Online shopping continues to be a strong market. Platforms such as the startup Runway2Street merge international luxury fashion and technology, and marries tech and cross-border fashion in a unique way.
This article is featured in O'Dwyer's Sep. '16 Beauty/Fashion & Lifestyle PR Magazine
“Cross-border commerce is expected to reach $1 trillion in 2020 and Runway2Street — helmed by ex-Microsoft employee Rathna Sharad — is in an ideal position to serve cross-border brands and customers thanks to its first-of-its-kind fully automated global logistics platform,” said Termeh Mazhari, PR, Marketing and SEO Consultant. “Basically, they’re the only fashion marketplace that makes cross-border commerce possible, anywhere-to-anywhere,” said Mazhari.
Runway2Street has a sophisticated, patent-pending logistics platform that solves the problem of import duties taxes and automates it across all products based on where the customer is located and the brand is located, in real-time.
“Their routing engine is also able to determine the best way to ship a product from anywhere-to-anywhere in three to five business days with ZERO paperwork necessary for brands or the customers,” Mazhari said.
Another brand using technology to sell fashion is leading online personal styling service Stitch Fix, which combines technology and personal styling, allowing customers to receive the most curated and personalized items that fit their taste, lifestyle and budget.
“By combining the intelligence of more than 50 data scientists and on-trend knowledge of more than 2,000 stylists, Stitch Fix provides a Fix that is a perfect fit for each customer,” said Alyssa Handschuh, Account Executive at Kaplow. “The service uses high tech and style to create a highly personalized experience that is transforming the personal styling experience.”
According to Amy Carter, VP of Marketing and Customer Relations at The Leather Shop, “We are the only custom-fit shoe company in the entire world who can provide a professional fitting online. Our customers take pictures of their feet (while standing on a specific sheet of paper) and email them to us. We in turn run those images through our one-of-a-kind software program which reports back to us very accurate measurements of the customers’ feet.”
The Leather Shop creates a disposable pair of “test shoes” to ship to the customer. The customer will then try on the shoes and email a “Fit Evaluation Form” and then handcraft their final shoes based on that report. The entire process can be completed in as little as six weeks.
Wearable tech is also prominent. Eyewear e-retailer EyeBuyDirect combines style and technology with its Eyezen digital protection lenses. Eyezen lenses feature unique blue light filtering technology to shield eyes from the negative effects from digital screens, and effectively filters the blue light to reduce eye strain, eye fatigue, prevent headaches and even help improve sleep.
According to Be Social PR Founder Ali Grant, “With the convergence of tech and fashion, entrepreneurs and designers are finding new ways to make the accessories we wear smarter without compromising style. In the PR world, we spend increasingly more time interacting with digital screens, from laptops to iPhones. The line proves the exacting mix of fashion and tech, featuring unique blue light filtering technology to shield eyes from the negative effects from digital screens.”
Sustainable style through technology
AEON ROW is a brand that is transforming the sustainable shopping experience. They offer low-stress fashions at affordable prices made from recycled fabrics.
“Our Alternate Endings program empowers customers to close the loop on clothing waste by rewarding them for recycling old clothing with each purchase,” said Founder and CEO Griffin Vanze.
When asked how technology is currently influencing fashion trends, Vanze said, “One thing we’ve seen is that recycled fabrics are democratizing ecofashion. Recycled fabrics don’t use water, dyes, or land to be produced. This saves overhead costs, and these savings can be passed onto customers.”
Vanze also stressed that the affordability of recycled fabric opens ecofashion up to a new market of customers who could not afford expensively priced items made from premium sustainable fabrics like organic cotton.
“Clothing recycling lets customers take an active role in sustainable actions other than making a purchase,” Vanze said.
Fashion design meets technology
“Technology has had a profound impact on the fashion industry, specifically with the introduction of digital printing, which is now a $7.5 billion market, said Duane Brozek, Senior Manager of Public Relations of Epson America, Inc.
Over the last five years, dye-sublimation and direct-to-garment printing has garnered popularity among fashion designers by providing the means to create and print individual designs. “Within the fashion industry, Epson has left a lasting impression with our annual Digital Couture event held during Fashion Week in New York City,” said Brozek. “Fueling the future of digital printing in the textile industry, Digital Couture is a runway experience that showcases designers’ collections created with Epson’s dye-sublimation printing technology. It provides an ideal PR opportunity to showcase how technology influences the fashion industry in a tangible way.”
Tech luggage is in demand
Luggage, an extension of fashion choices, saw the Barracuda bag of Barracuda Co raise $2 million last year via crowdfunding as well as pre-orders from more than 40 countries around the world and it’s now available to the general market.
“It’s the world’s first collapsible luggage that can slide under a bed or hang in a closet. The bag combines functionality with style. We are very excited about bringing Barracuda to market after the overwhelming response to our crowdfunding campaign,” said Barracuda Founder Boban Jose. “We know there is a huge demand for technological yet stylish products that provide a great level of convenience.”
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Adrienne Jordan is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer based in New York. She has contributed to publications such as USA Today, The Washington Times, and Just Luxe.