Thread is a free online personal styling service, which was launched in 2012 in London. It provides a solution for everyone to find suitable clothes through its stylists online. The company is on track to become a major player on the fashion landscape after securing £16.7m in funding from the H&M group.
The site uses online stylists, as well as artificial inteligence (AI) and machine learning, to create a personalised way to shop.
The CEO of Thread, Kieran O’Neill, said in an interview that: “We went to Liberty for a bit and I went to the men’s section,” O’Neill said in an interview at Thread’s London office. “[I] went to the rack and was browsing and I looked at it and it wasn’t my size. I felt this rage, this offence that why would you bother showing it to me if it’s not actually in my size?”. That is the problem their platform is trying to solve.
If you sign up to Thread, you will be instantaneously asked to provide photographs of yourself, along with your measurements, what is currently in your wardrobe and your budget.
Subsequently, the company uses that information and provides you with a virtual stylist who will begin recommending clothes for you to buy.
To maximize profits, Thread does not hire stylists to learn every single detail about the customers; it uses a mixture of artificial intelligence and machine learning to help its stylists out.
“We plan on investing in data science, AI, and engineering design so we can do a bunch of things that customers want and that aren’t possible in e-commerce places, so, for example, seeing the clothes on a model who looks like you, or having the description of the item know that you are tall, so say that these shoes will look good on you,” said O’Neill, who has identified Thread’s “sweet spot is [men in their] late 20s to late 40s” – men who, he says, don’t follow fashion influencers but still care about fashion. “We want every last touchpoint highly tailored so it is like the shop has been built for you.”
Thread has raised $22 million in a Series B funding round from Balderton Capital, Beringea, Forward Partners, and H&M group’s investment arm H&M CO:LAB, with participation from Maurice Helfgott and Sebastian Picardo. The company intends to use the funding to hire more AI specialists and ramp up its brand marketing efforts.
The company has raised more than $40 million in funding so far.