Ivyrevel, a digital fashion house, has a distinct advantage over other start-ups as it relaunches globally today: The considerable muscle of the H&M Group, which is an investor and strategic adviser to brand.
H&M Group provided production expertise and connected Ivyrevel with suppliers in its network. Another adviser, Paypal, shared insights about payment and distribution.
“We are still an independent brand,” said Aleksandar Subosic, cofounder and cochief executive officer of Ivyrevel. “In the end, we make our choices by ourselves. H&M Group helped us with their production apparatus and we used suppliers from the H&M Group. All the creative processes are in Stockholm.”
“We are delighted to support the entrepreneurs at Ivyrevel on their journey to explore the merging of fashion creativity with technological innovation and in creating a fashion brand for women of the digital generation,” said Björn Magnusson, head of H&M Group’s investment team CO:LAB.
Subosic said that working with H&M Group factories, which are usually accustomed to larger production runs, hasn’t been a problem. “They have great suppliers that helped us a lot with the designs we produce,” he said. “They haven’t felt that we’re too small. It’s only been thumbs-up.”
Ivyrevel was founded in 2012 by Subosic; his brother, Dejan; Kenza Zouiten, and Gustav Springfeldt, who shared “a passion for fashion and technology.” However the initial collection and the one currently online bear no relation to the “new” Ivyrevel being introduced on April 7.
“Everything will change when we launch on April 7, including the logo,” said Subosic. “We haven’t shown the collection yet. We’ve been working for eight months to create the true Ivyrevel.”
He added, “We have a design team and a creative collective. We want to merge digital heritage with creativity.”
Ivyrevel’s collection bowing on April 7 will feature 200 items, from leather jackets embroidered with gold thread to five-inch heels. The line has the full wardrobe covered, from casual to party clothing. Prices, which seem to have benefited from H&M’s sourcing abilities, range from $30 for T-shirts to $450 for genuine leather jackets. Most of the designs will be limited edition, adding uniqueness to the global offering. Exclusive, highly embellished dresses will cost around $2,000.
It’s a far more expansive collection than Ivyrevel offered when it approached H&M Group; at that time it boasted customers in 31 markets.
Polished, bold and extroverted, “with an ample amount of attitude,” is how Subosic describes Ivyrevel. The concept is unusual in Northern Europe, where colors are muted and styles aren’t edgy or aggressive. “The Nordic countries are into minimalism,” Subosic said. “We like maximalism. More is more. We like lots of embellishment, embroidery, beading and bright colors.”
Subosic described Ivyrevel’s creative process as “very democratic. Everybody has the right to speak their mind in terms of design, fabric and creative.”
The Stockholm lab is tasked with blue-sky thinking to experiment with the future of fashion. Machine learning as part of the creative process, interactive fabrics, wearable tech, distribution and customer experience are all being studied. Subosic declined to discuss the proprietary algorithms that Ivyrevel uses to develop and adapt products. “This is something we hold really dearly,” he said. “It’s a business secret for us.”
However, Subosic divulged that Ivyrevel captures data when customers make a purchase, “but also way before that through the algorithms and trend analysis. We make products our customers want and ensure that Ivyrevel understands our customers’ changing passions.”
Subosic said the data can influence everything from color to style. “Data enhances creativity — that’s the really interesting part,” he said. “Instead of seeing data as boring, we see it as exciting.”
The group made the decision to distribute Ivyrevel digitally; however, given H&M Group’s brick-and-mortar prowess, Subosic said, “We have plans to open stores. The future will tell what we’ll do. Our focus right now is to be purely digital.”
According to Subosic, Ivyrevel didn’t know anyone at H&M Group. “We just sent an e-mail and gave them our pitch — what Ivyrevel is and what we’re all about. That e-mail led to a meeting and that meeting led us to where we are today.”
Subosic wouldn’t say whether H&M Group invested in IvyRevel with an eye toward developing the business. H&M has nurtured other brands, including & Other Stories, which has roots in Stockholm. The retailer & Other Stories, which bowed in March 2013, operates independently of H&M with design ateliers in Paris and Stockholm. Its first U.S. store opened in October 2014 at 575 Broadway in SoHo.
“I think they [H&M Group] found our technology very interesting and they found it interesting that we approach fashion and the fashion industry from a fully digital perspective,” Subosic said. “In the end, it’s about people sharing the same vision and enjoying working with each other. We share with H&M Group the same vision and we have a lot of fun working with them.”