Unbeknownst to many, the fashion technology industry has been around for a long time. The use of technology to acquire fashion items (i.e. via the internet) has been around since the 1990s.
In the past, funding and press have centered around fashion technology companies in the e-commerce space:
- Gilt Groupe, who received $236 million in 6 rounds of funding between 2007-2011, and will have an initial public offering before the end of 2014
- Asos, an online fast-fashion retailer, is currently valued at $6.9 billion
- Rent the Runway, who received $54.4 million in 3 rounds between 2010-2013
- Dallas-based RewardStyle — an online-based monetization tool for style publishers
However in recent years, a new crop of fashion tech companies are sprouting up everywhere. These companies make fashion and beauty more accessible to users while simultaneously delivering a personalized shopping experience.
The sub-industries getting a lot of attention include: virtual fitting rooms, on-demand fitting and styling (think Uber for styling services), wearable technology, and use of data and retail analytics to influence a user’s shopping experience.
These companies are also getting generous funding from investors:
- New York based on-demand beauty company, Glam Squad, raised $9 million in two rounds of funding in 2014 alone.
- Dallas based competitor to Glam Squad, Blownaway, secured a six figure investment from Angels of Texas Network.
- Metail, a virtual fitting room service for fashion retailers, has also raised $19.5 million in 3 rounds of funding between 2011 and 2014.
- Qubit, an e-commerce analytics company has raised $34.9 million in funding between 2010 and 2014.
Major fashion hotzones, New York and London, are getting in on all the action in this new generation Fashion Technology industry. Technology headquarters, Silicon Valley, is also home to many fashion startups and fashion-focused accelerator companies.
According to a recent report by from JLL, Dallas ranked third in technology-related jobs only behind Silicon Valley and the Boston area. As mentioned above, Silicon Valley is already a player in the Fashion Technology sphere — will Dallas and Boston follow suit?
Only time will tell.