1. Two Brits In LVMH Final
    British designers Simone Rocha and Thomas Tait are among the 12 chosen names for the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize.
  2. Stylitics Nabs Big Investment: Here’s What’s Next for the Wardrobe Organizing App
    Fashion apps may be fun to use, but there can be even more value in the data they’re gathering on consumers’ shopping habits, which can turn into big business when sold to brands eager for intel on their customers.
  3. Need On-the-Go Directions? There’s a Jacket For That!
    Wearing technology on your sleeve is now literally possible thanks to the brilliant minds at Wearable Experiments, a company that aims to marry technology with functional fashion.
  4. Architectural Designer Francis Bitoni Has Created a 3D Printed Dress on MakerBot
    There’s been a lot of talk lately about the future of clothing design and the possibility of printing fashion from home.


Thanks to everyone that made it down to last week’s Meetup! We heard from four great startups Olapic, Smartgift, Truefit and Stylitics all with very different tools that are driving eCommerce conversion.

We’d like to give a special thanks to our hosts at Gilt and Andrew F. Chen, Gilt Director of Product Management who works with Gilt’s Ninjas—the team responsible for designing the Infiniti sale and other exciting initiatives. His focus is on activation and brand excitement, and he gave some incredible insight into the inner workings of Gilt HQ.

Here are the best bits….

Drawing on his background at iHeart Radio, Chen likens trying to figure out which bands users want to listen to and which brands users want to purchase to figure out what the Gilt customer wants to buy.

“We want to make sure that new users will understand what Gilt’s about and make a purchase as soon as possible.”  To achieve that, he focuses on the current trends below:

1. Personalization and relevance:  The goal is to make sure that in those 5 – 10 minutes spent on a website, a user gets to see what they want to see.

2. E-segmentation: A lot of smaller e-commerce companies are being born, companies like Bauble Bar or Dollar Shave Club who are really focusing on those niche segments and are optimizing those websites.

3. Mobile devices:  Smart phones are simply being used for all kinds of purchases! “We sell $10,000 handbags; we have sold cars on our site,” said Chen. “Upwards of 50% of our customers are making purchases through their mobile device.” Therefore, creating an experience based on learning and understanding of consumers’ mobile intent is crucial for GILT.

4. Customer loyalty and affinity: Reward programs have been around for several years, trying to make customers feel invested in the platform. “A really important thing to give our customers is a reason to come back, because they know how the site works, they feel comfortable there and they might have points or special discounts they can use,” said Chen.

5. A/B testing: Already prominent in Silicon Valley, testing – qualitative and quantitative – is pretty new territory to New York. Using data to support the features you one is rolling out is incredibly important. “One of the reasons that I decided to join Gilt is because they do testing correctly, and it’s not only the platform or the tools that have been implemented here, but it’s actually a culture of testing,” he said.  Optimizely and Spotfire are among his favorite tools. According to Chen, the product should be optimised at every point: from acquisition, to registrations, to browsing, to checkout, all the way to cart image checkout and post checkout. “All these things are a life cycle that you always have to be measuring, always have to be testing, and always have a pulse on because competition is always going to be changing”. The users expectations are always changing and so your site should be changing to match this cycle.

dfOur showcase was next with the topic: Tools to increase conversion.

Taking on the gauntlet first Olapic’s Director, Brand and Strategy & Partnerships Zoe Neuschatz. Olapic uses visual content created by the consumer to create and enhance the shopping experience. It cleverly taps into the huge source of readily available content created through social channels to tell a brand’s story through curated customer photos and videos. Brands have complete control over imagery used and access to analytics so they understand what increases sales. Why it works? It allows companies to recognize their users at point of purchase, while for the consumer it gives them a real experience when shopping online.

Next up and perfectly timed for the holidays, Smartgift an online gifting technology for retailers. Two years of study took place to create the ideal solution that takes into account all characteristics of what makes the perfect gift; time spent, personality of recipient and personalization. In simple terms, it is a button that integrates into a brand’s site turning the purchase into a gift, which then transfers all choices to the recipient. All the gifter needs is the recipient’s email and the rest is taken care of.

Tackling the problem of fit, Truefit works with around 1000 brands (including GILT) and seeing a lift of 6x in conversions whilst also driving down returns! Truefit says it manages the largest database of apparel, footwear and consumer fit data and their personalized fit software ensures consumers know exactly what size to buy and how it will fit. It’s basically like creating a blueprint of every user and every item they recommend, the more they learn about each item and user.

Our final startup, pleading its conversion case was Stylitics. CEO, Rohan Deuskar spoke about the concept of digital closets and how his company holds the world’s largest pool of closet data. He is focused on how this consumer data can be used for the brand and retailer. While the consumer clicks away on their app sharing and creating looks with friends, Stylitics picks up real-time trend insights on what’s trending to feed back to retailers. They are rolling out an impressive dashboard, and seeking to become an essential market research tool for the fashion industry.

Next week, Decoded Meetups heads to London, and back to New York for the holidays. See you next time!

2013 is the breakout year for the digital closet. And that’s very good news for pretty much everyone in the fashion industry, whether you’re a brand, a retailer, a publisher, or a consumer.

If this is surprising to you, I can tell you, we’ve seen this movie before…

We’ve seen it in the early days of online retail. As recently as 2009, a lot of people were asking, “Why the heck would people shop for clothes online? What about fit? What about returns? People want to go into the store and touch the product, not order based on some picture online!”

These are fair questions. We still haven’t solved these friction points. And yet, Women’s Wear Daily reports that 72% of consumers shop for clothes online. Why did online retail take off? Because when you connect the storefront to the power and convenience of web and mobile, you unlock a whole new set of benefits that outweigh the friction for many consumers.

Similarly, when brands first started flirting with social media, a lot of people said, “Why would people want a brand talking to them 140 characters at a time?” They called it gimmicky and niche, and said it would cheapen the brand. And yet we’ve seen social media turn into the primary voice for many major players.

The rise of digital closets is a similar story for the similar reason: when you connect the closet to web and mobile, you can suddenly do some incredibly powerful things – with data, with retail, with recommendations – that were simply not possible before. At Stylitics, we’ve seen this first-hand. Digital styling for a fraction of the price. Personalized recommendations based on what you actually wore and bought, across brands. Creating your packing list with items in your closet…and your boyfriend’s closet…while sitting in a meeting. All these things are either live today or will be live before the summer.

The key to taking this completely mainstream is making it really easy for people to put their closets online. So, Stylitics is working with top brands and retailers on a technology we’ve developed called Closet Connect, launching in a few weeks. Closet Connect lets people pull in all their past purchases from across retailers into their digital closet, at one time and in a few seconds.  After that, every purchase you make from participating retailers is automatically synced to your closet online. It’s free for consumers and for retailers, and we think it’s going to change the industry!

Rohan Deuskar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Stylitics. He will speak at Decoded Fashion Forum on new approaches to forecasting trends. Follow him at @rohand