The fashion industry is a key contributor to the UK economy, with its total contribution estimated to have risen over £46 billion in recent years and orders of over £100 million placed at London Fashion Week alone.
In the last decade however, technology has begun to play a pivotal role within fashion’s ever-growing empire, with businesses vying to use everything from social media to 3D printing in order to get ahead. This September, Aldermore takes a look at five of the UK’s most innovative small enterprises in fashion, which use technology to catapult their business into success.
Launched in 2011, Snap Fashion’s mobile and desktop app allows fashionistas to take a photo of an outfit or item of clothing that they love, then the app will scour the internet in order to find the item or similar alternatives. Once the user has found something that they like, they can buy the item from Snap Fashion’s trusted fashion retailers in just two clicks.
Founded in London’s Tech City by computer science graduate, Jenny Griffiths, the innovative fashion app capitalises on impulse buying habits and reducing the browsing time for online shoppers. Snap Fashion is now receiving numerous investment offers, including government Innovative UK Funding, private investment following a Launchpad competition and a ‘strategic investment’ from Time Inc.
A London fashion house focused on producing wearable technology, Cute Circuit uses smart textiles and micro-electronics to create garments “designed for sustainability”. Set up back in 2004, the Shoreditch based company is leading the way in environmentally-friendly and recyclable clothing and is a firm favourite amongst celebrities such as Nicole Scherzinger and Katy Perry.
A world leader in R&D, innovation and engineering, Bury-based Tamicare has developed the first ever 3D-printing technology devoted to finished non-woven textile products, known as ‘Cosyflex’. The pioneering company was founded by Tamar and Ehud Giloh in 2001 with the aim of “improving life quality of many millions of people around the globe”.
Dubbed the ‘Tinder of fashion’, Edinburgh based company, Mallzee, uses a similar concept to the popular dating app to allow shoppers to quickly sift through over two million products from more than 100 stores. Using the swipe right if you like, swipe left if you don’t functionality, the personal shopper app has proven a favourite amongst investors.
After turning down a £75,000 investment offer from Peter Jones on Dragons Den in February, the business has received £2.5 million in funding from a number of firms, including Royal Mail, Scottish Investment Bank and Par Equity. Only launching in 2012, Mallzee was recently recognised by Smarta and O2 as one of the top ten innovative mobile businesses in the UK.
Wool and the Gang
Knitting-focused fashion brand, Wool and the Gang, is an online retailer selling high quality fashion that’s produced in a sustainable way. Specifically offering knitted products, this niche company used social media to achieve success by creating a vast online community of knitters to help build their business.
Utilising the power of Instagram, Wool and the Gang have established a close-knit following of 66,000 potential customers from creating a strong social identity for their followers, labelling them ‘The Gang’. This forward-thinking company’s social campaigns have now also received traction from celebrities, including influential model, Cara Delevingne.
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