A few (mostly evidence-based) words on cognitive bias and tech

I generally prefer to keep my head down, build things, and support other founders building awesome stuff.  Every once in a while I get my feathers ruffled, though, and feel the need to set the record straight. 

Why do people still think fashion is “silly?”

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Treating fashion as a silly pursuit makes no more sense than treating gaming as a silly pursuit.  They’re both enormous industries (apparel is actually much larger) with great potential for growth and disruption. 

Most boys (and girls!) who get into gaming will treat it as a hobby, some will pursue it as a career because they find it fun, and a few will create enormous businesses.  The exact same thing is true about fashion. 

And yet, fashion is treated as a “dumb” or “silly” pursuit – or assumed to be a “lifestyle business” – in a way that gaming rarely is. 

In the last few days, I’ve heard:

Such a pretty card from my bestie @mrsweinberger (who knows I love me some Papyrus!) before the next stop in our world tour. Kilimanjaro, here we come! (at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK))

Love these looks from #Hermés men’s Spring 2015 show.

Getting started on awesome Easter brunch in a great place with wonderful friends! #blessed (at Edi & The Wolf)

Indira update: building the next generation of digital commerce

We’ve been so busy building in response to demand at Indira that I owe a long-overdue update on all the exciting developments.  Here’s the short version: we’re building the next generation of digital commerce.  

What does that mean?  Let me ask you this…

Have you ever had a really magical experience in a retail store or trunk show?

One where the salesperson seemed to know you immediately - what you loved, what you hated, what looked good on you, and what fit your budget?

Or one where it felt like the shop was merchandised by your best-friend-on-steroids you because you loved EVERYTHING you saw and it all fit you perfectly?  

Now let me ask you a different question… have you ever experienced that online? 

Probably not.  And that’s a shame.

Most e-commerce sites still look and feel like barely-updated versions of an old Sears catalog - the same static squares of photos, maybe some catchy text, but overall a pretty generic experience that treats you like every other person who visits the site (and psssst… that’s probably why 90% of apparel is still sold offline and 30% of what is sold online is returned!).  

It doesn’t have to be that way 

I know, because we’re building a platform that delivers knock-your-socks-off magical e-commerce experiences customized just for you and that helps designers and retailers deliver better products that you’re sure to love.

No more wading through thousands of generic photos full of things you’d never wear or that would never look good on you.  No more struggling with returns because sizing is impossible (for all of us!).  And no more bland shopping experiences or mediocre products, because ain’t nobody got time for that!

So how do we make that magic happen?   

We’ve built some pretty cool technologies that digitally capture all the important things that perfect salesperson would figure out about you in real life (without you having to waste any of your own time).  And we’re building more tools to help every retailer give you a customized view of their products and content based on that information as well as feedback for brands so they can develop better stuff.  

As a bonus, you’ll get some really interesting feedback, like which celebrities and style icons have your body type or skin tone, what brands are making things that are perfect for your shape and style, and how to own the latest styles in a way that’s unique and flattering for you.  

We’re rolling this out slowly, and a little stealthily.  In fact, you might not notice us even when we’re right in front of your eyes!  But don’t worry, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on where you can opt in and where you can see the magic unfold.  

Can’t stand the thought of waiting for more details?  

OK, OK.  Here’s a little more… the technologies we work with the most are computer vision, visual search, and machine learning (you could call it “big data,” but I prefer to think of it as “smart data”).  

We’re rolling out the first products with retailers who are using them to reduce returns (that means YOU get more products you love with less hassle).  If you’re interested in the technical details or want to see a super-secret demo, drop me a line - I’m always happy to chat! :)

Where the heck did this all come from?  

We started with a firm belief that shopping - especially for fashion and luxury products - should be delightfully interactive from the moment you see an ad or website to the time you open the package and try on your shiny new purchase.  

To make that a reality, we built one of the only truly interactive, fully integrated, customized clothing brands on the planet by combining our technical tools with a totally different way of manufacturing.  That lets us deliver couture-quality, customized, designer clothing at a fraction of the price of anyone else.  

That also helped us understand consumers and understand the problems faced by brands and retailers, in many cases better than they understand themselves!  You can still customize and purchase our gorgeous, super-flattering designer silk cocktail dresses and evening gowns at indiracollection.com, but we didn’t want to keep the secret to magical shopping experiences to ourselves!

The future: we’re building it

This is an incredibly exciting time for us (and we think for consumers too!).  We’re flipping this trillion dollar apparel industry on it’s head so that you, dear shopper:

LOVE every second you spend shopping online,

are inspired by unique content and products that are perfect for you,

feel totally comfortable with every purchase you make online,

never have to deal with annoying returns,

and are constantly delighted with even more perfect products!

(and it doesn’t hurt any of us that we’ll be improving sales, return rates, and write-downs for brands and retailers so they can focus their time and resources on making great products for all of us).  

I’ll be spending most of my time building, not blogging, but I’m always up for a chat if you’re interested in learning more… and ESPECIALLY if you’re interested in joining our team!  We’re always looking for great engineers who enjoy the challenges of solving hard problems, playing with cool “toys,” and making the world a more beautiful and profitable place, so feel free to drop me a note.  :)

#DressedToCode! #NYFW #MBFW #FashionTech #Cavalli #Fall

This Esteban Cortazar capsule collection for Net-a-porter is just beyond…

If you enjoyed my article on what fashion-tech is all about and are thinking of getting into the industry yourself, check out my follow-up piece with 4 tasks for getting into the industry!  

Backstage at #missflusa with @titopuentejr