The Innovative Companies Changing The Face Of Fashion

There was a point in the fashion industry where professional involvement in the business was limited to a career as a designer, a life immersed in the fashion closet or the prized position of fashion editor. These days, in line with the ever-growing world of tech and start-up land, innovation from the fashion industry knows no bounds. There are companies taking the virtual reality world by storm, embracing artificial intelligence and a whole lot of talk about algorithms (and we’re not talking about the Instagram kind of algorithm).

Rent The Runway

Co-founded by Harvard Business School classmates, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss in 2009, Rent The Runway set out on a mission to disrupt the global fashion industry through allowing women to rent rather than buy designer clothes. The idea plays into our growing fast fashion obsession with buying outfits for one wear and abandoning them. Through Rent the Runway, this kind of behaviour can hopefully be minimised through allowing women to rent designer outfits for one-off occasions such as weddings and other events.

Their inventory includes clothing and accessories from over 600 designers that are available to users through a subscription service. Members can choose from two packages, one of which allows them access to four different designer pieces per month ($89) with a recently introduced unlimited option for $159 per month.

Last year the company was recorded to have 11 million members with estimated revenues of over $100 million. Last week it was announced that the company has now reached ‘unicorn’ status following a $1 billion valuation as a result of a new funding round.


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Spruce up any look with conversation-starter earrings 🔥 @lfjewels = a Team RTR staple

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Stella McCartney

Recently appearing on the cover of technology-focused magazine, Wired, Stella McCartney has been hailed one of the most innovative designers of her generation by fashion insiders and tech experts alike. What differentiates McCartney in her industry is her commitment to animal rights. From the age of 12, the moment she decided to be a designer, McCartney was adamant she would never use leather, fur or feather in any of her creations.

Through her experience as a student at fashion school and right through her career, as creative director at Chloe and establishing her own successful fashion brand, the environmental impact of the fashion industry grew to be increasingly frustrating for McCartney and furthermore, her passion for the cause more adamant. In her new Old Bond Street flagship, she’s built a monument to sustainability. Mannequins are mostly biodegradable sugar cane, the store is provided with green energy (primarily wind power) from Ecotricity and the air is among the cleanest in London thanks to clean air start-up Air Labs and their innovative filtration system.

To Stella McCartney, environmental issues mentioned in fashion are so much more than a marketing ploy.


The Dublin-based fash-tech startup, SKMMP is an enterprise supply chain optimisation product for the wholesale fashion industry. In basic terms, founder Aileen Carville has built a virtual showroom and enterprise business that’s focused on helping wholesalers, retailers and designers get more lines into stores. Instead of limiting designers to a four week buying period as exists in the current fashion week model, SKMMP extends the period to 24/7 buying, allowing them to reach ten times the number of retailers they currently work with. The technology in which they build these digital showrooms means that fashion wholesale agencies can work in tandem with physical showrooms not only during fashion weeks but also further down the line.


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Unspun Tech

Unspun take the process of denim design and combine it with digital customization and automated manufacturing to create jeans of the perfect fit. The company created a machine that creates jeans on demand having taken the customer’s measurements in 3D. The result creates jeans with the ultimate, comfortable fit, customised to suit the wearer. While the benefits are obvious from a customer’s point of view, for the retailer it’s revolutionary in terms of eliminating issues of overstock. To top it all off any garment made by the machine can also be respun to into a new pair of jeans which means the company operates on a zero policy.

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a full time fashion and features writer at The Style Edit. Her work has previously appeared in IMAGE magazine, and Emirates Woman.

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