The New York Fashion Tech Lab (NYFTL) virtually presented its 2020 cohort Demo Day in July in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the limitations of a remote event, the presentation included exciting innovations from the eight women-led start-ups.
The event began with music from DJ Smiles Davis (Instagram: @DJSmilesDavis) and remarks from Kay Koplovitz, co-founder and chairman of Springboard Enterprises, and Jackie Trebilcock, managing director of NYFTL.
“Thank you to our 2020 lab companies for creating and propelling these solutions for the industry,” Trebilcock said. “This year, our seventh year, has been truly unique. When we were preparing for this program, there was no way we could’ve predicted the state of the industry today. However, we know that we, the lab, and these specific lab companies have never been more relevant and needed.”
Each of the 2020 cohort companies had a chance to summarize its mission and technology and make a case for the way that they will disrupt the fashion industry.
Based in Singapore, Reflaunt is focused on creating a circular fashion economy.
“Sustainability is our industry’s toughest challenge — but we know that,” said Stephanie Créspin, cofounder and CEO of Reflaunt. “The question is, how do we address that problem while continuing to grow your business?”
Reflaunt’s technology helps existing fashion brands set up a system where shoppers can donate used items for credits, which can then be spent on new items from that brand. Créspin argued that this increases brand loyalty while also ensuring that fewer clothes end up in landfills.
Change of Paradigm
“We believe 3D is at the core of how we interact with and shop fashion tomorrow,” explained Raphaëlle Mura, co-founder and CCO of Change of Paradigm. The company has created a 3D virtualization solution for companies that want to create digital versions of their collections, stores or runways.
“In this landscape, our competitive advantage is 3D CGI versus 3D scan, creating flexibility and adaptability at lower costs,” Mura continued. The technology can also be used in video games and virtual social spaces, she said, expanding a brand’s exposure even more.
Buyers want to see every detail of a product before they buy it — and the same is true for online shoppers, Elizabeth Clayton, CEO and founding partner of Zoomlook, argued. The NYC-based brand has created a photographic virtual reality that lets consumers get up-close and personal with products online.
“Details drive sales; you can explore every detail and facet,” Clayton said.
Zoomlook also tracks which products customers zoom in on in virtual runways and showrooms to give brands a better idea of what consumers are looking for.
While many shoppers are wary of brick-and-mortar stores due to COVID-19, Futureproof offers physical retailers a contactless check out solution.
“Everything — from payment, to scanning, to coupons — can take place on shoppers’ own mobile device,” said Di Di Chan, president and CEO of Futureproof Retail. Customers can scan the items they want to buy with their phones and skip the line. Plus, Futureproof gathers data about the shoppers, directing them through the store to the items they want.
“We are offering you a technology that appreciates with time,” Chan said.
Based in Los Angeles and Nashville, the team at Hafta Have has created a platform that helps physical retail stores track what customers are looking at — as if those shoppers were browsing online.
“With Hafta Have, retailers can finally collect actualized, in-store shopper data,” said Amanda Latifi, co-founder and CEO. “You can create product-specific text messages to bring a shopper back for the exact item they were looking at in-store.”
The platform helps retailers target consumers with individualized information on sales while integrating in-store and e-commerce data.
“At Heuritech, we deeply believe that data and forecasts can help brands to reduce uncertainty and increase profitability in their markets,” said Célia Poncelin, chief marketing officer of Heuritech, based in Paris.
The company’s technology tracks trends and forecasts when they will reach peak popularity, allowing brands to anticipate what will sell.
“Thanks to our one year forecast that has a 90% precision, we have so far identified 4,000 trends,” Poncelin said.
Searching for a product online can be overwhelming; that’s why Katharina Vendamme-Eybesfeld, co-founder and CEO of Becoco, introduced a technology that pares down options through stylists. The streamlined look books created through Becoco have higher engagement, and they take less time to create.
“Through our technology, we are doubling our clients’ revenue potential by automating a mutual process that is currently taking 50% of their time,” Vendamme-Eybesfeld said.
Most women are not shaped like fashion models, said Tahreem Arshad, co-founder and CEO of Sozie. That’s why Sozie partners with brands to include photos of real people wearing the garment on each product page.
“Online fashion is growing at least three times faster than the overall fashion market, so retailers missing online sales growth stand to be left behind,” Arshad said. People are more likely to buy something — and less likely to return it — if they can see how it fits on their actual body type, she contin