Fashion Technology Accelerator is the International hub that fosters digital and technology advancement in Fashion and Retail industry by bridging innovations coming from startups with fashion corporates.
FTA selects the best international fashion tech startups market ready to support their growth by investing and providing 6-months acceleration program.
FTA works with Fashion and Retail corporates to accelerate their path towards innovation by scouting the most suitable solutions to solve customers’ specific needs.
FTA organizes hackathons and exploration trips in Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv to discover latest trends.
Giusy Cannone, Milan’s Fashion Tech Accelerator Managing Director has a pulse on international startups who are paving the way for everything from a circular retail economy to artificial intelligence. Startups from all over the world have been fostered under the FTA umbrella and hail from countries like Russia, the United States, Israel and Italy.
At the recent “Rethinking Sustainability in Fashion” summit, you said that you are convinced that tech and innovation can help us achieve a sustainable fashion sector and a circular economy. What did you discover?
This is the second year that we have hosted an event related to sustainability in the fashion world, since our main focus is related to digital. We brought speakers and startups that provide solutions based on the use of data and information tech such as artificial intelligence and block chain and to provide solutions for sustainability.
How will we achieve a circular economy?
Artificial Intelligence is one of the main ways. We work with startups that provide information to optimise resources by using artificial intelligence. These startups aid companies in producing exactly the right quantity of fashion items, in order to avoid over production.
Research shows that about 30 percent of all items produced are not ever worn by customers. There is always a gap and waste.
What are some of the other ways our industries are becoming more efficient?
Blockchain is another example. Blockchain technology provides transparency across the supply chain. Blockchain technology can help put an end to employee exploitation in manufacturing countries and ca detect where the product is produced to avoid counterfeiting.
What are some of the ways startups are paving the way for the future of Artificial Intelligence?
I think that the customer engagement is something that needs to be developed and we will eventually have virtual assistants to suggest potential outfits. It’s not perfect yet. In a few years, maybe one, there will be virtual personal fashion assistants, designers and stylists.
FTA recently partnered with Singapore’s Hatcher Plus venture capital fund. What’s the future strategy going forward?
Hatcher has committed to allocate an investment to each of our startups for three years. It is a way to incorporate guidance and support from an Asian investor – which is really important in terms of financing and startups.
They are also interested in Milan, in particular, because this is the centre of fashion.
How attractive is fashion right now for banks and funds?
Intersection of fashion and tech is not as big a deal as Fintech. More and more, fashion brands and fashion companies are understanding and pinpointing the different technologies and startups that can add to the value chain. I am seeing a lot of interest in fashion sector on a global level — not just in the technology world. We have been contacted by several players in Asia and even a development bank in Qatar, for example.
You’re really a matchmaker – uniting corporates with startups… What are some of the most important corporates you have worked with?
We have worked with corporates in fashion and technology companies that want to provide innovation to potential fashion customers. We have worked with companies like Miroglio, Piquadro, QVC and IBM for instance. In addition, we have organised workshops with fashion companies outside Italy, like Cartier and LVMH who will come here and want to learn more about the startups we work with.