News & Views

Finery / The Wardrobe Operating System

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world


New York startup Finery has created an AI-powered operating system that will organise your wardrobe.

Users link The Wardrobe Operating System to their email address, so the platform can browse through their mailbox to find their shopping history. All the items they’ve purchased online are then transferred into their digital wardrobe (with 93% accuracy).


Any clothing bought from a bricks-and-mortar shop can be added as well, but that’s done manually by either searching the Finery database for the item or uploading an image (either one you’ve taken or one from the internet). Finery uses Cloud Vision to identify what the object is (skirt, dress, trousers, etc.), the colour and the material – then the brand and size can be added manually.

Once your clothing is all uploaded, the platform uses algorithms to recommend outfits based on the pieces you own as well as recommending future purchases that would match with your current items.


Users can also create and save outfits within the platform. And, if they give Finery access to their shopping accounts, the startup will aggregate all their unpurchased shopping cart items into a single Wishlist and alert them when said items go on sale.

Finery will alert its users when the return window for an item they’ve purchased is closing. And it will also let them know if they already own an item that looks similar to one they are planning on buying.

Finery has currently partnered with over 500 stores, equivalent to more than 10,000 brands, to create its online catalogue. ‘That covers about ninety percent of the retail market. If you’ve purchased it online in the past 10 years, we will find it,’ Finery co-founder Whitney Casey told Motherboard. And over 30,000 people signed up to the platform five months before its product had even launched.

Next, the company will be expanding into children’s clothing, and then men’s fashion. And it’s working on developing algorithms to suggest outfit combinations based on weather, location and personal preference, as well as a personalised recommendations tool for items not yet in user’s closets.


Automated retail / A millennial woman will spend between $250,000 and $350,000 on clothes in her lifetime, according to Finery co-founder Whitney Casey, but most people are still only wearing 20% of the items in their closet. Finery provides an automated system that reminds women what options they have, as well as creating outfits for them – saving users a lot of time and money (as they won’t mistakenly buy another grey cashmere jumper if they know they already have three at home).

And the women using the platform are spending a lot of time on it. ‘The average session length is an astronomical 11 minutes per session,’ co-founder Brooklyn Decker told Motherboard. This demonstrates that people are ready and willing to monitor their closets digitally.

The automated part of the system only works with online purchases, however, so purchases made in-store require a lot more effort from the user. This could prove problematic if shoppers don’t do enough shopping online. According to 2016 Nielsen research, 82% of those who reported buying clothes in the last six months made purchases at bricks-and-mortar stores, which sounds daunting, but 41% also reported buying clothes online in the same time frame.

However, Casey told Mashable that even if only 20% of your wardrobe comes from online clothes shopping, that’s enough to gain value from the platform. ‘If you do not shop online, you may not like our product,’ but very few of the company’s current key demographic (18- to 35-year-old women) avoid online shopping entirely. Mashable cites a 2016 study by Mintel, which found that 81% of surveyed adults reported making an online purchase, and 87% of those shoppers were willing to buy clothing online.

Plus, with many stores sending digital receipts for purchases now, Finery could integrate bricks-and-mortar purchases that way.

Detailed data / Finery’s whole system depends on users agreeing to give it access to their email inboxes, which could seem like a big ask. But tens of thousands of people have already done so, proving that people are happy to give over their data in exchange for something of value.

This data consists of all the purchases the user has made, all collated into one easy-to-understand space. Users will also identify and remove the items that were gifts or have since been returned. The detail of this data will provide new levels of insight for both Finery and the brands it partners with – and takes it a few giant steps beyond data available from basic Cookie tracking. While Finery data pinpoints exact purchases, Cookies only provide browsing data that can often be confusing and pointless: that means Finery data will be more useful for every brand involved.

Product discovery / As well as giving users a way to organise the items they already own, Finery also uses algorithms to recommend other products they may not have seen on their usual shopping sites. As we explored in our Humanising Online Retail trend, discovering new products is tough when the only option is typing in key words.

ASOS has recently taken on that challenge with its visual search tool, but sometimes shoppers don’t know what they want until they come face to face with it. As Nikki Laing, buyer says: ‘Many consumers don’t know the best way to describe the shoes they want but they know them when they see them.’ So, Finery’s recommendation system could solve this problem effectively, especially as it pairs its suggestions with items users already own.