Fashion and New York are like bread and butter. Or, lox and bagels. The city is an undisputed global fashion capital and home to more than 200 diverse cultures and over 800 fashion companies, accounting for 6% of the city’s jobs. Fashion has an entrenched value system in this city, from the streets of Harlem to the posh storefronts of Madison Avenue.
Woven into the very threads of this global fashion capital is the NYFT Lab, a collaborative effort between major fashion retailers and fashion tech innovators, enabling iteration, validation, and acceleration of technologies, from early and growth stage companies, that will advance and enhance the industry.
The New York Fashion Tech (NYFT) Lab is an initiative by The Partnership Fund for New York City, the investment arm of the Partnership for New York City, and Springboard Enterprises. The accelerator program grooms tech companies with a strong focus on fashion and connects them with leading fashion retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Fossil Group, Inc, Coach, and VF Corporation, who will be joining the founding members of the 2014 inaugural NYFT Lab – Alex Ani, Kate Spade and Company, Estee Lauder Companies, and Macy’s – to create the next industry-shifting technologies, spanning categories including Fit Tech and Wearables, Style Customization, and Data and Productivity.
“The class has a broader focus this year,” said Maria Gotsch, Co-Chair of NYFT Lab and President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “Last year, we saw a lot of analytics companies. This year, the class includes Wearables, Consumer Engagement – and we also have a company that’s focused on disruptive pricing.”
“Last year (which was the program’s inaugural year), we succeeded in creating a unique program that united innovative technology solutions with key players in fashion and retail, which resulted in both Wall Street and Madison Avenue taking notice,” said Kay Koplovitz, co-chair of NYFT Lab, Board Member of Kate Spade & Company and Chairman of Springboard Enterprises. “This year, there’s a stepped-up interest in wearables. There are times when certain ideas are ripe to come to market.”
And like the fashion world itself, the NYFT Lab responds.