Fashion Week just concluded in Toronto, putting some of Canada’s top designers on display during a week of runway events, cocktail parties, and some serious networking. Thanks to online classifieds firm Fashion Forward, five tech-savvy fashion startups were on display alongside all the outrageous concept dresses. Whether they create online marketplaces, facilitate others to swap their clothes, or encourage the creation of a fully virtual wardrobe, we take a look at these Toronto startups showing off the new “tech couture” trend.
Fashion Forward was started in Toronto by Jodi Goodfellow after she realized her condo just didn’t have enough space for rapidly expanding wardrobe. Rather than just dump her older threads at a local thrift store, she decided to sell them online, but wasn’t satisfied there was a great place to do that. So she created Fashion Forward as a buy-and-sell online marketplace for clothes and accessories, launching in June 2012. The site offers free accounts and is more like Craigslist than eBay, offering classified listings and allowing members to arrange for the exchange of money and goods on their own terms.
Hangrz is a Web site and browser tool set that lets you manage a virtual closet. Members of this network are encouraged to save items from online stores or fashion blogs to a virtual wardrobe and check out the wardrobes of other members. The wardrobe tool lets you sort items into categories, assemble outfits from multiple items, or suggest an outfit for your friends from their collection of clothes.
Mejuri taps the power of crowdsourcing for jewelry design. Created by the family members of traditional jewelry store owners, the Web site asks users to submit a jewelry design and vote on other designs. The pieces that receive the most votes get created by jewelers and sold online, with the designer taking a share of the profits. Designers are encouraged by challenges issued by the site and voting periods last for seven to 14 days, though votes aren’t the only factor that determines what pieces Mejuri will manufacture.
Fashion Society is an online retailer with a mission to bring its shoppers the trendiest fashion items at a low price. The site offers live customer service, ships to the US and Canada, and allows for returns on items within 15 days of purchase. The store carries brands such as American Apparel, Calvin Klein, Nike, and Van Heusen.
Peacock Parade is another online retailer, with the angle of offering luxury items on flash sales of up to 80 per cent off. “Merchandise curators” present luxury items on this “digital boutique” and sales last for between three and seven days. Founded by two Canadians that were surprised by the access they had to sample sales Web sites when living in Manhattan. The site makes an effort to feature Canadian designers alongside international labels.