The Fashion District, in collaboration with the Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, UAL, has named retail disrupter Lone Design Club as the overall winner of the second edition of its Retail Futures competition.
The innovation challenge prize sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield called upon fashion and tech companies to bring new tech solutions for the industry’s challenges and drive future growth in the fashion industry. The prize focused on SMEs who believe that their business could change the way we shop in the future or revolutionise the retail supply chain.
Rebecca Morter, founder of the Lone Design Club, was crowned the overall winner of the Retail Futures 2020 prize for its innovative retail approach to connect independent sustainable brands to the conscious consumer through experiential physical and digital retailing.
As the winner, Lone Design Club takes home a 15,000-pound cash prize, as well as technology and business support from IBM to develop their business plan, a 12-month membership at The Trampery Fish Island Village, one of Fashion Districts studio sites in East London and a year membership with Stylus, the competitions trends partners, who will provide essential industry consumer insights.
Commenting on the win, Morter, the chief executive and founder of Lone Design Club, said in a statement: “We are beyond shocked, excited and grateful to win the Fashion District prize. This couldn’t have come at a better time for us, with lockdown kicking off.
“Our pop up stores having to close, like many independent businesses we were worried about the next few months and how we would continue to support our brands - we are on a mission to digitally deeper amplify our designer stories, sustainable brands and our unique in-store experience! Thanks to the Fashion District and all involved, it means we now have the resources to truly revolutionise digital retail!”
Retail Futures 2020 names winner and two runner-ups
This year’s competition had 14 shortlisted finalists from a pool of 88 entries, offering a range of solutions that include new AR and 3D digital customer experiences, marketplaces for sustainable fashion, black-owned businesses and rental menswear, as well as AI to optimise retail and supply chain efficiency.
Each finalist had to present a business pitch and Lone Design Club highlighted their work within the retail sector, cutting through the noise of the saturated fast‐fashion market and shaking up the conventional shopping experience by challenging traditional retail offerings whilst supporting small businesses. The retail disrupter highlighted how they were enhancing in-store retail experiences by adopting digital methods including live stream shopping events.
As well as an overall winner, Retail Futures 2020 awarded two runners-up prizes to Irene-Marie Seelig and Matthew Pril from AnamXR, and Maria Makrova and Irina Khaykina from Gfaive, who each received a 5,000 pounds cash prize. Benedicta Banga also received a special commendation for Blaqbase.
Helen Lax, director at Fashion District, added: “This year Retail Futures has unearthed new tech solutions that have responded to our biggest challenges, supporting the supply chain to tackle sustainability and bringing the customer both product choice and digital experience. 2020 has given rise to a whole host of inspiring and resilient start-ups.”
Harita Shah, director of brand, creative, media, comms and events, Unibail Rodamco-Westﬁeld, said: “There have been some truly innovative ideas and solutions put forward by the SMEs. 2020 has been a year of huge acceleration of trends which has fostered creativity and ingenuity – just what we need to explore and reshape the industry going forward.”
Image: courtesy of Lone Design Club