Giving Apparel its 2.0 Moment: The/Studio’s Digital Transformation of Fashion Supply Chain

Preeti Rathi

Today The/Studio announced 11 Million in Series A funding, with Ignition Partners leading the round. We are excited to partner with Joseph Heller, CEO and founder as well as the entire The/Studio team to tackle digital transformation of fashion supply chain. From a high level, Ignition invests in startups building transformational technology for verticals still in the analog era, and The/Studio fits this thesis.

“Digital transformation” is a term you hear a lot these days in Silicon Valley. Almost every industry — from travel, to taxis and car-sharing, to food delivery — has been transformed. However, one of the industries that until now has remained relatively untouched is fashion supply chain. The need is there: mass audiences have split into smaller high-value niche markets, customers expect products right away, trends have changed and ethical sourcing has become an essential.

Bringing Manufacturing to the Cloud

No one in Silicon Valley has tried to truly solve the problem of making manufacturing easily accessible on the cloud. The/Studio began as an e-Commerce company built on top of a proprietary cloud platform providing real-time data, advanced analytics and automation to power their own custom manufacturing business. They’re now bringing this revolutionary technology platform to individuals and enterprises of all sizes, solving supply chain issues and providing on-demand, cloud-based infrastructure to disrupt an industry that hasn’t seen significant change in 50+ years.

The Studio is doing for fashion supply chain what Uber did for taxis — it connects brands that need products with manufacturing capacity, instantly. The digital transformation of fashion supply chain is about much more than providing visibility into the previously opaque ordering process. It’s about allowing customers to get their orders in a very short period of time rather than the months long period that was needed previously, and receiving it in the way it was envisioned, as opposed to a botched design that a brand and their customers are now stuck with.

Using The Studio’s software, fashion brands can order their products from an online dashboard — the company then uses its algorithms to identify which of its factories can fulfill the order the best based on a set of tailored criteria. It also offers a dashboard whereby a fashion brand can track the progress of its order and know exactly when will it arrive on its doorstep. The/Studio continually on-boards factories and adds new ones based on the demand.

The Twin Factors and Manufacturing On-Demand

The/Studio is building a supply chain for the 21st Century where anyone can manufacture on-demand. One very important factor that cannot be ignored is the effect that social media has had consumers, resulting in what’s known as “fast fashion.” Consumers now want new designs every few weeks — a departure from the “trends for this season” mentality — and also want to own something that is bespoke, and “small-batch”, and not mass-produced. The combination of the twin factors of “fast fashion” and “small-batch” has moved agility and nimbleness in manufacturing from a nice-to-have to a must-have.

Looking to the Future

The/Studio was born out of the desire to meet the changing needs of consumers and give apparel its 2.0 moment and hasalready worked with some of the world’s most famous fashion brands, museums, tech giants and influencers, offering the much required agility and nimbleness. Ignition Partners is looking forward to taking these next steps with Joseph Heller and the entire The/Studio team.

If you have an emerging digital transformation technology startup for Enterprise and would like to discuss, please get in touch preeti@ignition.vc