Fashion tech products showcased at Alley NYC

By Dennis Clemente

Last September 12, Alley NYC was transformed into a mishmash of a trade fair’s open layout with cocktails all around, as it held coincided demonstrations of fashion tech products with Fashion Week just a few blocks up Midtown.

Acustom Apparel, Bauble Bar, Gilt Groupe, Hukkster, Makerbot and MaterialWrld founders and staff talked about their fashion tech products along with Buncee, not in the list of exhibitors, showing off its new content creation tool. It looked like a game-fied Pinterest but with interactivity functions.

Nearly 600 people crowded Alley NYC to watch the simultaneous demos going on.

Acustom Apparel is using new technology and a 3D body scanning process to make custom clothing better fitting, easier to purchase and less expensive than traditional methods. A 3-second scan allows you to download over 200,000 data points – combined with our proprietary digital bespoke technology. Acustom can reportedly make Bespoke jeans for under $200. Bespoke jeans usually cost $800-$1,200.

Acustom currently offers custom-fit men’s suits, shirts, blazers, jeans, winter coats, polo shirts, and khaki pants. But how do you get scanned in the first place?

Jamal Motlagh, CEO and co-founder, said Acustom is opening its new retail store at 330 West Broadway this Fall.
The ladies will have to wait.

For those who want to envision a dress they may want to buy or make or share with friends, Buncee showed how its interactive multimedia creation tools can do that.

Not exactly new but still a startup, Bauble Bar is an ecommerce start-up based in New York City “It is building a unique retail destination for fashion jewelry. It closed Series A funding in April 2012 and are backed by Accel Partners and Greycroft Partners.

No introduction needed but perhaps the most visible this year in various meetups, the Gilt Groupe is still the leader in terms of providing instant insider access to today’s top designer labels at up to 60% off.

This year, Gilt spent much of 2013 exploring the exciting world of personalization–releasing test roll-outs of personal sales to make offerings even more relevant to its eight million members. Gilt said feedback shows how Gilt members love personal sales

Hukkster demonstrated its online shopping tool–a bookmarklet that installs in your browser and optimizes your shopping experience online. As you visit all your favorite e-commerce sites you can “hukk” products to collect them in one place for immediate access and be informed via email or text when those select products go on sale. You will also find out about any site-wide promotions or coupon codes!

Perhaps fashionistas can make use of MakerBot the desktop 3D printing service that must be like how sawing machines inspired many back in the day. Founded in 2009, MakerBot has reportedly built the largest installed base of desktop 3D printers sold to innovative and industry-leading customers worldwide

Material Wrld is all about luxury resale. Founded in 2012 by experienced online fashion professionals who love to shop, Material Wrld has been featured in many fashion publications, clearly a win for them in terms of getting the necessary media mileage.

3 types of customers come to Gilt, says founder Michael Bryzek

By Dennis Clemente

How do you get hundreds of people to listen to you when you’ve just heard 22nd startups pitch for 60-seconds each? You just have to be Michael Bryzek, founder of Gilt Groupe, perhaps the most successful CTO in the members-only shopping website which features insider access and discounts to top-notch brands.

But nobody would have thought of that the way Bryzek came to Pitch Night last August 7. Pitch Night, as hosted by Meredith Monroe, provides the platform for really early stage startups to practice and improve their startup pitch.

Bryzek went onstage as if he were the 23rd startup pitching his idea for the first time with his nondescript black Tee (granted it had an emblazoned Gilt logo), faded jeans and well-worn shoes. You could say it’s just his style to be low key and dressed down where his site is known for carrying the most fashionable luxury brands.

For those who don’t know Bryzek, he has his roots in non-profit. Prior to 2007 when he launched Gilt, Bryzek founded Volunteer Solutions and also served as the CTO after the company was acquired by United Way of America in 2001.

As we cornered him later, Bryzek explained to us the purpose of three devices, especially for Gilt. “These are three types of customers,” he insisted. “There is the impulsive mobile shopper, the casual shopper who watches TV with tablet computer in hand, and the laptop user who likes to take his or her sweet time before buying.”

If that’s the case, are we a nation of impulsive buyers? “Forty percent of our revenue is in mobile,” he said.

Not wanting to steal the limelight from the 20 or so presenters, Bryzek let the Pitch Night go with its usual 60-minute pitches from each startup. and won the audience over with their pitches.

LineApple allows you to electronically get into lines and check into appointments. The app virtually holds your place in line so you can shop, play, run errands, or experience local savings nearby while you wait.

Swap enables the purchase of any item in a store or web site using any vendors’ gift card or points. We increase foot traffic, shopping cart conversions and increase wallet share for our merchants.

So for those gift cards you don’t like, founder Rafi Cohen said now you can swap them for something you really want.

Other interesting presenters included’s Shradha and Anisha. “Women in the US spend $133,000 of clothing in their lifetime yet 60 percent complain what to wear,” they chorused. Why is that exactly? Well, the presenter did not so much as answer that as say their site is a “fashion dilemma solver.” They reportedly now have 7,000 visitors.

There are not too many, if any, presenters from Thailand. So it was interesting to hear someone talk about a social network for writers,, only it’s mostly in Thai. It claims to have 12,000 writers.

Founder from Norway, Mikael Hveem, presented his startup,, a digital bulletin board used to create the real-life changes and interactions you want to see in your neighborhood, city or university.

Raad Ahmed, a lawyer, knows how much his profession has been disrupted, so he goes by the tenet, if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em in his site called “We are making use of technology to make the law affordable, accessible and transparent,” he said.

LawTrades quickly connects people to talented lawyers through its online platform. People can find a nearby lawyer, see their live availability, and book an appointment on the site right away.

As an added bonus, he said anyone will be able to create, sign and send legally binding agreements in seconds. Whether you’re at a party talking about your latest idea, in front of a fellow craigslister, or lending your expensive camera to a friend’s friend, have peace of mind with LawTrades’ on-demand contracts.

LawTrades’ Lawyer Connecting Service will initially be available in New York.

For all these presenters, Bryzek had some essential tips. “Have an intense focus on execution. Build foundations of trust. Make great decisions.”

If Bryzek is not exactly the epitome of style, what makes Gilt so stylish. “We hire people of great taste, who love great fashion.” Enough said.