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The global fashion business journal

Jun 21, 202411:48pm

Fashion giants armed with startups looking for disruptive effect

From Marks&Spencer to Asics, fashion retail giants continue scanning the market on the look for business projects to add to their corporations.

Aug 12, 2019 — 9:00am

Fashion giants armed with startups looking for disruptive effect



Fashion giants on the look for a disruptive effect. Corporate operations continue to increase, in the last couple of months transactions between the big ones have accentuated and startups enrich the market with new technology or new business models. From Marks&Spencer to Asics, the first half of the year this type of alliances have increased.  


In its way to digitalization, Marks&Spencer has acquired minor stake in Texel, a startup specialized in 3D printing. Through a joined venture with the company incubator Founders Factory, Marks&Spencer, invests in incorporating talent to its retail and makes sure to add technology to improve its service.


3D technology of Texel will allow Marks&Spencer to create a digital avatar of its client, to be able to recommend the clothe that better adjusts to its size and body shape. Marks&Spencer will combine Texel’s 3D technology with the Optitex software, already used by its design team to visualize how the garments look in the mannequins without being modified.





H&M, on the other hand, has entered the capital of the Finnish startup Infinited Fiber Company (IFC), specialized in the production of textile fibers from recycled cellulose. The company payed 3.7 million euros in this operation, also joined by Fortum, the Finnish public energetic company, or the marketing company Virala.  



The technology that the IFC developed allows to reconvert items created with cellulose, like textiles, cardboard or vegetable waste, again into natural fiber. Nowadays the company counts with a factory in Finland with the capacity of transforming almost 50 tons, and its plans go by arriving at 500 tons. Once recycled, the fiber can be used in the textile industry to produce denim, t-shirts, linens, amongst others.  


The marketplace Farfetch made a move this year toward the niche market and acquired a minority stake in the online platform The Modist, specialized in the modest clothing. The operation, which value is unknown, has also counted with the participation of Annabel Investing Holding, the investing arm of Nicola Bulgari, vice-president of the jewelry group Bulgari.


The Modist offices are in Dubai and United States and commercialize products in more than 180 brands in 120 countries. Plus, its counts with its own brand, Layeur. The group was founded two years ago by the businessman Ghizlan Guenez. This is the second investment of Farfetch in less than a year. Last December, the group acquired the specialized in sneakers marketplace Stadium Goods, for 250 million dollars.




In the sportswear business, the American Foot Locker has been the one with more operations closed. In few months, the retail giant has invested a hundred million dollars in the capital of de Goat Group and Flight Club, two operations that to the ones last year with Super Heroic, Carbon38 and Pensole.


Asics, on the other hand, also started to pick the seeds of its startup accelerator, Tekan-ten with the entry of Curv Lab. The company has developed a software that captures movement using the camaera of smartphones and with the goal of improving the performance in personal trainings.


The founder of OTB holding, Renzo Rosso, took last year a participation in the luxury company Amiri, founded in Los Angeles, by the designer Mike Amiri. The company that employees 65 people in a factory located in the Los Angeles art district, forecasts to generate sales for 60 million dollars in 2019. With this operation, the American company wants to start opening its own physicals stores starting this year and extend its portfolio with accessories and tailor-made suits.


Perfumes, the more active sub-sector in Spain  

In Spain, Perfume’s Club, specialized in the online sales of perfumes, closed last year April the acquisition of a minority stake in the startup ModumB, specialized in the hairdresser and barbers’ segment. Specially, the group has acquired 30% of it.


The startup counts with formation courses in hairdressing and barbers and counts with a network of 58,000 stylists and professionals. The goal of Perfume’s Club is to expand its offer.  


Puig, the Spanish cosmetics giant also went shopping in the last couple of months. The company reinforced it international presence with a stake in the Colombian company, Loto Sur and in the Indian , Kama Ayurveda.

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