One Problem Three Solutions – The Startup Way To Make Your Clothes Fit
Online shopping has become a must for everyone from the most frugal bargain hunter, like myself, to the well dressed businessman to the fashionista living way out in the sticks with no access to anything fashion-related but a regional mall. But here’s the constant problem: how do you know if that perfect pair of pants is going to look as good on you as it does on that size 00 model?
You don’t and you can’t, at least until now. There are a host of startups coming out looking to solve this exact problem. They’re doing what startups do best: identifying a gap in the market and then working like crazy people to fill it.
What they’ve come up with ranges from taking traditional custom apparel to the online market to incorporating and developing cutting edge technology to give their customers exactly what they’re looking for.
Indochino remakes an ancient business for the internet age
First on the list is Indochino suits, which focuses on creating custom-made suits, shirts, coats, jackets, pants and accessories, for dudes. You take your own measurements, send them in, and then use their website to customize exactly what you want. If what you get doesn’t quite work, they even offer $75 that can go toward paying a local tailor to fix up the loose ends.
So what makes Indochino different from a regular old tailor and brings it into the startup world? It’s the internet side of things, of course. Their site takes out the necessity of getting measured in person, making the process more streamlined and quicker to get through, something that people who shop online obviously love.
Clothes Horse develops tech for a better ready wear fit
Stepping away from custom-made clothing and into the world of ready wear, we find Clothes Horse, a company that has developed a widget that can help the buyer determine what size they are through a quick questionnaire that can be placed on a retailer’s website.
Here’s the awesome tech part: the guys over at Clothes Horse have worked out all kinds of complicated algorithms that determine fit quickly and well. They saw the problem (clothes don’t fit and are returned or not bought at all for fear of a bad fit) and figured out how to solve it. The result? They’re moving rapidly through the menswear world and are about to take on womenswear.
Continuum takes design to a whole new level
If this idea doesn’t blow up, I will be shocked. Continuum is an app that lets you “draw” a dress on a figure on the screen which can then be converted to a 3D model. The idea, eventually, is that people will be able to buy the physical dress from the clothing label or download patterns to make it themselves.
The technology is already developed for this and Mary Huang, the founder, has actually created her own line of little black dresses using her app. They’re still in development, though, so keep an eye out for further developments…
Filling the gap, across the tech spectrum
Each of these companies has taken a different and innovative approach to solving the problem of ill-fitting online clothes. Indochino adapted an old model to a new platform, Clothes Horse developed software to fit into existing websites, and
Continuum went way out into the stratosphere and came back with something totally new.
Just more evidence that, in the startup world, there’s always room for innovative and creative solutions.