There are so many talented people doing incredible work helping to lead to a sustainable future in this densely populated world of fashion. We have created this “Interview with Influencers” section as a place for all of us to get to know some of these pioneers in the fashion industry.
Interview with Pierre Méric of the “Look Forward” fashion incubator
If you haven’t heard the phrase “Fashion Incubator” before, be prepared, as one is likely coming to a neighborhood near you in the coming years. This trend is certainly here to stay. As with all things on trend and fashionable, Europe has been ahead of the curve when it comes to Fashion Incubators by a landslide. While they are popping up more and more across the United States, we wanted to take the opportunity to talk to some of the original Fashion Incubator pioneers over at France’s “Look Forward” to give you a better idea of what exactly this new craze is all about. So we introduce you to Pierre Méric, he serves as the Project Manager for Showroom Prive’s Look Forward project.
1) How long has Look Forward been open?
We opened in June 2015 and incubated our first startups from Septembre 2015. So it’s been 18 months now, we already coached 17 startups. We are a part of Showroomprivé, a major e-retailer of fashion in Europe (+600Millions€ revenue in 2015, 950 employees, profitable since its creation in 2006).
2) Do you have a full facility for manufacturing?
We do not provide facility for manufacturing, as half of our projects are digital-only.
3) What other services do you offer?
Nevertheless, we host projects in the Showroomprivé offices for a 1-year period, with all basic facilities: wifi, post, and so on. We also provide extended coaching from the Look Forward team, our partners (in banking, recruitment, UX on site, fablabs, ), and all the Showroomprivé employees on very operational matters: SEO, Recruitment, Online and offline communication, Medias, How to build an app, how to get funds, how to be data-driven, and so on. Finally, we also set up meetings with investors (VC & BA) from our networks, an access to our communication canals (PR, Online..) and the 1,500 brands that are customers of Showroomprivé. The entire program is totally free for applicants: we do not take equity in startups, nor fixed fees due to the housing.
4) What is your mission?
We focus on startups (and not only designers) that provides new ways to produce, consume and distribute fashion. So we have startups focusing on new retail concept, new users experiences in ecommerce, new means of communication for fashion retailers, but also 3D Printing, wear-able’s… Our scope is quite wide actually!
Our goal is to democratize and help the digitalization of the fashion industry in France and in Europe, and help the FashionTech ecosystem to grow.
5) How many designers or brands do you work with?
We work with 10 startups a year. Among them, only a part are “really’ designers. It is the case of:
- De Rigueur, the first French brand that conceives authentic, handcrafted and durable items, with refined, vintage and masculine designs, in which we seek, ultimately, to provide additional very practical service, from the subtle integration of new technologies. They won an Innovation award at CES Las Vegas
- Louis Antoinette Paris, a DIY brand that sells sewing patterns, sewing kit to assemble and customize yourself
- Endeer, a project that combines 3D Scans and 3d Print to provide tailor-made lingerie that adapts to every woman breasts
- Maintool, a wearable project that develops leather-made connected bracelet in order to connect every luxury watch on the planet
6) How has the fashion community embraced you since opening?
We created strong links with fashion schools in France and the FashionTech community in its broad sense: others accelerators and incubators, publics institutions, startups… There is a strong interest in France from both public and private sector on the FashionTech topics, as we are a land of fashion.
For more information about Look Forward shoot them an email. They’ll be happy to chat with you!