Shoppers at Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage X Fenty may soon find it easier than ever to find products that fit their measurements. Last year, the brand made an investment in a four-year-old, Miami-based startup called FIT:MATCH; now, Savage X Fenty is employing FIT:MATCH’s tech in a growing number of its retail stores, starting with a location in Atlanta, Georgia.
How it works right now: Shoppers who opt in to the “experience” step into a fitting room where, using lidar sensors made by Intel, FIT:MATCH creates an anonymized avatar based on the individual’s body shape that it compares with a database of so-called digital twins to find the best-fitting products for the shopper. According to FIT:MATCH founder and CEO Haniff Brown, no videos or pictures are stored; the process also takes less than 30 seconds from beginning to end, says the company.
It’s the start of what FIT:MATCH hopes will be a much longer journey, says Brown, whose startup has so far raised $10 million in funding across two tranches, including from Alante Capital and Fabletics, a brand that, like Savage X Fenty, is part of TechStyle Fashion Group, an L.A.-based brand incubator whose spin-outs charge customers monthly for credits toward their purchases. (Both Savage X Fenty and Fabletics operate using this membership model.)
Savage X Fenty is obviously a good partner to have, considering the notorious difficultly most women face in finding lingerie that fits them just right. The outfit is also growing its brick-and-mortar footprint somewhat quickly. After opening its first location early last year in Las Vegas, five more followed, including in Atlanta, and the brand says more are coming, including to Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago.
But FIT:MATCH is also being trialed in a different way by Macy’s, whose associates are scanning customers with their iPhones in the privacy of the store’s fitting rooms to more quickly assist them in finding the right bra size. Indeed, if all goes as planned, a much bigger market for FIT:MATCH will center on at-home shoppers who similarly use their iPhone’s lidar combined with the startup’s body mapping technology for use across participating retailers. The app isn’t available yet but it’s coming this year says, Brown.
When it arrives, FIT:MATCH will be competing with a growing spate of 3D body-scanning apps. Yet Brown insists that FIT:MATCH has a secret weapon in its chief data scientist, Jie Pei, who developed the body-mapping technology while pursuing her Ph.D. from Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. (Cornell has since licensed three of the patents on which she worked to FIT:MATCH.)
Pei’s work is sufficiently compelling that Brown — who previously worked at Credit Suisse and Freeman Spogli, focusing on investing in retail and consumer companies — says FIT:MATCH has already received interest from other brands wanting a stake in the company, one of which was interested in a potentially lucrative but exclusive tie-up.
He adds that his 30-person company chose to sign a contract instead with Savage X Fenty based on its interest in getting FIT:MATCH into the world as widely as possible, as well as its similar growth objectives. After all, like FIT:MATCH, the lingerie brand is still quite young, having been founded less than five years ago in the spring of 2018.