Tech Entrepreneurs Are Transforming Online Fashion (Financial Times)


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, mu