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Tag Archives: clothing

Lively raises $6.5M to bring its comfortable and inclusive lingerie to brick-and-mortar stores

Roy Raymond opened a little store called Victoria’s Secret, now one of the most popular lingerie businesses in the world, because he was embarrassed to buy lingerie for his wife in department stores. The brand was founded on the premise that men needed a safe space to buy lingerie for women and women needed a larger variety of sexy, angelic bras and other intimates to wear for men. But it’s 2018. Women, today, buy lingerie for themselves. They want to be comfortable and functional and beautiful all at the same time. “Victoria’s Secret was always about the angel and the fantasy and a lot of push up and wire so women’s bodies could conform to a marketing campaign,” said Michelle Cordeiro Grant, founder and CEO of direct-to-consumer lingerie startup Lively, and a former Victoria’s Secret senior merchant. “Inspiring women to be Candice Swanepoel is not feasible for most women in the world. I wanted to create a product that is for women and by women.” Recognizing the gap in the market for bras that don’t stab you with underwire, she built Lively. To date, the company has raised $15 million in venture capital funding, including a $6.5 million Series A investment from GGV Capital, NF Ventures and former Nautica CEO Harvey Sanders announced today.  “Previously, women had two rows of products in their drawer.  One row they wanted to be seen in … and the other row was ones that were more basic and comfortable — but no nobody wanted to be seen in them.” Though she began work on Lively before the #MeToo movement, Cordeiro Grant says it pushed the business forward in a big way. In the last year, the size-inclusive startup has seen 300 percent growth.

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Behind the turnaround that netted Vinted €50 million

It was May 2016 when Thomas Plantenga got the call. He was living in New York and working on projects with Fabrice Grinda — the co-founder of classified juggernaut OLX and the founder of FJ Labs. Plantenga had worked with Grinda on expanding OLX and was ready for the next challenge — which came in the form of the used clothing marketplace, Vinted . The invitation came from Insight Venture Partners and it was an offer to help work with one of their portfolio companies — a former high flyer that had fallen on hard times. “They sold me on the story,” said Plantenga on a call from Vilnius, Lithuania, where he moved to take the reins at the used clothing startup. “The business was completely burning down and I was hanging out with them,” said Plantenga. “In those five weeks I connected with both the co-founders and wrote a very aggressive plan of how to completely change things and really change the direction…  I said ‘fuck it.’ If you’re going to be betting everything and everyone on this… let’s stick around.”  Plantenga proposed severe austerity measures for the used clothing exchange. The company shuttered its offices in San Francisco, London, Munich and Paris, and slashed headcount from 240 to 150 and automated the processes of content moderation. There was a strategic shift in product development, as well. The company focused on trust and safety between buyers and sellers and concentrated on two core markets: Germany and France. And, as Milda Mitkute, the company’s co-founder, told Forbes in an article earlier this year , the company shifted from a mandatory sales fee to a free product with additional paid services (like promotional marketing on the platform for sellers). Between January and December 2017, Vinted processed $360 million in sales. The turnaround not only saved the company but had investors come knocking at the door.

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Movado Group acquires watch startup MVMT

The Movado Group, which sells multiple brands, including Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss, has purchased MVMT, a small watch company founded by Jacob Kassan and Kramer LaPlante in 2013. The company, which advertised heavily on Facebook, logged $71 million in revenue in 2017. Movado purchased the company for $100 million. “The acquisition of MVMT will provide us greater access to millennials and advances our Digital Center of Excellence initiative with the addition of a powerful brand managed by a successful team of highly creative, passionate and talented individuals,” Movado Chief Executive Efraim Grinberg said. MVMT makes simple watches for the millennial market in the vein of Fossil or Daniel Wellington. However, the company carved out a niche by advertising heavily on social media and being one of the first microbrands with a solid online presence. “It provides an opportunity to Movado Group’s portfolio as MVMT continues to cross-sell products within its existing portfolio, expand product offerings within its core categories of watches, sunglasses and accessories, and grow its presence in new markets through its direct-to-consumer and wholesale business,” said Grinberg. MVMT is well-known as a “fashion brand,” namely a brand that sells cheaper quartz watches that are sold on style versus complexity or cost. Their pieces include standard three-handed models and newer quartz chronographs.

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Body scanning app 3DLOOK raises $1 million to measure your corpus

3D body scanning systems have hit the big time after years of stops and starts. Hot on the heels of Original Stitch’s Bodygram , another 3D scanner, 3DLOOK , has entered into the fray with a $1 million investment to measure bodies around the world. The founders, Vadim Rogovskiy, Ivan Makeev, and Alex Arapovd, created 3DLOOK when they found that they could measure a human body using just a smartphone. The team found that other solutions couldn’t let them measure fits with any precision and depended on expensive hardware. “After more than six years of building companies in the ad tech industry I wanted to build something new which was not a commodity,” said Rogovskiy. “I wanted to overcome growth obstacles and I learned that the apparel industry had mounting return problems in e-commerce. 3DLOOK’s co-founders spent over a year on pure R&D and testing new approaches and combinations of different technologies before creating SAIA (Scanning Artificial Intelligence for Apparel) in 2016.” The team raised $400,000 to date and most recently raised a $1 million seed round to grow the company. The team also collects “fit profiles” and is able to supply these profiles based on “geographic location, age, and gender groups.” This means that 3DLOOK can give you exact sizes based on your scanned measurements and tell you how clothes will fit on your body. They have 20,000 profiles already and are working with eight paying customers and five large enterprise systems. Lemonade Fashion and Koviem are both using the platform. “3DLOOK is the first company that managed to build a technology that allows capturing human body measurements with just two casual photos, and plans to disrupt the market of online apparel sales, offering brands and small stores an API for desktop and SDK for mobile to gather clients measurements and build custom clothing proposals,” said Rogovskiy. “Additionally, the company collects the database of human body measurements so that brands could build better clothing for all types of body and solve fit and return problems. It will not only allow stores to sell more apparel, it will allow people get the quality apparel.” 3D scanners have gotten better and better over the years and it’s interesting to see companies being able to scan bodies just from a few photos. While these things can’t account for opinions of taste they can definitely make sure that your clothes fit before you order them.

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Original Stitch’s new Bodygram will measure your body

After years of teasing, Original Stitch has officially launched their Bodygram service and will be rolling it out this summer. The system can scan your body based on front and side photos and will create custom shirts with your precise measurements. “Bodygram gives you full body measurements as accurate as taken by professional tailors from just two photos on your phone. Simply take a front photo and a side photo and upload to our cloud and you will receive a push notification within minutes when your Bodygram sizing report is ready,” said CEO Jin Koh. “In the sizing report you will find your full body measurements including neck, sleeve, shoulder, chest, waist, hip, etc. Bodygram is capable of producing sizing result within 99 percent accuracy compared to professional human tailors.” gallery ids="1666969,1666970,1666971,1666972,1666973,1666974" The technology is a clever solution to the biggest problem in custom clothing: fit. While it’s great to find a service that will tailor your clothing based on your measurements, often these measurements are slightly off and can affect the cut of the shirt or pants. Right now, Koh said, his team offers free returns if the custom shirts don’t fit. Further, the technology is brand new and avoids many of the pitfalls of the original body-scanning tech. For example, Bodygram doesn’t require you to get into a Spandex onesie like most systems do and it can capture 40 measurements with only two full-body photos. “Bodygram is the first sizing technology that works on your phone capable of giving you highly accurate sizing result from just two photos with you wearing normal clothing on any background,” said Koh. “Legacy technologies on the market today require you to wear a very tight-fitting spandex suit, take 360 photos of you and require a plain background to work.

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Amazon Prime Wardrobe officially launches to all U.S. Prime members

Prime Wardrobe , Amazon’s “try before you buy” shopping service first  announced last summer , is officially out of beta and open to all Prime members in the U.S. as of today. The service has been gradually opening up to more customers over the course of the year, so many Prime members may have already had access before today’s official unveiling. Prime Wardrobe is Amazon’s answer to the increasingly popular personalized shopping services like Stitch Fix and Trunk, which send a curated box of clothing to customers on a regular basis. These services allow consumers to try on clothing and other items in the home, then keep what they like and send back the rest. However, Amazon’s service is more of a DIY version – instead of using stylists, you fill your own box with at least three and as many as eight items at a time. You then have a week to try on the items and return those you don’t want before being charged. Like many of its rivals, Prime Wardrobe isn’t just aimed at women – it features collections for men, children, and baby, too. The service is largely meant to help address one of the biggest problems with shopping for clothes online: fit. Clothing designers have their own interpretation of sizing, and it’s often difficult for shoppers to get a sense of how something will really look without trying it on. Items may be too short or long, too long or tight in some spots, or shoppers might have an issue with how the fabric feels, the draping, the hemline, the quality of the workmanship, and other concerns. Home try-on eliminates this obstacle to online clothing shopping, because it makes it easy to send items back when they don’t work. Not all of Amazon’s online inventory is included in Prime Wardrobe, which means you can’t just browse the site and pick anything you want for home try-on. Instead, you have to visit the Prime Wardrobe section to fill your box

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LIV is Kickstarting a beefy and bold chronograph for race lovers

LIV Watches is a crowdfunding darling with a number of Kickstarted watches under its belt. Now it’s offering a unique set of watches to backers, including the Liv Genesis GX-AC , an automatic chronograph with date. The watch runs a Sellita Caliber SW500, visible through the see-through back, and features a screw down crown and massive metal pushers. The company prides itself on the size of its watches and this piece is no exception. The GX-AC isn’t wildly big – at 46mm it’s just a bit bigger than most Android Wear watches – and it fits nicely thanks to a rounded rubber band that hugs the top and bottom of the case. There is a small running seconds hand at nine-o’clock and registers for minutes and hours at noon and six. gallery ids="1654222,1654220,1654219,1654218,1654217" If you’ve seen automatic chronographs before you know what you’re in for – a standard movement encased in a special steel case that is designed to appeal to a certain demographic. LIV is also Kickstarting a number of other watches, including a Day-Date chronograph that is flight-inspired and a diver, so check them out . However, if you’re into this piece then you’re in for a treat. It starts at $790, far below most mechanical chronographs I’ve seen, and the workmanship and quality of this piece is quite nice. I wore it a little over the past few weeks and found it very comfortable and easy to read. The running seconds hand is a bit small and the lume is limited to the pips and hands but as a fashion/everyday wear piece it’s excellent. If you particularly like the style – F1 racing meets Kylo Ren – then you’re probably going to like this thing and since they’ve already surpassed their goal and hit $602,000 you can expect delivery of your perk

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Google and Levi’s ‘connected’ jacket will let you know when your Uber is here

Remember Project Jacquard? Two years ago, Google showed off its “connected” jean jacket designed largely for bike commuters who can’t fiddle with their phone. The jacket launched this past fall , in partnership with Levi’s , offering a way for wearers to control music, screen phone calls, and get directions with a tap or brush of the cuff. Today, Google is adding more functionality to this piece of smart clothing, including support for ride-sharing alerts, Bose’s “ Aware Mode ,” and location saving. The features arrived in the Jacquard platform 1.2 update which hit this morning, and will continue to roll out over the week ahead. It’s sort of odd to see this commuter jacket adding ride-sharing support, given that its primary use case, so far, has been to offer a safer way to interact with technology when you can’t use your phone – namely, while biking, as showcased in the jacket’s promotional video. (See above). But with the ride-sharing support, it seems that Google wants to make the jacket more functional in general – even for those times you’re not actively commuting. To use the new feature, jacket owners connect Lyft and/or Uber in the companion mobile app, and assign the “rideshare” ability to the snap tag on the cuff. The jacket will then notify you when your ride is three minutes away and again when it has arrived. When users receive the notification, they can brush in from their jacket to hear more details about their ride. Another new addition is support for Bose’s Aware Mode , which picks up surrounding sounds and sends them to the user’s ear through supported headphones. The feature is helpful in terms of offering some noise reduction without losing the ability to hear important things happening around you – like approaching vehicles, horns, and other people, for example. Jacquard will now allow users to turn any gesture into a toggle for Aware Mode to turn it on or off for Bose’s QC30 and QC35 headphones. And lastly, the jacket will support being able to drop a pin on the map to save a location then see, share or edit it from the app’s Activity screen

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Kidbox raises $15.3 million for its personalized children’s clothing box

Kidbox , a clothing-in-a-box startup aimed at a slightly younger crowd than StitchFix, has raised $15.3 million in Series B funding to expand and scale its business. The round was led by Canvas Ventures, and includes participation from existing investors Firstime Ventures and HDS Capital, as well as new strategic partners Fred Langhammer, former CEO of The  Est ée Lauder Companies Inc., and The Gindi Family, owners of Century 21 department stores. To date, Kidbox has raised $28 million. The company was founded in October, 2015, then shipped its first box of clothing out of beta testing during the back-to-school shopping season the next year. Similar to StitchFix, Kidbox also curates a selection of around half a dozen pieces of clothing and other accessories (but not shoes), which are based on a child’s “style profile” filled out online by mom or dad. The profile asks for the child’s age, sizes, and questions about the child’s clothing preferences – like what colors they like and don’t like, as well as other styles to avoid – like if you have a child who hates wearing dresses, for example, or one who has an aversion to the color orange. “Those answers  feed into a proprietary algorithm –   we’re very data science and tech focused,” explains Kidbox CEO Miki Berardelli. “That   algorithm hits up against our product catalog at any given moment, and presents to our human   styling team the perfect box for – just as an example, a size 7 sporty boy. And from there, the styling team looks at the box that’s been served up, the customer’s history, if they’re a repeat customer, the customer’s geography, and any notes the customer added to their account,” she says. The box is then put together and shipped to the customer. Berardelli previously worked at Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, and was President of Digital Commerce for Chico’s (Chico’s, White House Black Market, and Soma). She joined Kidbox in September 2016, after meeting founder Haim Dabah while he was searching for Kidbox’s CEO.

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Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet just launched a venture firm

In 2015, the fashion world was abuzz when Natalie Massenet, who founded the highly disruptive e-commerce fashion company Net-a-Porter , suddenly exited the scene weeks before a merger was sealed between NAP, as it is called, and Yoox, an Italy-based discount fashion e-tailer and e-commerce services company. According to an expose written soon afterward, Massenet left because she didn’t have much say in the matter. Luxury industry giant Compagnie Financière Richemont, which acquired a majority stake in Net-a-Porter back in 2010, didn’t give her one despite that Massenet thought the deal undervalued NAP. (In January, Richemont spent more than $3 billion  acquiring the shares of the combined company that it didn’t already own.) Fast forward three years and Massenet is back and in a role where she has plenty of say in a lot of things: as a venture capitalist. Indeed, today, she’s taking the wraps off her year-old firm, Imaginary Ventures , which she cofounded early last year with investor Nick Brown, and that just closed on $75 million in capital commitments for its debut fund. The idea behind the vehicle is to back early-stage opportunities at the intersection of retail and technology in both Europe, where Massenet is based and the U.S., where Brown spent the last six years, working as a partner at 14W , a New York-based venture firm that focuses on consumer tech in the fashion and e-commerce sectors. Among Brown’s deals: the shoe company Allbirds, and the eyewear company Warby Parker. Others of 14W’s many bets include Reformation, Moda Operandi, Goop, The RealReal, Maple, Lola, and Outdoor Voices. “Nick and I have been good friends for a long time, and would spend hours discussing our shared view of the consumer retail space, and where the industry was headed,” Massenet tells us of how the two came together. “It was during an initial conversation over lunch that the idea for Imaginary started to come together: let’s build a fund focused on early-stage businesses obsessed with the consumer, and help create the global retail brands and platforms of the future.” “At 14W,” Brown adds, “I felt that the rapid changes we were seeing in retail were only just beginning.

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Gwynnie Bee is bringing subscription clothing rental to traditional retailers with launch of ‘CaaStle’

Gwynnie Bee , a subscription service offering women an “unlimited closet” of clothing for rent, believes its model is one that can be expanded to traditional retailers, too. And today, it’s officially taking the wraps off a new technology platform which will allow retailers to offer a subscription clothing rental business alongside their existing channels. The platform is cleverly dubbed “ CaaStle ” – the name referencing “Clothing as a Service” (itself a play on subscription-as-a-service, or SaaS). It offers retailers a turnkey solution where all aspects of the subscription business – including the website, the databases, the logistics, the cleaning, returns, packing, shipping, and more – are handled. CaaStle is actually something founder and CEO Christine Hunsicker had envisioned from the beginning, she says. “When we first started the company, this was the goal – build the platform and the technology that would power a new economy for retail,” Hunsicker says. “From day one, we were building this, but we had to prove the model would work. We also had to have a way to prove that we could do it right – that we could ship boxes and process inventory – so we brought up Gwynnie Bee as our first service on top of CaaStle,” she explains. Founded in 2011, Gwynnie Bee is a clothing rental service that originally served the plus-sized women’s clothing market, but expanded at the end of January 2018 to include sizes 0 through 8, as well. (It does so in a different way than most, however – it only adds the smaller sizes for items that are available from 0 through 24, as a means of encouraging brands to make more plus-sized apparel.) The company plays in a larger market of clothing rental businesses, several of which are on the upswing. Rent the Runway, for example, just raised $20 million from Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Joe Tsai; Le Tote just became the first U.S. subscription service to enter China. Gwynnie Bee doesn’t share its subscriber numbers or other metrics publicly, but says it’s doing better in terms of that ideal 3:1 ratio for SaaS companies – the Customer Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Ratio , that is – which is a crucial measure of a successful subscription business. Above: CaaStle homepage With CaaStle, retailers simply send Gwynnie Bee their inventory, and the rest is handled. Gwynnie Bee builds the front-end site under the retailer’s name

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Researchers find the best way to press a button

When all you have is a finger everything looks like a button . But what happens if you’re unable to press buttons or, more likely, we begin using robots and other tools to interact with the real world? That’s what researchers at Aalto University, Finland, and KAIST, South Korea wanted to find out when they started examining how humans tap buttons. “This research was triggered by admiration of our remarkable capability to adapt button-pressing”, said Professor Antti Oulasvirta at Aalto University. “We push a button on a remote controller differently than a piano key. The press of a skilled user is surprisingly elegant when looked at terms of timing, reliability, and energy use. We successfully press buttons without ever knowing the inner workings of a button. It is essentially a black box to our motor system. On the other hand, we also fail to activate buttons, and some buttons are known to be worse than others.” During their study, they assessed the push buttons – buttons with actual travel – were more usable than touch buttons and that the best buttons were the ones that reacted at time of maximum impact. The researchers created something called “Impact Activation.” These buttons activate only when they are fully pressed, thereby ensuring that users will know exactly when they are and are not tapping a key on a keyboard or even a musical instrument.

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