great uses of Twitter/Tumblr and Instagram. That personal touch from the company owner really helps a brand to engage with its target audience.
image credit: flickr/robschofield