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© 2018 by TechLovesStyle

Tech Entrepreneurs Are Transforming Online Fashion (Financial Times)

December 30, 2019

 



As I write this column, I am awaiting a package from the online men’s clothing recommendation service, Thread. I am no dandy, but as an older man competing in a young person’s world, I like outwardly not to appear too much of a fossil.

Plus, I hate shopping and find it time-consuming. The other week, I needed a specific item quickly for an event and spent four hours traipsing around London looking for the right size and colour. The thought occurred repeatedly that, other than at the Primark end of the market and luxury stores, physical clothing shops are just too haphazard and inefficient.

No wonder, then, that tech entrepreneurs are piling into online fashion with apps and clever takes on online selling, such as Thread.

The story is the same each time. Smart, young entrepreneurs with no clothing background finding holes in the market — big, and not so big — to darn with technology.

As a pretty delighted Thread customer on grounds of convenience, price and what I cautiously call style, I went to their east London HQ to see what lies under their bonnet. It turned out that I am not the only client of my algorithm-assisted — but real — “personal stylist”. Each of the ten stylists at Thread serves tens of thousands of UK customers, plus a growing cohort in the US.

Thread is relatively mature in this market at seven years old and has £32.4m of investment behind it, much of which comes from Hennes & Mauritz. Tim Grimsditch, Thread’s chief marketing officer, explains wryly why clothing and tech is such a neat pairing. “There are just so many reasons to wear clothes,” he said with a smile. “It’s actually illegal to be naked in public. And men feel they’re more judged on appearance than their fathers’ generation. So the menswear market in the UK alone is worth £15bn, and is five times bigger in the US.”

Thread’s custom algorithm, Thimble, churns data and matches 50,000 product lines to 250,000 active customers. It learns whether we are chubby or hate logos, and with the stylists’ help assesses if our “look” is more “indie band” or “heritage”.

The still newer tech clothing companies are more exotic and often more millennial-focused than a mere machine-learning personal shopper. Drest and the soon-to-launch Ada address the high-end luxury market through the seemingly unlikely mechanism of an interactive game of placing clothes on an avatar of yourself in fantasy settings.

A Singapore-based company, Browzzin, has a model, already soft-launched in the UK, that is either genius or too clever by half. It enables millennials who post Instagram photos of themselves to monetise their narcissism — if someone clicks on the photo, they can buy the outfit, or a similar one chosen by AI. For each purchase, the millennial gets a rake-off between 2 per cent and 30 per cent for some luxury offerings.

“If you love my photo, you can shop my photo. It’s almost like running your own store,” 29-year-old co-founder Zean Vo told me. Previously, I met a Zurich tech company, Meepl, whose app measures your body with two smartphone photos and then connects you with vendors, who will sell you clothes that fit perfectly. Working in Austria and Germany, the idea is to improve the sustainability of fashion by reducing the 30 per cent of clothing that gets returned — most of which, Meepl co-founder Ferdinand Metzler says, ends up as landfill.

 

 

 

The full article read on the Financial Times

 

 

 

 

科技企业家正在改变在线时尚(Financial Times)

 

在撰写本专栏文章时,我正在等待线上男装推荐服务 Thread 的包裹。我可不是花花公子,但作为一个在

年轻人的世界中竞争的年长男人,我喜欢外表跟上潮流。

 

另外,我讨厌购物,觉得很耗时。前一周,我需要一个特定的物品来进行活动,并花了四个小时在伦敦各

地游荡,寻找合适的尺寸和颜色。反复出现的想法是,除了在高端市场和奢侈品商店之外,实体服装店太

杂乱无章且效率低下。

 

因此,难怪技术企业家正通过应用程序和在线销售(例如 Thread)的巧妙组合涌入在线时尚。

每个故事都是一样的。没有服装背景的聪明、年轻的企业家在市场上发现了很大的漏洞,也不是很大,可

以用技术来弥补。

 

基于方便、价格和我谨慎称呼为时尚的 Thread 客户,我去了他们位于伦敦东部的总部,看看他们到底是

什么。事实证明,我并不是算法也就是真正的“个人造型师”辅助的唯一客户。 Thread 的十位造型师中

的每位都为成千上万的英国客户提供服务,并且在美国的人数也在不断增长。

 

Thread 在这个市场上已有 7 年的历史,相对成熟,并拥有 3240 万英镑的投资,其中大部分来自 Hennes

&Mauritz。 Thread 的首席营销官 Tim Grimsditch 解释了为什么服装和科技是如此完美的搭配。他笑着

说:“穿衣服的原因太多了。” “在公共场合裸身实际上是非法的。而且男人觉得他们比外祖辈对外貌的

判断力更高。因此,仅英国的男装市场就价值 150 亿英镑,是美国的五倍。

 

Thread 的自定义算法 Thimble 打乱数据,并将 50,000 条产品线匹配到 250,000 位活跃客户。它可以了

解我们是胖还是讨厌 logo,并借助设计师的帮助来评估我们的“外观”是更“独立乐队”还是“复古”。

与单纯的机器学习型个人购物者相比,那些仍较新的高科技服装公司更具异国风情,并且往往更加注重千

禧人群。Drest 和即将推出的 Ada 通过看似不太可能的互动游戏机制,将衣服放在幻想环境中的化身上,

从而占领了高端奢侈品市场。

 

总部位于新加坡的 Browzzin 公司拥有一个已经在英国进行了软启动的模型,该模型实在是天才。它使发

布了 Instagram 照片的千禧一代能够将自己的自恋货币化-如果有人单击照片,他们可以购买服装或 AI 选

择的类似服装。对于每笔购买,千禧一代在某些奢侈品产品中可获得 2%到 30%的收益。

 

“如果你喜欢我的照片,则可以购买我的照片。这几乎就像经营自己的商店一样。”现年 29 岁的联合创始

人 Zean Vo 告诉我。之前,我遇到了苏黎世的一家科技公司 Meepl,该公司的应用程序通过两张智能手机

照片测量你的身体,然后将你与供应商联系起来,后者将向你出售非常合适的衣服。 Meepl 联合创始人

Ferdinand Metzler 说,在奥地利和德国工作的想法是通过减少 30%退回的衣服来提高时尚的可持续性,

其中大部分最终被当作垃圾填埋场。

 

 

 

The full article read on the Financial Times

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