For the last few years many different fashion startups have caught the attention of venture capital firms which has helped them to grow in to the success they are today. With Firms such as Nasty Gal, ShoeDazzle, Gilt Groupe, Moda Operandi are just a few that have made it big with the help of some generous investments. These large funding recipients have proven that if you have a unique idea that has potential that it can be turned into something great. However, is it possible that some of these fashion startup ideas are getting more attention than they should?
Brandon Fail, designer and founder of the popular social shopping mall known as “The Shoplift” recently wrote a blog post about various fashion ideas that caused him to be a bit skeptical. Some of the startups that tend to make him frown upon include those that make claims to an algorithm which can determine a customer’s preferences based on Twitter or Facebook data. In reality no one really gives away enough information on these social media sites to actually allow a company to pin point what our true taste in accessories, clothes and other products is.
He also frowns upon fashion startups that say they can determine what a customer will by based on the clothing that they are wearing in a photo that is found on social media sites. In addition he also finds that fashion startups that make claims that they can correct the fit problem that is apparent in online shopping. Fail goes on to say that the real problem is the sizing inconsistency in various brands and styles. To shorten the list of problems it revolves around the silly single numbers in the women clothing system, subjectivity to taste or what looks good on different people, body shapes the changes to their bodies after pregnancy or weight gains. The inconsistency found in the system and ill-fitting expectations cause sizes to be wrong.
While he chose not to mention examples of who he had in mind there are plenty out there that are easy to spot. For example one of the more recent recipients that received funding was Fits.me which received nearly $7.2 million in Series A funding which will be used to increase the virtual fitting room in Europe and a United States push in the future.
Regardless of whether his opinions are right or wrong on the fit issues there is one thing that is fact and that is that fashion startups are literally raking in the millions. One example is Gilt which has brought in nearly $221M, Nasty Gal for $49M and many others that have brought in comparable investments. You will need to draw your own conclusion on which startups should get the attention of the bigger investors and which ones should be shunned but one thing is for sure and that is that fashion startups are in no danger of being put on the back burner or not receiving funding from those that see them as a wise investment.