London College of Fashion’s Innovation Agency (FIA) is constantly looking at ways in which emerging technologies can be deployed within the fashion retail industry to help improve the way that brands create, showcase and ultimately sell their collections. The FIA set up a collaboration between technology start-up SkipQ and new retail concept Lone Design Club (LDC) founded by BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development alumna Rebecca Morter.

LDC represents a highly-curated selection of independent fashion and lifestyle brands that are looking for alternative routes to market, operating an offline to online model specifically to build their direct to consumer model within a struggling wholesale climate, with its next store opening across the official London Fashion Week calendar on Soho’s Greek Street, London from 11 to 23 September. This new experience-led retail concept aims to redefine what a store of the future may look like and provides a contemporary example of how retailers can offer the seamless offline to online shopping experience that customers have come to expect from their online shopping habits.

Rebecca Morter who graduated from LCF in 2013 said:

“It’s not all doom and gloom for the high street, whilst the big players need to have a long hard think about their businesses it allows opportunity for independents like us to bring personality back to retail, it creates space for rebirth, an opportunity for the independents to rise and reshape the future of consumerism. Experience is key, consumers no longer shop the high street for necessity, it’s all about experience, entertainment and social enjoyment – they are looking to be wowed, create memories and enjoy the purchase process.”

The SkipQ app will provide customers with detailed product information as well as a mobile self-checkout solution at their fingertips. It uses object recognition technology and artificial intelligence to identify any item that the customer is interested in and wishes to buy. Customers can browse at their leisure, whilst accessing in-depth product knowledge, without any pressure from sales assistants. Should they wish to think about a purchase, they can save products to their wish-list, share with friends and then shop at a later date. The app can also suggest similar products available within the inventory which may not be available immediately to buy in store – this fusion of online/offline creates an “endless aisle” for the brand. As soon as a customer is ready to purchase their garments, they can simply pay within the app and skip the queue at the cash register.

Matthew Drinkwater, Head London College of Fashion’s Innovation Agency said:

“Adopting new technologies into retail has long been viewed the preserve of the tech giants. By leveraging London’s vibrant start-up scene we have enabled the creation of a meaningful and seamless experience that provides genuine value to the consumer.”

LDC gives a united voice to independent brands, by focusing on selling direct, building relationships and understanding the customers’ needs and wants. It is creating a platform for consumers to discover and shop from independent brands with a focus on transparency around provenance and practices, selling unique and exclusive products across a globally connected community.