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London’s Fashion District announces the fourteen tech start-ups shortlisted for Retail Futures 2020

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Retail Futures 2020: Fashion District Innovation Challenge Prize sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, aims to develop the retail-tech innovations to transform retail as we know it Using new technologies including, AI, 3D, AR, the start-ups are bringing new customer experiences, sustainability and efficiency to the retail supply chain to help retail get back on its feet.

The Fashion District, in collaboration with the Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, UAL, is pleased to announce its shortlist for the second edition of ‘Retail Futures’.

The Innovation Challenge Prize calls upon fashion and tech companies to bring new tech solutions for the industry’s challenges and drive future growth in the fashion industry. It is focused on SMEs who believe that their business could change the way we shop in the future or revolutionise the retail supply chain.

This year, shortlisted SMEs are competing to win a cash prize of £15,000 to invest in their idea and two runners-up will receive £5,000 each, sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The winner will receive a 12-month membership with Stylus, our trends partner, providing access to cross-industry consumer insight and access to the Stylus Trends Intelligence Summit. IBM will provide the winner with technology/business advice and a bespoke action plan. All three winners will receive one-year desk memberships at The Trampery Fish Island Village, Europe’s largest campus dedicated to sustainable fashion and innovation.

The shortlist was selected from 88 applications from around the world by our high-profile panel of industry experts: Harita Shah, Director of Brand, Creative, Media, Comms & Events at Unibail Rodamco-Westfield; Julian Burnett, VP Global Markets – Distribution at IBM; Remo Gettini, CTO at Depop; Carolin Wais, Venture Associate – Retail, Plug and Play; Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, UAL.

The start-ups are offering up a range of solutions that include new AR & 3D digital customer experiences, marketplaces for sustainable fashion, black-owned businesses and rental menswear, as well as AI to optimise retail & supply chain efficiency. The 14 finalists are listed below (see notes to editors):

1. Alpha AR
2. AnamXR
3. Blaqbase
4. Cerebra Technologies
5. Compare Ethics
6. DOV
7. Favourup

8. Little Black Door
9. Lone Design Club
10. Garmentry
11. Gfaive
12. Presize
13. RoundRack
14. Skinz

In addition, six other businesses were awarded highly commended for the calibre of their ideas and potential to innovate within industry:

1. AskLili
2. By Rotation

4. IVA
5. Own-Kind
6. Personify XP

The finalists will be attending a one day event in October where high-level industry professionals will act as ‘critical friends’ to support and challenge their business propositions, and provide constructive feedback before they pitch at the finals on November 5th. Critical Friends include representatives from: Farfetch, Yoox-Net-a-Porter, Founders Factory, Tech Nation, True, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Stylus, IBM, Fashion Innovation Agency, London Waste and Recycling Board, Podmore Consulting & Lewis Silken.

Harita Shah – Director of Brand, Creative, Media, Comms & 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. URW is proud to be working with Fashion District again this year on Retail Futures 2020 and investing in the future of retail.”

Julian Burnett - VP Global Markets, Distribution, IBM said: “IBM are thrilled to be part of a London eco-system of future fashion innovators that together have the potential to disrupt the way retail does business. The best innovations are about originality of idea, the reality of the problem solved and the opportunity it realises, and we are excited at what this year’s cohort has to offer.”

Remo Gettini – CTO, Depop said: “"The next generation of fashion creators and technology innovators have the power to unlock the future of fashion – that’s what Depop has championed from the start. As consumer needs evolve faster than ever, fashion's innovation will be unleashed by agile and adaptive start-ups which can combine deep understanding and insight with forward, purpose-led thinking. We’re excited to support Fashion District’s Retail Futures 2020 and celebrate the future of fashion innovation.”

Carolin Wais - Venture Associate for Brand and Retail, Plug and Play, said: “The best ideas are often born in times of crisis, and COVID-19 has accelerated the move towards online and tech, boosting transformation. Investing in innovation is more important than ever, and Plug And Play is eager to explore the latest retail-tech and help start-ups realise their business potential.”

Author: Fashion District
Photo Credit: Fashion District

Digital Fashion
Fashion District
Fashion Prize
Futures 2020
Press Release