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Top 10 Fashion And Beauty Startups This Year

One of the highlights of working for a publication such as Springwise is the sheer breadth and variation of the ideas that we are exposed to on a daily basis. We rely on a network of 15,000 “spotters” worldwide to submit innovative startups they’ve discovered during their week from virtually any industry in the world, from automotive to publishing, from financial services to tourism. We then review these, and share the best with our readers.

Once a month however, we like to focus our attention on just one sector, and pull out our favorite ideas from that area over the last 12 months. This month we’re looking back on the top startups from our “Fashion & Beauty” section.

Even the briefest glance at the selection below will reveal an emphasis on fashion startups that facilitate or rely upon social connections. C&A’s ingenious Facebook hangers and Volga Verdi’s discount service are both based on the premise that knowing what others consider fashionable and in vogue influences the individual’s shopping behaviors. This is, of course, nothing new. We have always relied upon style icons and lookbooks to help inform purchasing decisions, but using social networks as a guide to what’s currently fashionable, rather than individual trend leaders, could point the way to a democratization of such “trend setting” in the future.

A recent conversation with a friend at fashion label Lucas Nascimento highlighted how services such as Moda Operandi and Springwise-featured FashForward.com are enabling members of the public to purchase outfits straight from the catwalk, rather than waiting for a retailer to buy a collection and make it available. Of course there will always be a need for style leaders to guide tastes, but, similar to the C&A initiative and Volga Verdi, it’s easy to see how Moda Operandi and FashForward.com can be read as another step towards putting more power into the hands of consumers before major trend setters are involved.

Another obvious trend to pick out from the list is the desire for garments to do more than simply look good or keep us warm – the iLoad fabric featured below, which can deliver therapeutic medicines transdermally, is a striking example. Aesthetically, designers such as Marios Schwab have made good use of thermochromic dyeing in the past, and Alex Wang’s new collection even features glow in the dark outfits (skip to around 8.30 in the video). However, going a step further in this top ten is Refinity, looking to enable the wearer to constantly redesign the pattern and look of their clothes, just as BLESSUS allow wearers to alter the cut and design of garments using a zipper system. Echoing the thinking behind the Naturalis appliance also featured below, these startups all recognize that consumers have a real desire for clothes and beauty products that are customizable in some way, making them more unique while also enabling the user to involve themselves in the design process.

With those thoughts in mind, I leave you with Springwise’s top ten startups from our Fashion and Beauty category over the last 12 months. There’s plenty here to inspire, and it’s always worth considering how some of the thinking behind these great ideas could be applied to other industries as well…

1. Online retailer focuses on stylish but modest fashions

We always like discovering businesses that go against the grain, and Mode-sty caught our attention because of its refusal to accept the status quo in the fashion world. While many high street chains focus on the younger and more liberal market to shape their collections, Mode-sty prides itself on stocking conservative items for women who are uncomfortable with revealing garments.

2. Anti-aging products personalized with customers’ stem cells

Many brands have been adding twists to their products that enable consumers to add personalized touches in recent years. However, U Autologous took this one step further with their advanced technology that uses the stem cells of customers to create a tailor-made anti-aging product. The company collects these cells from the customer at a young age and then stores them for use in later years.

3. New DIY appliance enables consumers to make their cosmetics at home

A DIY approach is favored by many in a world where transparency and customization are major selling points. Naturalis may well be welcomed by resourceful types then, as it encourages users to make their own cosmetic products at home. The thinking behind this device is that users can customize products as they see fit, and avoid using scents or ingredients that they dislike or are allergic to. Empowering the consumer is an appealing business approach, and one that may prove popular in this increasingly saturated market.

4. Fabric ink can change the design of a garment on demand

Children often marvel at the “magic” behind Etch A Sketches, where their drawings can vanish with one push of a plastic wiper. Perhaps an adult equivalent is this fabric ink from Refinity, which can be washed away by a special detergent – leaving the garment unadorned and ready for a new pattern or color. For those keen to experiment with their clothing, this could be a useful way of avoiding shelling out for new items on a regular basis. It also means that the ink can be easily removed from a garment before it is recycled, making the sorting of fabrics by color during the recycling process much easier. The company is currently developing an in-house service for printing and removal.


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