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How the New York Fashion Tech Lab is winning at helping fashion tech startups

Day after day its seems like there’s another app, wearable or smart technology making its way into the fashion tech industry, and it’s relentless on the investment side of the industry too.

VC’s and angels and big brands alike, are recognizing the constant deal flow and the need to pump cash into what really is the inevitable future of fashion.

Kay Koplovitz, chairman of Springboard Enterprises and Maria Gotsch, the president and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City and co-founder, Lisa Morales-Hellebo, (who has since departed the company), noticed this wave of change and created the New York Fashion Tech Lab last May.

They launched with eight emerging fashion tech companies, to help big brands like Macy’s, Estée Lauder and Kate Spade & Company, integrate each company’s technologies into their core processes, and to really help these companies become part of the fashion industry as a whole.

“Since our first demo day last July, there have been notable changes in the industry, with new mergers, new market entrants and both positive and negative earnings reports,” Koplovitz and Gotsch said in a statement. “The good news is that the fashion and retail industry has fully embraced the promise of technology as they plan for a market that is becoming increasingly mobile and customer driven.”

The New York Fashion Tech Lab gives fashion tech startups access to an incubator space, (this year it was at Space 530 and Workhouse NYC) in New York City, where they must live over the course of 12 weeks, with mentorship from some of the biggest names in the fashion and retail space, as well as guidnace from investor s like J. Skyler Fernandes, Joe Bierman, Frank Fazziga III, Lawrence Lenihan and Yolanda Wardowski.

This year’s mentoring companies were Alex and Ani, Bloomingdale’s, Coach, Estée Lauder, Macy’s, Fossil Group, Kate Spade & Company and VF Corporation.

All the company’s and fashion tech startups came together last Friday, June 12, at the Time Inc. building for the New York Fashion tech Lab’s 2015 demo day where they presented their companies to the bigger fashion tech community.

The 12 companies that presented were an interesting mix of smart fabric, light up wearables, fabric sourcing platforms, shopping apps and sophisticated e-commerce and point-of-sale systems represented by Cloth, skuIQ, Switch Embassy, Sundar, 42, Dropel Fabrics, inSparq and EngagedPricing.

As proof that the New York Fashion Tech lab breeds successful company’s, Amanda Curtis and Gemma Sole, co-founders Nineteenth Amendment, a fashion crowdfunding portfolio site and product lifecycle management tool for emerging fashion designers, just announced a very interesting partnership with Macy’s.

Curtis and Sole will team up with Macy’s to give Macys.com shoppers the chance to discover Nineteenth Amendment’s suite of designers this fall.

“Macy’s.com shoppers will have the opportunity to browse through the designs of specially selected and curated Nineteenth Amendment designers, whose product Macy’s.com shoppers will have the first opportunity to buy,” Tim Baxter, chief merchandising officer at Macy’s, said. “This collaboration will perfectly compliment our omnichannel strategy that leverages all of our assets to enhance our ability to deliver on our fashion promise and expertise via fully integrated multichannel experience.”

Looks like the New York Fashion Tech Lab is well worth the time and effort put into it. We’re interested to see who will be part of next year’s class of companies.

By Ashley Paintsil





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