Startupbootcamp Fashion Tech at the Forefront of Sustainability

Startupbootcamp, one of the world’s largest startup accelerators and The Sustainable Mag are pleased to announce their collaboration.

Startupbootcamp, founded in 2010, is present in all continents with more than 20 hubs accelerating more than 200 startups per year. The Sustainable Mag, the leading publication in the sustainability field with a specific take on luxury, fashion, music and art is expanding its expertise into the startup arena the beating heart of innovation.

The goal is very clear; joining forces to enlarge and enrich the communication about sustainability in the fields of fashion, innovation and digitalization, reaching a wider audience of companies, consumers and startups.

Startupbootcamp Fashion Tech. What is that?

In 2019 under the umbrella of Startupbootcamp,the Startupbootcamp FashionTech, was launched. It is the first acceleration program for the fashion sector.

Based in Milan, Startupbootcamp FashionTech is a 3 years program, which consists of the selection and support of the best innovative startups, offering advanced technological solutions that address market challenges.

By the end of 2021 the program will accelerate 30 hi-potential startups, and the target is very close considering that as of July, 22 startups have been already accelerated.

New York based “Obsses, that collaborated with Diesel, and parent company OTB, in June of 2020 to launch Hyperoom, is a 360-degree digital platform and exhibition space to facilitate orders with vendors and buyers. Staiy, the first sustainable fashion marketplace, finalist in the Vogue Italia x YOOX “The Future of Responsible Fashion” challenge, is a project dedicated to brands and start-ups that look at fashion with a responsible and sustainable approach.

The mission of Startupbootcamp FashionTech is to respond to the challenges of the market, and of the programs’ partners in particular, identifying new business models and technologies -Artificial Intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things, blockchain, mixed reality –that can transform the entire value chain from product development to operations, marketing and sales, with a focus on sustainability.

Startupbootcamp FashionTech’s corporate partners encompass the entire industry ecosystem from fabrics to brands, retailers, technologies, and services: Accenture, Valentino, Armani, Moschino, North Sails, Fondazione del Tessile Italiano, Gruppo Prada, PWC, Sopra Steria, Stealth by DedaGroup, Stone Island and Withers Worldwide.”

From the left: Stefano Galassi, Nazzareno Mengoni, Alceo Rapagna

Talking with Nazzareno Mengoni Co-Founder Startupbootcamp Italy and Stefano Galassi Partner & Managing Director of FashionTech Program, a question about what is their vision on the future of the fashion industry and implications that companies are going to face is de rigueur.

Sartupbootcamp FashionTech is the first acceleration program for the fashion industry launched byStartupbootcamp. When talking about “fashion”, the first and immediate thought is runway, models etc., while you are highly focused on innovation and sustainability.  Whatis your vision of the future of fashion?

Startupbootcamp FashionTech gathers startups that represent, through their mission and vision, the future of the fashion industry. Some of them focus on providing sustainable fabric & garment production solutions, as well as waste management and circularity-based processes, while the attention of others is focused on technology-enhanced retail & commerce solutions and social media engagement channels.  Furthermore, another area of impact is the one that includes smart materials, digitally driven manufacturing techniques and supply chain transparency & traceability.

At SBC FashionTech, we group these areas of focus into three different clusters, Sustainability as a Business, Omnichannel at Scale and Industry 4.0, which represent, according to ouropinion, the future of the fashion industry, since customers’ requests and habits are goingtowards these directions.

In particular, the Covid-19 pandemic has strongly accelerated the spreading and implementation of these new FashionTech trends.  For example, in order to cope with lockdown restrictions like store closures, brands have adopted various omnichannel-based digital opportunities, such as VR e-commerce technology, AI beauty tools and virtual personal shopping consultants.

Luxury brands –for exampe Dior, has launched a virtual version of their its store, to offer shoppers of its French website a 360-degree, 3D e-commerce experience. This initiative was done in collaboration with New York based Obsses, an experiential e-commerce platform that was part of SBC FashionTech 2019-2020 Cohort and just received a $10 million Series A funding round, highlighting the rising importance of immersive e-commerce experiences.

On the other hand, adapting to the new dimensions of the digital world means for brands to be active not only in their website, but most importantly through their social media channels, with Instagram, TikTok and WeChat leading the way. Fashion powerhouses such as Armani,
Burberry and many more, have launched several initiatives to promote their products and increase awareness, especially among the younger generations, by collaborating with social media influencers, to take advantage of the power and credibility that such figures have nowadays.

Lastly, digital technologies are implemented not only to engage more customers but also because they feature a higher conversion rate than traditional e-commerce, thus contributing massively to stores’ profitability.

Today we sign a collaboration that is an additional demonstration that sustainability is at the forefront of change (for good). A clear take on the fact that “future to be” is in the hands of companies who are leveraging on innovation, sustainability and new technologies. Startupbootcamp relies on startups, which are made of young people. What to expect from GEN Z?

In our society, sustainability has become a paramount topic.

The fashion industry is of special concern, as it is the second largest polluter in the world.

From water pollution to rainforest destruction, fashion needs to change.

At Startupbootcamp FashionTech we try to influence the industry in a more positive, sustainable, circular way, operating as a bridge between corporate partners with open mindsets and startups led by young entrepreneurs willing to make a difference.

In this scenario, Generation Z can assume an extremely important role as “activists” of sustainable fashion. Indeed, around 65% of global millennials are willing to spend more on brands that are sustainable, supporting the companies that are already active in this field, even locally.

At the same time, brands that want to be attractive to the younger generations need to engage more actively in the sustainability world, showing their commitment through the launch of new “green” initiatives and partnerships with known players and influencers.

Definitely, one of the most diffused trends is the one regarding second hand items.

After the pandemic, around 50% of Gen Zers expect to purchase more “pre-loved” items, contributing to the rise of second hand platforms such as Vinted and Depop, currently valued at 4.5 billion & 1.6 billion dollars respectively.

Indeed, in just five years, the second-hand market will reach a value of $15 billion. Moreover, another sustainable trend is the one of rental clothes, embraced, at the start of the decade by Rent The Runway, and now widely spread around the world.

Here, at Startupboocamp FashionTech we had the opportunity to feature in this year’s cohort Share My Bag, a female-led startup, which can be defined as the Airbnb of fashion and one of the best promoters of the “Fashion as a Service” trend, consisting in offering rental services.

Needless to say, Gen Zers represent a valuable “asset” that fashion brands need to conquer, as they become the customers of the short-term future.

How big is the startup market and what is its value? How are startups shaping the fashion industry?

The startup market is continuously growing and reaching levels that no one could expect.

In particular, the global startup economy remains considerable, creating nearly $3 trillion in value, as of 2021, a similar figure of the GDP of a G7 country.

Moreover, the startup market growth has become increasingly reliant on digital and technology products, and is accelerated by the crisis triggered by Covid-19, underlining how, now more than ever, the tech economy will be fundamental for recovery.

Therefore, we can say that startups are so successful due to their nature reflecting the context of the environment in which we live today: start-ups are dynamic, flexible companies, capable of adapting to unpredictable situations and I believe that these are also the skills necessary not only to be successful, but, most importantly to survive in today’s economy.

Startups growth in areas such as Sustainability, Industry 4.0 & Omnichannel at scale has considerably re-shaped the fashion industry. Historically known traditional luxury brands have embraced the new wave of trends, by implementing new sustainable practices and procedures, by defining digital based Omnichannel strategies to engage more consumers and especially the younger generations, or by adopting digitally driven manufacturing techniques.

It is possible to say that startups are not re-shaping the fashion industry, but they are disrupting it by introducing innovative solutions, on a constant basis.

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