As of 2021, it seems that there is more than just a few fashion tech innovation labs in the business of developing innovative technology solutions. One of these organisations is the Foundry, based in Paris, France. Grabbing the attention of startups, the lab, powered by fashion school IFA Paris, has been nurturing fashion tech founders of game-changing solutions since 2019.
Working with startups that address real market needs, the Foundry offers a space that includes co-working desks, a maker space equipped with machines such as 3D printers and 3D body scanners, to startups, students and organisations pushing the boundaries of fashion tech. Recently, the Foundry introduced seven startups that participated in the Full Demo Day that took place on 22nd April 2021. The startups presented ideas that addressed fashion related problems.
One-on-One With Startups Addressing Market Needs
When it comes to the fashion tech space, it is luckily not built on theories of secrecy and exclusivity, which meant that I was able to have a one-on-one chat with each of the startup founders. They shared with me how their idea represents a refreshing new bridge between fashion and technology and the challenges they have faced so far during the pandemic. Although all of the founders I spoke to were eager to share how their alternative product has been designed to empower their targeted customer, three startups from the Foundry’s chosen seven stood out.
KRIPPIT: Solving Footwear Wastage With a 3D-printed High heel Protector
It looks like Dolly Singh is not the only glamourous woman shaking up the shoe industry. Melissa Chung, a Canadian with over 12 years of experience in Finance/Banking and with a passion for fashion, has come up with Krippit.
As a heel wearing woman, Chung wanted to find a solution that seriously depleted the $250 per year women spend, on average, on shoe repairs (numbers based on women, U.S. data, period 2008-2018). The answer she came up with is Krippit. A one size fits all product, Chung’s sustainable solution, a 3D-printed high heel protector, has been designed to extend the heel life of a pair of shoes.
Priced at 89.99 euros (price can vary depending on region), Kruppit has already got a steady following from professional women and even celebrities like Candace Bushnell, author of SATC. On her next step, Chung shared that she wants to continue to “educate and provide preventative “wear and tear” solutions for reducing footwear wastage”.
ROUNDRACK: Tackling Material Sourcing Challenges With Machine Learning Algorithm
Roundrack impressed me from the get-go because their solution has the potential to solve a B2B problem of sourcing (sustainable) materials. Not only did they recognise that there was a problem, the startup decided to find a way to simplify the task of sourcing fabric by taking an approach that was based on providing information like sustainability data and knowledge on materials of interest.
“(Roundrack) is a material platform that matches brands with the most relevant materials, based on their specific project needs, brand DNA and sustainability goals,” they explained in their presentation.
So how does it work? The founders explained that the first thing to do is share project details, price range and MOQ. They also invite you to define your sustainability goals. In the next step, fabric swatches are matched and sent from their vetted suppliers or your own, based on your criteria, previous selections and similar brand selections. Once you have chosen your materials for sampling with the help of their material data, which is accessible via mobile camera, you will be able to track iterations, communicate and collaborate contextually. The last step is that the collection is created, physical swatches are sent, and detailed sustainability data is provided.
When it comes to technology, Roundrack relies on machine learning algorithm that mimics the decision process of a textile agent. This is an approach that makes it possible to match designer intent and ‘brand DNA’ to the underlying attributes of materials.
Roundrack’s business model offers four subscriptions that range from ‘free’ to 5k.
T-FASHION: Confronting Social Media’s Data Dump Problem With Big Data
Did you know that 4.3 billion dollars total value of products were unsold by H&M in 2018 and that Burberry burnt 38 million dollars total value of products that were unsold in 2018? Well, this is why T-Fashion had me at; “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” They identified a problem and then set out to try and help the fashion industry be more conscious of its decisions when it comes to the products they decide to bring to market.
T-Fashion is an AI-powered trend forecasting platform that tackles the problems with insufficient trend forecasting, leading to missed revenue, overstock products, and waste. Recognising that social media is reshaping the fashion world, the startup’s solution has found a way to avoid what they called “social media’s data dump”.
Focusing on the market’s potential, T-Fashion works by first identifying the brand’s identity and target audience. Then they analyse millions of posts with deep learning algorithms to understand trends and potential consumer behaviours via Big Data. By grasping trend dynamics, they can come up with a visualisation of trend insights and fashion reports so brands can discover trending products and get inspired.
If you would like to watch the 7 selected startups Virtual Demo Day that took place on the 22nd April 2021, you can do so HERE