NEW YORK – The New York Fashion Tech Lab (NYFT Lab) announced the commencement and participants of its third class. This year, eight élite women-led start-ups, all with a keen focus on enhancement of the retail customer experience, begin a 12-week development intensive program that is a true collaborative effort, with unprecedented access between major fashion retailers and innovators.
The program was co-founded by the Partnership Fund for New York City, Springboard Enterprises and major fashion retailers to support women-led companies that have developed innovations at the intersection of fashion, retail, and technology.
Returning to mentor this year’s class are NYFT Lab Founding Members ALEX & ANI, Kate Spade & Company, and Macy’s, as well as returning partner Bloomingdale’s. The 2016 class will also tap the knowledge banks and resources of Halston, Kohl’s and a first-ever technology partner inMicrosoft. All seven companies will enable iteration, validation, and acceleration of technologies from the eight early and growth stage companies that advance their businesses and the industry.
The third class offers a mix of technology that address Omni channel, direct-to-consumer and wearable technologies that can impact the customer experience, enhancing their overall satisfaction in varied retail environments and mediums. This year’s class includes:
“Building on our legacy of creating a unique environment that allow both our mentors and class participants to test forward-looking technologies that have real-world impact on customers and the ‘bottom line’ is core to the value we bring to the Fashion Industry,” said Kay Koplovitz, Chair of NYFT Lab, and Chairman of Springboard Enterprises. “Our 2016 class is no exception to that mantra and this year we’ve paired them with brands that continue to innovate beyond their own borders for consumers on a daily basis.”
Several former NYFT Lab companies have gone on to successful ventures as a result of the program. Announced at the 2015 Demo Day, Macy’s and NYFT Lab alumnae Nineteenth Amendment brought a new shopping experience to online customers at macys.com that evolved into an in-store experience during this February’s New York Fashion Week, when the Fashion Tech startup and online marketplace hosted a public, shoppable Fashion Week event at Macy’s Herald Square flagship store, featuring on-demand goods from emerging designers.
“Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are proud to be at the forefront with the New York Fashion Tech Lab in creating a dynamic retail platform designed to introduce independent designers and support fashion tech start-ups in the marketplace,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s Inc. “Identifying and nurturing innovative retail concepts that enhance the customer experience whenever and however they choose to shop are imperative to driving the fashion industry forward.” He continued, “The talent at the Lab is impressive, and this collaboration gave us the opportunity to put innovation to the test by expanding our partnership with Nineteenth Amendment to macys.com, giving our shoppers a new experience in buying custom clothing, made on demand from tomorrow’s emerging designers.”
Technology partners are taking notice of NYFT Lab in its third year with Microsoft joining the program as the official technology partner.
The 2016 NYFT Lab is in residence at Bene Rialto: New York City’s first retail incubator and co-working space. Occupying a five-story historic townhouse at 13 W. 38th St., in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District, Bene Rialto is filled with emerging fashion brands for shoppers. The upper floors include shared work space and event venues for emerging brands, fashion media, stylists and more.