As 2019 comes to a close, we wanted to say thank you for reading our blog and joining us on the journey toward more sustainable fashion. We also wanted to call out some good news and food for thought as we begin our holidays. The news that Rent The Runway has partnered with W Hotels to make rental clothes available for guests when they check in was a great step towards circular fashion becoming even more ingrained in people’s lives. These megabrands are joining forces to make fashion and hospitality come together in a way that’s also sustainable. Instead of buying a new piece of clothing to wear once and possibly discard, women now have the option to rent contemporary and high-end fashions, and return them so that they can be worn again by others. Now, the convenience of having clothes shipped directly to a business or vacation destination means a greater customer experience and more streamlined logistics.
The first brand we developed with the Variant Platform, Calamigos Dry Goods, is an apparel and home lifestyle collection for Calamigos Guest Ranch, a resort in Malibu. The collection is available for retail and not rental, but it also marries the concepts of fashion, hospitality and sustainability. By creating custom, on-demand knitwear pieces, Calamigos guests and customers are investing in items that they’ll wear or use more than once, and hopefully keep for many years. The ability to create and order a custom piece and have it waiting in your room at the Guest Ranch is not only luxurious, it’s also convenient. While it’s not the scale of a Rent The Runway or W Hotel chain, the experience is equally delightful for customers, and has been a highly useful way for the Variant platform to test the waters.
Photo Credit: Twitter.com I Leanne Luce (@leanne_luce)
For those who want to take a deeper dive into all the ways that technology has impacted fashion and sustainability has become the new mandate, check out one of our favorite sites FashNerd, where founding editor-in-chief Muchaneta Kapfunde rounds up the six best books about sustainable fashion. We covered Dana Thomas’ “Fashionopolis” in a previous blog entry, but the other tomes on the list are equally engrossing, especially Leanne Luce’s “Artificial Intelligence for Fashion: How AI is Revolutionizing the Fashion Industry.” The New York-based Google product manager has focused her career on the intersection of design and technology and has worked at Harvard University, Otherlab and Tendenci and is the founder the blog The Fashion Robot and the lifestyle brand Omura. Talk about #goals for 2020!
Finally, we, like others the retail business, are wondering what the growing number of online merchandise returns after the holidays will mean for the fashion industry. This statistics-packed Forbes article written by Easysize.me startup founder Gulnaz Khusainova shares some staggering stats, including: returns are expected to cost U.S. retailers $550 billion in 2020. Khusainova argues that one way to minimize fashion item returns would be to make apparel sizing more accurate. We fully agree, especially since high-ticket customized items can’t be returned to a retailer’s inventory. The drive to create better fit and sizing technology through visual recognition software, body scanning and machine learning, is one of the most interesting and exciting challenges in fashion-technology. It’s one of the many things that technology is helping companies to achieve, bringing us one step closer to revolutionizing the fashion experience for the better.
The Variant Team
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