7 Kickass Partnerships in Fashion Tech

7 Kickass Partnerships in Fashion Tech

It takes two to tango. This classic idiom can be applied in so many ways, and even more so when your goal is to run a successful company. It has become very clear to us that brands–now more than ever–are starting to realize the effect that partnering with a startup can have, and vice versa. Startups forming a partnership with well-known brands, celebrities, famous bloggers, and already-established startups has an obvious value: immediate traction and media attention. They’re mutually beneficial and, when done right, a clever marketing strategy.
We’ve done some homework and picked our favorite collaborations amongst fashion startups, brands, and celebrities. Here’s the kickass list in no particular order:
1) Lyst & Pinterest
Finally! You can now shop the fashions on your Pinterest board thanks to Lyst, a social commerce website that helps you discover the best fashion for you.
How it works: Create a Lyst account, link your Pinterest account, and voilà–shoppable pins. Well, as long as it’s indexed under Lyst. But, by aggregating the accounts, Pinterest will now notify you via email when your “pinned” fashions go on sale.
What’s in it for Lyst: Traction, increase in affiliate sales, and overall brand recognition.
What’s in it for Pinterest: A shoppable website, happy pinners, and an overall kickass partnership that feeds into the needs of Pinterest’s fashion-savvy users.
We never thought we’d see the day. What a win-win situation for both companies–and a collaboration from which every fashionable pinner can benefit.
2) Bonobos & Nordstrom
Online retailer Bonobos is now going brick-and-mortar thanks to its new partnership with Nordstrom. The 111 year-old retailer invested a whopping $16.4M into 5 year-old fashion tech startup (can we even call it that anymore?) Bonobos.
How it works: Bonobos will now be available at select Nordstrom full-line stores, and on Nordstrom.com.
What’s in it for Bonobos: Reaching a whole new market of customers–the consumer who doesn’t particularly feed into the new wave of technology, and enjoys the process of physical shopping.
What’s in it for Nordstrom: A whole new partnership that allows Nordstrom to flourish as a retail commerce pioneer. This will be their second partnership; last year they acquired Hautelook, the flash sales site that delivers designer items as a discounted price.
No matter how advanced fashion startups become, there’s reason to believe that retail will never fade into the darkness. However, companies such as Nordstroms must partner with online startups to keep up with consumers’ evolving shopping habits. And it goes without saying, but Bonobos partnering with Nordstrom in exchange for a $16.4M investment and entry to one of the biggest retailers in the country–well, that’s a no brainer.
3) Details & Kaleidoscope Go To Coachella…Together
Menswear meets shoppable street style, and it all took place at the most fashionable music festival in the world. That is, the partnership between Details magazine and Kaleidoscope–one of our favorite mobile apps right now–at Coachella.
How it works: Details and Kaleidoscope partnered to bring shoppable men’s street style fashions to Details magazine, using Kaleidoscope’s technology.
What’s in it for Details: A shoppable online publication and a tech-savvy consumer.
What’s in it for Kaleidoscope: A partnership with Condé Nast, a broader audience in menswear, and affiliate earnings.
According to the online editor-in-chief, Daniel Peres, this was the first time Kaleidoscope has partnered with any publication. “We were piloting this at Coachella, but hope to scale the model to be used in many different ways.” We see this blossoming into a beautiful partnership, and are eager to see what other festivities they tackle.
4) Refinery 29 & Warby Parker Do #IWNY
What happens when IWNY rears its geeky head? Lots of techies come out to play, of course–but thanks to this fashionable collaboration, the stylish cyber crowd got to be a part of the action at the Refinery 29 and Warby Parker party at Mister H in NYC.
How it works: A one night IWNY blowout, made possible by the fashion/beauty/shopping media hub and the startup that made the phrase “geek chic” even cooler. In a recent article on PR Couture, Christine White–the Director of Communications for Refinery 29–commented on the partnership: “As a leading digital media company, our presence within the tech and media communities is just as important as our voice within the fashion industry. Partnering with digital-savvy eyewear brand Warby Parker for Internet Week was a perfect fit to celebrate the heartbeat of both of our companies–style and technology.”
What’s in it for Refinery 29: Media exposure, fun times, and an excuse to party.
What’s in it for Warby Parker: Influx of fashionistas, press, their eyewear on a very stylish consumer.
We were so thrilled to have been invited, and the party couldn’t have been cooler. Armed with fashion-loving DJ Brendan Fallis, eyewear junkies and sexy fashionistas danced to 90s hiphop and sipped on Titos Vodka. It was a night that pulsed with debauchery, and the infamous This is not a brothel. There are no prostitutes here. sign only added to the allure of the night. Well done WP & Refinery.
On another kickass-collaboration side-note: Warby Parker also partnered with Stndair–The Standard Hotel’s mode of transportation from NYC to the Hamptons–where guests who fly get a pair of sunnies to wear during their Hamptons getaway. All of that screams straight awesome, does it not?
5) Justin Timberlake Joins The Beachmint Bandwagon
We all know about Beachmint’s wildly successful verticals: Stylemint, Shoemint, Beautymint, Jewelmint. It’s quite possible that this enormous fashion “startup” is on its way to compete head-on with fashion giants, Gilt Groupe. Though different business models, both have branched out to create smaller sectors–all umbrella’d under their mother company.
Enter Justin Timberlake–actor, singer, former N’Sync’er. This mega celebrity is perhaps the most famous of the spokespeople for the Beachmint brand–and apparently “home” is where Justin’s heart is.
How it works: JT’s lifelong friend–and personal interior designer–Estee Stanley partnered with the celeb to bring the HomeMint (Beachmint’s 5th vertical) to bring a curated selection of home goods ranging from throw pillows and rugs to art work, from both established and emerging designers.
What’s in it for Justin: An innovative tech-based company to partner with, and a potential “in” to the next big acquisition. Cha-ching.
What’s in it for BeachMint: As CEO Josh Berman commented in a recent The Next Web article: “We’re excited to bring an affordable luxury home collection to our customers that combines Estee’s extraordinary portfolio of work and design experience with Justin’s impeccable aesthetic and sense of style.” In our words: “Why wouldn’t you want Justin Timberlake to represent your brand?”
A good reason to believe as to why JT finds this partnership appealing is the recent influx of celebrities investing in tech companies. Ashton Kutcher, as we all know, is an investor in about 25 tech startups. Rachel Zoe has invested in a few as well, and even Lady Gaga partnered with Polaroid for their grey label collection. It’s a strategic and wise business decision for JT to have jumped on the Beachmint bandwagon–and hey, what lady wouldn’t want to lay her head on a pillow selected by the dreamboat? C’mon, just admit it.
6) MR PORTER and USA Network’s Original Series Suits
This collaboration might take the fashion cake in terms of the most organic and strategic brand partnership of the bunch. Brokered by Vanity Fair, this partnership’s goal is to shake the fashion world as much as Mad Men has done–and not just with a brick-and-mortar consumer, but the digitally savvy.
How it works: In preparation for the second season of USA’s hit TV show Suits, they network joined forces with MR PORTER  for an unforgettable fashion show event (check out our recap here), a pop-up shop (at 72 Ganesvoort Street from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET that debuted June 9 and ends June 17), and a microsite on MR PORTER that includes a high-stakes contest, the “Suits and Style” store, its own blog, and an augmented reality mobile app that allows their dapper consumer to shop the suits found in (guess where) the MR PORTER Post (yes, their monthly newsprint). Wow!
What’s in it for MR PORTER: Exposure into a perhaps-untapped market in the US, a remarkable increase in sales, and even more dapper branding.
What’s in it for USA Network: Media exposure for the new season of Suits, higher ratings, a new and fashion-forward demographic, and an association with sexy style.
In a curious effort to see this dynamic collaboration unfold before our eyes, the TWF girls embraced an evening of unpleasant weather and made it out to the fashion show event at NYC’s Highline. From a tech-loving fashionista’s critical eye, we could not be more impressed. The geek in each of us lit right up when we saw the 60’ LED backdrop and the “Instaprint” machine, and the fashionista in each of us obsessed over the beautiful male models styled in MR PORTER’s finest. All of this made for an unforgettable evening–topped off with the fabulous DJ Chelsea Leyland, suited up gentlemen with umbrellas to protect us from melting in the rain, and a gift bag containing lots of goodies (season one of Suits included). We don’t mean to boast, but it truly was a magical night.
7) What better collaboration could there be than with entrepreneurs such as yourselves? Introducing: “Style Startups!”
How it works: Style Startups is a three-tiered members-only program, giving the most promising of fashion tech startups the opportunity to not only become part of an exclusive network of similarly brilliant entrepreneurs, but also to gain immediate access to TWF’s already-established network of resources that the startup may not be able to cultivate alone. This, in addition to the invaluable bespoke mentorship that TWF provides.
What’s in it for you: Being a part of the first-ever membership group specifically created for the fashion tech entrepreneur. This program provides stellar perks: master classes with world-renowned experts, access to a database of both fashion and tech superstars (developers, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, hair stylists, makeup artists, etc.), strategic personal intros to investors, complimentary/discounted access to events across the country, pitch coaching, social media promotions, exclusive dinners hosted by some of NYC’s most talented minds–and more.
What’s in it for us: A chance to do what we love: bring together like-minded fashion tech founders, help them organically cultivate their businesses, then watch them thrive and celebrate their successes.
This collaborative membership is a way to unify this niche industry that we chose to make our lives–we could not be more thrilled to kick this off. Want to know more? Click here.

Moral of the story: collaborations–when done correctly–are an incredible way to branch out and reach a new consumer. Aligning your company with another entity (whether another brand or celebrity) can, and should be, a beneficial project for both parties involved. These, my friends, are partnerships done right.

Cyndi Ramirez is TWF’s Brand & Business Development Manager.

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Featured image via Randomly Random.

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