Fashion + Tech SF: Fashion Startups
Style You's Jon Lam discusses his startup, which aims to offer personalized photo shoots to its subscribers.

This past year has seen an explosion of fashion startups in San Francisco. With the popularity of mobile devices and tablets, the demand for new ways to buy online, conveniently and with as few clicks as possible, has skyrocketed. Along with that, we’re seeing new concepts designed to help women shop more effectively sprouting quickly to fill this emerging niche in the tech market (case in point: the number of recent Stanford graduates now proclaiming, “I have a fashion startup!”)

Still, what do engineers and fashion stylists have in common? That question was part of a recent discussion at Fashion+Tech SF, a series of workshops created by the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance to link fashion and technology players in the San Francisco Bay Area. As it turns out, plenty.

During short presentations given by a group of 16 presenters that included fashion startups such as Boutine and Style You, as well as fashion labels such as Saga Swimwear, players on both sides of the fashion and technology equation shared their ideas. Among these ideas were new, innovative takes on virtual “how-to” styling guides and personal makeovers complete with fashion shoots and personal stylists.
Attendee checks out some of the proposed merchandise from a online retail start-up.
Presenting Gorilla Workshop, an online design collective that promotes street wear style clothing.
Fashion designer Liz Vranesh listens during the discussion.

After listening to a few presentations, I headed over to talk to Pramod Dabir. What had brought him to the event?

“These events are good for networking and getting exposure,” Dabir told me. He was there to make new connection for, a social commerce website he founded that features new and emerging designers. Their hook is the ability to create and follow personalized online shops that shoppers curate and earn 10 percent commission on sales.

Not everyone in attendance was a startup founder. Stylish fashion illustrator Emiah Gardner told me, “I came because I’m beginning to look for funding [for my illustration blog]. I wanted to get a feel for what is in the market and what other people are doing.”

Others were there to learn more about the San Francisco fashion community.

“I just moved here from Colorado, and I’m trying to get involved with the fashion scene in SF,” explained designer Liz Vranesh.

Intrigued? Check out upcoming Fashion + Tech SF events here.

Photography by Shaun Tiangsing for SFFMA