Fashion Tech 101: Overview of B2C Company Types

I’ve been writing about different topics on fashion tech for over a year now, but have never really created a general article, overviewing the fashion technology start up scene. During my first meetup last week, I presented a summary of this fascinating space, introduced the different types of fashion tech start ups out there and why they are important for the development of fashion industry in general. After my talk, the attendees had a lively discussion on several key themes, as well got to a consensus that sustainability and conscious consumption should be an essential part of any fashion tech company’s vision today.

In this article, I created a no-frills overview of what types of companies are operating under what we understand as “fashion tech start ups” umbrella. I’ve starting with a list of B2C (business to consumer) companies, and in my next newsletter, I am going to complete this Fashion Tech 101 mini-series with B2B company types.

Fashion tech companies are those that focus on developing an outstanding technology solutions to serve their consumers needs and/or address a certain problem that can be solved using certain technology.

WEARABLES: Devices (clothing or accessories) that can be worn on a human’s body, providing notifications, activity tracking, mindfulnes reminders, safety features. Top Examples: Ringly, Fitbit, Misfit, Bellabeat, Siren, Nimb, Cutecircuit, NadiX.

Ringly, Bellabeat, Siren, Nimb

CUSTOMIZATION: Vertically-integrated brands that provide some level of customization to the final consumer. Top Examples: Thursday’s Finest, Bow&Drape, Shoes of Prey, Paom, True Gault, Frame&Partners.

Thursday’s Finest, Bow&Drape, Shoes of Prey, Paom

MARKETPLACES: E-commerce or shopping aggregators, where multiple brands’ products are offered under one store, featuring a universal checkout or simply product aggregators. Top Examples: Spring, Farfetch, Lyst, Shoptiques, The Hunt, Where to Get It, ShopStyle, Mallzee

Spring, Farfetch, Lyst

MARKETPLACES + FASHION IMAGE RECOGNITION TOOLS: E-commerce or shopping aggregators that use artificial intelligence for visual search for similar or compatible fashion products. Top Examples: LikeToKnow It, ASAP 54, Donde, Amazon Echo Look.

LikeToKnow It, ASAP 54, Donde, Amazon Echo Look

Marketplaces + Production: E-commerce or shopping aggregators that cover production services for brands’ orders. Top Examples: Nineteenth Amendment, Shapeways.

Nineteenth Amendment, Shapeways

Second Hand / Peer-to-Peer Platforms: E-commerce that let users resell their worn fashion products to fellow shoppers. Top Examples: RealReal, Poshmark, Tradesy, Vinted, ThreadUp

RealReal, Poshmark, Vinted

Wardrobe Digitalization / Personal Stylist: technology that catalogs all photos of your clothing and creates and recommends looks from them. Think wardrobe from the movie Clueless. Top Examples: ClosetSpace, Stylicious, Stylebook, Polyvore.

ClosetSpace, Stylicious, Stylebook, Polyvore.

Personal Shopper / Offline Shopping Navigators: platforms that provide stylist services and shopping advice on demand. Top Examples: The Fashion Jungle, HangRr, PS Dept., Mona.

The Fashion Jungle, HangRr, PS Dept., Mona.

Subscription: companies that make you pay monthly to receive a box or a digital service, curated “just for you”. Top Examples: BirchBox, StitchFix, Fabletics, Trunk Club.

BirchBox, StitchFix, Fabletics, Trunk Club.

Sharing Economy: companies that provide renting of clothing and accessories. Top Examples: Rent The Runway, Le Tote, StyleLend, Gwynnie Bee.

Rent The Runway, Le Tote, StyleLend

Bots / AI: Messenger bots that give you fashion advice or assist you with shopping navigation. Top Examples: Epytom, eBay ShopBot, Fashion Bot by GoFind.ai, Mode.ai.

Epytom, eBay ShopBot, Fashion Bot by GoFind.ai, Mode.ai.

On-Demand Services: Any miscellaneous Uber-type companies that do something for you on demand. On demand tailor services, wardrobe cleaning, styling services, etc. Top Examples: Air Tailor, Fitz.

Air Tailor, Fitz

Important final note on B2C companies: Everything is MOBILE in form of an app or a responsive web design — not even worth mentioning for each company, whether it’s an app or a website. EVERYTHING is (or should be) mobile today.

In my next article, I’ve created a similar overview of all fashion-tech related B2B company types. Read it here.

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