The shape of fashion disruption

Fjord Family

I recently attended an online and retail fashion hackathon, organised by Seedcamp. In attendance were a number of retailers including ASOS and NetAPorter, who were happy to help teams use their APIs and data. They also took us through the challenges that they are facing, including high return rates and associated costs, struggling to offer a great retail experience on a tablet, and leveraging social conversation.

At the end of the weekend, teams pitched their hacks to the wider group, and some clear themes emerged that start to create a shape to the disruption and a indication for the retail opportunity space in general. They are listed below, combined with other startup examples that I scoured from the brains of my fellow Fjordians…


1. Aggregating online fashion & making it easy
Now that larger retailers are opening their catalogs to developers, the market is set to be in-undated with aggregators that allow you to shop more easily.

  • – “Anything you see can be yours” the platform allows for in-content discovery, sales and marketing – turning any online content into a storefront.”
  • TAB.IT – “Don’t want to use an aggregator? This service makes shopping across sites easy – instead of opening tabs for each of your favorite retailers, the site provides a view of a single product across multiple websites”
  • Checkout Anywhere – “This service recognised the power of fashion blogs. Instead of linking through to fashion retailers, blog readers can purchase directly from the blog using responsive checkout widgets. Based on an affiliate platform model”
  • – “For men only (a tough crowd), this service offers a single destination to shop for mens brands”


2. Improving fashion discovery
The long tail revolution has started to stall with online retail – but there were a number of services dedicated to helping people find what they want

  • Fashion Intern – “Making it easier to A Facebook game to crowdsource fashion metadata”
  • CatwalkWear – “Matching catwalk looks with high street items”
  • Photoshoot – “We enable people to share what they’re wearing and build fashion conversations based on location, occasion and time”
  • Snoop – “Snoop will find out when your items go on sale, so you don’t have to” 


3. Improve faith in purchases & reduce returns
An increasing number of startups have emerged to help customers have more confidence in the items they purchase

  • Colourtag Me – “Use colour analysis to find clothes that will suit”
  • CrowdFit – “Plug in to retail sites, helps customers to see what it looks like on loads of people. through a crowdsourced banks of images. Increases ecommerce sales conversion rates, decreases ecommerce return rates”
  • My Perfect Fit – “We match your body measurement to the individual garment measurements to recommend you the right size to buy”
  • – “Improve the fit of clothes online”
  • – “Order a box of clothes from multiple stores in one delivery, Only pay for what you want and a courier takes away the returns”
  • CF YSL Colour Mirror app – “Allows you to photograph yourself and test out different effects and products on an uploaded image of yourself”


4. Questionnaires & personal stores
There’s a trend toward helping customers filter out what won’t suit them before they’ve started browsing – using questionares

  • – “is also great as an inspiration tool for men who can’t/don’t want to dress themselves. GO through your personality type, get recommendations and purchase there and then”
  • – “It’s targeted at men. As a customer, you fill in a fashion questionnaire and they send you a package with 2 outfits. One customer was so happy with the service he sent back the parcel as a return – filled with chocolate as a thank you gift!”
  • – “They are disrupting by using a style quiz to give you personalised recommendations and their monthly payment business model is also quite nice”
  •  – “We create an accurate profile for you, called a Fashion Fingerprint, based on your own body shape, style and preferences. All of our fashion and style advice is unique to you and based on your Fashion Fingerprint”


5. New models of purchasing and owning
The market for anti-ownership has borne a number of new era of rental service – apartments, your neighbor’s car, your neighbor’s toolshed, and now your clothes….

  • – “Helps co-ordinate group purchases”
  • Rentez-Vous – “Rentez-Vous allows girls to rent clothes to each others and unlocks the hidden value of their clothes for an accessible and sustainable fashion”


6. Get consumers involved
Lots of fashion startups are recognising the value of crowdsourcing – for those who can contribute ot fashion, and those who simply love to consume

  • Ama Designers – “Crowd-Funding for Jewellery”
  • StyleVote – “Stylevote helps fashion retailers to produce more of what customers want and less of what they don’t by involving them in the pre-production process”
  • Tango Studio – “Helping fashion brands to create more styles that customer love to buy by involving them during the range creation process”


7. Connecting with offline
With retail going ‘omnichannel’, it’s the right time to see some startups value the physical experience of fashion. Tactility is trying to be addressed with lots of startups, but sometimes the real thing is the only way

  • Blinc ” Send a picture of you wearing it (or not), & see their instant reaction”
  •  The Fitting Boutique  – “Provides one-stop shop to individual customers to create their own retail experience and to free them from the stress of dealing with delivery and returns”


8. Dealing with excess stock
The winner of the Seedhack, and the only B2B service…

  • Relist – “The global marketplace of excess luxury fashion for both off-price (professional) fashion buyers and boutiques/designers”
Fjord Family

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