Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the era of fashion tech.
It seems that there’s a dedicated startup community to every industry. With wearable technology rapidly permeating popular culture, it’s no surprise that fashion has become an active player in the world of small, emerging businesses. It wasn’t very long ago that the intersection of style and, say, mobile devices seemed revolutionary, like when Michael Kors handbags first appeared with a built-in iPad case: a feature that today seems no more than standard.
It seems fitting that a New York co-working venue, SoTechie Spaces, played host to last week’s Fashion Week Pitch Night: An opportunity for fashion tech startups to pitch their business plans to a panel of judges. While only one presenter took home the title of “winner,” all three startups exhibited plans and products worthy of following.
To the minds behind Stylgenius, the term “wearable technology” is a vast understatement. Instead, this company looks “to design products that are urban, trendsetting, unique, and functional”; read: something that doesn’t make its wearer look like a bipedal robot, but will still impress your friends. Stylgenius products border on deliriously practical, like the Intelligent Magic Ring that, while appearing just like a ring one might find in a normal jewelry store, is actually wired to send digital links, business cards and more. What’s more, the company has taken the concept behind Google Glass, designed to allow one to browse the web through his or her frames, and used it to create glasses that don’t look like the result of a science experiment. Instead, the end products are fun, trendy and connected specs.
It’s a thought that’s occurred to more than one of us: “I wish I could capture the colors from that sunset.” At long last, a neophyte mobile app has made that wish come true. With Shadepicker, a digital color-matching platform, smartphone users can simply snap a photo, and the app will instantly generate a list of nail polish colors closely resembling those in the picture. At the very least, Shadepicker should make for hours of amusement; imagine how much more fun the walk past that bakery with the colorful macaron display will be.
Image: Fund Dreamer
Anecdotal evidence has supported the theory that Apple’s “Find My Phone” app should be renamed “Wait Four Hours At the Apple Store With No Results.” Enter Locator1: A digitally connected phone case that allows users to find a lost phone, even if it’s turned off or has a dead battery. It’s all done through a key fob, the tiny, not-so-silent hero that, when prompted, will set off an alarm built into the Locator1 case. While some may see it as the mobile equivalent of I-can’t-remember-where-I-parked, the concept is exceedingly practical. Judges agreed; Locator1 inventor T. J. Wright (yes, the former football player) was named the winner of the pitch event.
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Top Image: Ludovic Bertron