LFW: Technology enables fashion-as-a-service

Since its inception in 1984, London Fashion Week has been one of the most culturally exciting weeks in the capital with domestic and international press and buyers flocking to the city to see the latest designer brands showcase their collections. With shows, presentations, product launches and the inevitable parties, a stylish chaos sweeps across the industry, and, in the midst of the mayhem, the Evening Standard hosts over 150 guests at a celebratory ‘curtain raiser’ on the opening day.

This season the event was hosted by the Evening Standard’s executive digital editor Amira Hashish, who interviewed Jane Shepherdson CBE, chairperson of My Wardrobe HQ and Giorgia Rossi, COO of Treatwell. Both brands in their unique way help busy consumers maximise their time and so their involvement dovetailed perfectly with a completely new piece of research commissioned by the Evening Standard’s in-house insight team.

Recognising that many Londoners lead increasingly busy and stressful lives, whilst at the same time enjoying the myriad of opportunities afforded by living in an exciting and dynamic city, we wanted to investigate the impact of this change. We took this on by looking at the mind-set of individuals who are happy to invest in goods and services that free up their time, allowing them to get the most out of their lives. We discovered more than a third (35%) of the capitals’ residents displayed the behaviours of this group, which we’ve called ‘Optimisers’. Technology is often the optimiser’s best friend with trusted apps deployed extensively to make user’s live more time-efficient and our two speakers embodied that perfectly.

Giorgia explained how the fundamental idea of the Treatwell app came from a realisation of the difficulty of booking a massage after work. From small beginnings Treatwell now partners with more than 25,000 health and beauty companies in over 11 countries to provide a quick and easy-to-use platform on which users can book anything from a haircut to a last-minute manicure. Such is the ‘comfort factor’ with the tech involved, the fact that these services are provided via an app is of no concern to the users as long as it works and they can trust it.

A similarly seamless user experience is provided by My Wardrobe HQ. Jane wanted to cut through the endless scrolling through online pages and offer a simple peer-to-peer rental service to women looking for a ‘new’ outfit for an occasion or special event. The company also works with fashion houses to bring is designer pieces direct and, if users fall in love with a piece they’ve rented, the site also offers them the option to buy it.

Rocking up in a metallic floral Gucci suit, which would have cost a great deal more to buy than the £30-a-day it costs to rent, Jane not only provided a walking advertisement for the service but also explained how site users can offer their own clothes and receive a monthly payment when other users hire them.

Forward-thinking brands like My Wardrobe HQ & Treatwell are each addressing the changing landscape of the fashion and beauty industries and allowing London’s optimisers to lead more streamlined and fulfilled lives, and get the most out life. A new era of fashion and beauty awaits.