The best fashion startups have the most compelling ideas, founded by tech pioneers and supported by accelerators such as ‘Fashion for Good,’ LVMH Innovation, and Reshape.
Then, when these innovative technologies and business models start to show results, big corporate partners kick in: Kering Group, Adidas, Target, Zalando, C&A, Galeries Lafayette, or PVH Corp.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to 30 of the biggest fashion startups in 2023.
Why make these 30 fashion startups the best in the world? Their potential; is economical and shifts the fashion industry towards a sustainable path.
Some of these fashion startups innovate in VR fashion, digital clothing, AI design and styling, and sustainable materials.
Others create new business models in retail, circular supply chains, innovative advertising, and recruitment.
Data-driven Global Fashion Retailer
FOUNDER(S) | José Neves
Farfetch is a global online fashion retailer.
The novelty of the platform is its ability to connect with top fashion brands, retailers, shops, and stores worldwide and make their products available online.
The site has raised $194 million (£125 million) in funding from investors such as Yuri Milner and Condé Nast International.
The brand’s valuation topped $1 billion (£644 million) in March after the latest round of funding.
Fashion Search Engine for Brands, Stores, Products
FOUNDER(S) | Chris Morton, Sebastjan Trepca, Devin Hunt
Lyst is an online fashion search engine that lets users follow their favorite stores and brands.
Chris Morton launched the company after working as an investor at Balderton Capital and Benchmark Capital.
In January 2014, Lyst announced that it had raised $14 million (£9 million) in funding from Balderton Capital and Accel Partners, among other investors.
You can search thousands of online fashion stores at once, bringing together 5 million products from 12,000 brands and retailers.
Peer-to-peer Social Shopping App
FOUNDER(S) | Simon Beckerman
Born from a social network, Depop is now a trusted marketplace for over 10 million users buying, selling, and exploring the latest aesthetic clothing trends.
This community of creatives, influencers, sellers, and consumers (much like the team itself) is changing the face of retail and is already a worldwide phenomenon.
Peer-to-peer selling platform Depop lets creatives buy and sell unique and stylish things online.
Also popular with micro-influencers and small business sellers, Depop also serves as a social media platform to see what people like, sell and buy.
Digital Retail Agency
FOUNDER(S) | Johnathan Chippindale
Holition is a tech-based fashion startup aiming to help retailers and brands adopt and use 3D technology and augmented reality.
Holition’s latest product, ‘Face,’ makes the company super attractive to consumers and investors alike.
Face app enables cosmetic brands to present how products look to consumers without having to use/waste any products.
Artificial Intelligence Powered Stylist Platform
FOUNDER(S) | Kostas Koukoravas and Michael Michelis
Intelistyle is a UK-based fashion startup that has launched an innovative app that lets users browse outfits online.
Then, the app sync and pair the outfits with the user’s images (bodies).
The brand’s AI stylists further recommend the best outfits for any given idea – just like an outfit generator!
The app also matches online garments (from participating retailers) with the users’ physical wardrobe.
Visual Search Engine for Fashion
FOUNDER(S) | Jenny Griffiths
Launched as ‘Snap Fashion,’ this shopping platform allowed customers to find new garments based on desired shape and color.
However, the UK-based fashion startup has expanded to include a comprehensive visual search for fashion apparel and brands.
It provides dedicated tools – that can be included on retail websites – to brands, fashion designers, and even fashion magazines and publishers.
Fashion Styling Analytics
NEW YORK, USA
FOUNDER(S) | Veronica Cabezas, Ricardo Cuervo
This fashion startup aims to solve the product recommendation problem by applying machine learning to the shopping process.
Genostyle examined 5 million products and 6,500 brands and has designed a new taxonomy to categorize them based on 15 different so-called “style genomes.”
Customers using the platform receive a style code that indicates the degree to which they skew away or toward the expected/wanted style.
In the process, fashion retailers can read the data and target them with personalized offers.
Genostyle can also examine the retailer’s inventory, what sells best, and how the client can optimize its stock.
For example, if your fashion retailing business has 50 percent “glam” merchandise, but that category accounts for only 5 percent of revenue, then you have a problem, and Genostyle can help.
Content Tagging Platform
FOUNDER(S) | Karoline Gross
Smartzer is the world’s number one shoppable live stream and interactive video fashion shopping platform.
“The secret with branded content is to obtain as much as you can out of it, and this is where Smartzer does best,”
said the CMO of Halston, Suzanne Hader.
Smartzer is an interactive digital video player that lets users click on videos to find the garments and accessories people wear in the movies, learn more about them, and eventually buy them online.
Karoline’s startup has big fashion brands in its portfolio, including Barbour, Puma, and QVC, who wanted to make their videos more profitable.
The results are impressive: at least 19 times more engagement, nine times more click-through than classic videos, and, most important, a conversion from browsing to buying rate that is five times more than the pre-roll videos, conform to Karoline Gross.
Personal Styling Platform
FOUNDER(S) | Ben Kucsan, Ben Phillips, Kieran O’Neill
‘Thread’ is a fashion-tech startup established in 2012 to assist men in dressing better.
It works by mixing personal online stylists with AI and big data insights.
You begin by providing the platform with some of your fashion preferences and how much you are likely to spend on clothes.
The required data includes the size of the clothes you wear, some of your most loved brands, and the styles of outfits you want.
Then, the personal stylist works the AI to deliver users with highly recommended garments of perfect style, color, and fit.
Circular Fashion Rental Platform
FOUNDER(S) | Victoria Prew, Matthew Geleta
Award-winning Hurr Collective is a London fashion startup.
The company offers a secure, robust on-demand fashion platform that uses real-time ID verification, geo-tagging, and AI-powered fashion stylists.
The platform makes renting easy while allowing customers to manage their wardrobes more sustainably and ethically.
It also brings together like-minded entrepreneurs who can access great fashion at a fraction of the retail cost while making money from their garments.
HURR has partnered with several sustainable companies, such as RePack reusable packaging, Oxwash ‘green’ dry cleaning, and EcoFleet courier service, to ensure their fashion rental process is as eco-friendly as possible.
Digital Fashion House
FOUNDER(S) | Kerry Murphy
The Fabricant is a digital fashion agency leading the digital clothes revolution.
While digital-only garments can’t be physically worn (as they don’t exist), there’s no waste created, no people or animal exploitation; nothing but imagination.
The Fabricant specializes in photo-real 3D fashion design and animation, which can be used in digital fashion editorials.
Social Marketplaces for Crafting
FOUNDER(S) | Nigel Whiteoak, Cherry Freeman, Edward Griffith
LoveCrafts is a fashion start-up that builds social marketplaces for the crafts sector.
The fashion startup intends to use the capital to fuel new product development and overseas growth and launch a new marketplace called LoveCrochet, “a world designed for fashion makers.”
Those less inclined to shop for ready-made clothes will find the company’s approach to knitting, sewing, and crocheting very suitable for creating their apparel.
GOOD ON YOU
Brand Ethical Rating System
FOUNDER(S) | Gordon Renouf
Good On You is the world’s most comprehensive brand rating system and online discovery platform for fashion, designed to connect conscious shoppers to fashion retailers.
The platform’s trusted, independent ethical brand ratings solve a real problem for the millions of consumers looking to shop better and the retailers looking to reach them.
Since 2015, this sustainable fashion startup has rated over 2,500 brands for their impact and empowered millions of shoppers to buy better.
They celebrate the designers and makers doing good and give retailers the tools to connect with the growing conscious consumer market.
FOUNDER(S) | Stephanie Crespin
Ever wanted to keep your customers engaged for longer by bringing the second-hand and resale market in-house?
Reflaunt gives luxury brands a slick and intuitive platform to own the growing secondary market, increasing engagement and revenue and reducing environmental impact.
Based in Singapore and London, Reflaunt is showing heritage brands that it’s not too late to go circular and giving them the tools to do it.
Big Data for the Fashion Industry
FOUNDER(S) | Julia Fowler, Geoff Watts
EDITED works with brands such as Gap, ASOS, and Target to help them understand fashion data using real-time analytics.
For example, you can track promotions from brands and retailers worldwide or monitor how consumers react to trends on social media.
The startup recently changed its name, moving from ‘EDITD’ to ‘EDITED.’
Fashion Styling for Men
FOUNDER(S) | Nish and Sach Kukadia
SecretSales is an online fashion site for dedicated designer clothes sales.
The platform uses behavioral data to create 70,000 different versions of the emails it sends, making it very effective at marketing to customers.
Sales last between two and four days, and products have discounts of up to 70% off the normal retail price.
Cofounders Nish and Sach Kukadia are the sons of one of the founders of the iconic denim company Pepe Jeans.
Fashion Styling for Men
FOUNDER(S) | Sam Middleton
The Chapar is a fashion styling app for men. The app sends regular packages of clothes based on the user’s taste and style.
Customers can try on the clothes and return anything they don’t like.
The Chapar stylists work with customers through phone calls and online chats to find out their tastes and send more relevant clothing items.
GIRL MEETS DRESS
Online Clothes Rental
FOUNDER(S) | Anna Bance, Xavier de Lecaros-Aquise
Girl Meets Dress is an online fashion rental site that lets customers rent clothing for as long as they need.
According to the founders, 98% of customers who use the site try clothing brands they’ve never seen before.
Girl Meets Dress raised an undisclosed figure from the Samwer brothers in 2013 when the site received investment from the Global Founders Capital fund.
Stylish Online Shopping
FOUNDER(S) | Vincent Thome, Dean Fankhauser, Anton Meryl Nithianandan
Nuji is an e-commerce site that sells clothing and lifestyle goods for men and women.
The company raised $2 million (£1.28 million) in seed funding in 2014 from TAG, Seedcamp, Samos, and an unnamed retail investor.
WOOL AND THE GANG
Online Network of Knitters
FOUNDER(S) | Lisa Rodwell
Wool and the Gang is an online store for wool and knitting supplies that doubles as a network for people who like to knit.
The company uses its vast network to produce goods sold via the official website or to fashion brands.
According to Wool and the Gang, around 70% of its users are between 18 and 35.
The young and engaged audience has made the site popular and helped it raise £420,000 in a crowdfunding campaign in September.
STAY WILD SWIM
Sustainable Swimwear Brand
FOUNDER(S) | Natalie Glaze and Zanna Van Dijk
Stay Wild Swim brand operates by converting plastics found in the oceans and turning them into regenerated nylon.
Much of the production process is led locally in London, allowing the company to support independent British brands.
In line with sustainable fashion, Stay Wild Swim does not operate by the typical fashion seasons.
Apparel from 100% recyclable materials
FOUNDER(S) | Kristy Caylor and Mary Saunders
The brand operates under a revolutionary closed-loop system known as the SWAP program.
Any item under the For Days SWAP membership can be returned and recycled in exchange for a new one.
SWAP membership initially covered t-shirts, but the start-up has since expanded to sweatshirts, bags, trousers, and, soon, black tie outfits.
The membership includes free shipping and unlimited refreshes of For Days items.
FOUNDER(S) | Eliza Walter
Lylie’s is a sustainable jewelry brand with goods made from recycled gold and silver.
These materials are sourced and recycled from e-waste, scrap exchanges, and dental waste.
Walter heads the only British jewelry brand that is founded on the premise of urban mining, aiming to draw in ethical consumers.
Luxury Fashion Resale platform
FOUNDER(S) | James Harford-Tyrer
With a bespoke service for both sellers and buyers, Cudoni takes the stress away from the process of selling/buying pre-loved luxury fashion goods.
Powered by big data, Cudoni has a unique, commission-based approach with no upfront costs for the buyer or the seller.
The site stocks rare and hard-to-find pieces from designer brands like Hermes Birkin designer handbags.
Fashion Rental Platform
FOUNDER(S) | Isabella West
Hirestreet UK is an accessible fashion rental platform established where customers can rent an outfit for 4-16 days.
Available outfits range from high-street brands Topshop and Zara to Ghost for as little as £7.
Also, if you’re into aesthetic clothing, Hirestreet has a lot to offer.
You’ll find Grunge, Fairy Grunge, Y2K, Emo, Indie, E-girl, Goth, Cottagecore, Dark Academia, Light Academia, Cyberpunk, RetroFuturism, and other aesthetic outfits.
Hiresteet also offers an online stylist service to fulfill the company’s ethos of helping women to be equally sustainable and stylish.
NEW YORK, USA
FOUNDER(S) | Bradley Feinstein, Simardev Gulati
Dropel is a sustainable fashion startup that targets our favorite fabrics, such as cotton, and makes it possible for those fabrics to perform better for longer.
Disrupting performance fabrics, Dropel uses an entirely new natural technology to maintain the things we love about them, their softness and breathability, all while adding advanced performance never before seen without compromising on hand.
By applying their patent-pending material science and cotton processing technology, they can make clothing “life-proof,” including stain-proof and spill-proof.
Dropel leverages material science and textile engineering to create high-performance natural fabrics that push sustainability in the fashion industry and reduce polyester-based microfibers pollution in our oceans.
Textile Coloring Technology
FOUNDER(S) | Johanna Nissén Karlsson
No other printing/dyeing technologies consider the decoloring process.
Decoloring is crucial if the fashion industry is ever to become fully circular.
Even though consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to be more responsible in their purchase habits, being fashionable is still a priority for most of them.
Vivdye’s concept allows them to work close to the final customers, giving them access to their fashion desires with a clear conscience.
Unlike other dyeing methods in the industry today, their technology is designed to facilitate the removal of the applied color when it is no longer wanted without harming the material.
In other words, it makes it possible to decolor and recolor old textiles, giving them a new life.
THE BOX LONDON
Retail Event Organizers
FOUNDER(S) | Natalie Yaffe
The Box London is a permanent warehouse space dedicated to fashion retail events, only in East London.
The Box London hosts a busy calendar of weekly sample sales from designer labels and streetwear brands such as Fiorucci, Anya Hindmarch, and Bella Freud, to name a few.
FOUNDER(S) | Grace Beverley
Founded in May 2019, TALA takes a ‘slow-fashion approach’ to gymwear.
The brand’s products are made from 92% recycled materials, reaching 100% by 2025 without compromising on quality or price.
Water-free and Chemical-free dyeing Solutions
FOUNDER(S) | Reinier Mommaal
DyeCoo Textile Systems is the world’s first industrial CO2 dyeing equipment supplier.
With one of the principal shareholders, Feyecon D&l, the company has extensive knowledge of CO2 applications and the design and engineering of CO2 machines.
The company aims to supply dyeing systems for the textile finishing industry based on superior CO2 technology.
Fashion Startups FAQs
What is a Fashion Startup?
Fashion startups are novel companies with compelling ideas supported by large fashion accelerators such as ‘Fashion for Good,’ LVMH Innovation, and Reshape in creating apparel, accessories, and beauty products.
How Do you Market a Fashion Startup?
To create and launch a fashion startup, you require a clear idea, materials and textiles, products, brand logo, site, image, clever marketing, and a well-defined consumer segment – to whom you will sell your fashion products.
What is the Fastest-Growing Fashion Brand?
The fastest-growing fashion brand in 2022 was LVMH – in the luxury category – with a growth of 46% since 2021, followed by NIKE, with a gain of 35% since the previous year.
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Now it’s your turn…
Which one of these successful and innovative fashion startups is your favorite and why?
Do you know any other great fashion startups that should be included in this article? Let me know.
Can sustainable fashion startups change the face of fashion? If yes, how?
From all 30 fashion startups in this article, which one is your favorite and why?
Please share your thoughts or comments with us, so other readers like you can benefit from your expertise!
Driven by a deep passion for the environment and a desperate need to do something to save it, Rebecca's true love lies in environmental justice, currently studying for a Master's degree in 'Conservation and Biodiversity' at The University of Exeter. With years of expertise in the worlds of advertising, PR, events, and movie publicity, Rebecca's lifestyle, sustainability, and wildlife content intrigue, inspire, and mobilize.
Great list! I’ve been searching online for fashion startups and couldn’t find much. Thanks for sharing this.
I loved the list!. I found new startup I haven’t heard before.
Would suggest our startup, BESTLOOK. An AI-driven recommendation engine that acts as a Digital Fashion Consultant. Based on the Fashion Consultancy Principles (Color palette, Fit, Body Type, and Style), we help women discover and shop for garments to make them look their best. We deliver individualization at scale, improving conversion rates, and reducing returns, benefiting retailers and customers. B2B ( personalization at scale for retailers)
Top 10 fashion-tech Startups of 2021 ( according to Startupbootcamp ( Milan) and its partners: Marzotto Group , Accenture , Prada Group,Gelify, Canclini Spa, Reda , Stone Island)
I loved the article, thanks for putting together the best fashion startups in 2021. If there’s a 2022 edition, I’d love to see more vegan fashion startups, please!
I always wondered what are fashion startups, or why are they different than any normal startups. But thanks to this excellent article, now I know that new fashion startups are launched every day, all over the world. Launched by tech pioneers, most compelling ideas are supported by accelerators such as ‘Fashion for Good’, Reshape, and LVMH Innovation. … Some of these fashion startups innovate in VR fashion, Augmented Reality clothing, AI, material design, and styling. Thanks for the enlightenment, VOU team, you guys are amazing!
Wow! This article was so insightful. Great findings 🙂 I do know of a great innovative and sustainable start-up: Lumiere Paris. They have sustainable swimwear and activewear which they made by cleaning up the ocean! Also when you shop with them, they plant a tree and donate to environmental causes. Take a look at their official website, they also have a blog covering sustainability and innovation in fashion, that is worth reading.
I’d like to add Insyze – a personalized plus size fashion marketplace that uses AI to makes outfit recommendations for users’ style, size and budget.
In my opinion, the best innovation in fashion is the kind that elevates aesthetics while reducing the environmental footprint.
That’s to me upcycling is like magic! Here’s my favorite sustainable fashion startup: BRØGGER.
It’s an upcycled clothing designer label that uses organic and recycled materials, as well as repurposing stock materials.
Many of these startups were supported by us, great seeing them featured in your magazine!
Wow, nice to see big names checking these articles and leaving comments about their fashtech startups!
We’ve been providing financial services for over a decade now and some of these startups have benefited from our support, so cool to see them listed here!
Fashion lovers and aspiring fashion designers should also check out DigitalFashionPro.com – the fashion design software where anyone can create professional fashion designs even if they can’t draw.