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Fashion District and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Announce Winner of Retail Futures Innovation Prize 2019

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Published date 02 November 2019

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield partnered with the Fashion District to further support business and innovation in London, as an investment of £15,000 was awarded to AI platform Sparkbox as part of the Retail Futures Award in east London.

Sparkbox helps retailers make the most of inventory they already own, offering on-demand price optimisation recommendations to reduce stock and improve profitability.

URW sponsored the Innovation Challenge Prize, created in partnership with Fashion District and the Fashion Innovation Agency, London College Fashion, UAL to find the future pioneers of the retail industry. The sponsorship is part of URW’s investment in the future of retail and expanding experiences within shopping destinations including Westfield Stratford City which is Europe’s most popular retail, dining and leisure destination. Westfield Stratford City is also the founding member of East Bank project, bringing to life London’s vision for a powerhouse of culture, education, innovation and growth which will see the V&A with The Smithsonian Institution, Sadler’s Wells, BBC Radio along with UCL and London College of Fashion, UAL.

Myf Ryan, CMO Europe and Group Director of Brand and Strategic Marketing for Unibail Rodamco-Westfield awarded Sparkbox a £15,000 cash prize to invest into their company, and 12-month membership with Stylus who provide essential consumer insight into the industry.  As the entries were such high calibre, a further two £5,000 runner-up prizes were awarded to Joanna Chen from Gibbon; a circular economy rental platform that connects the excess inventory from brands and retailers to the travellers who need them, and Taylor Semelsberger from Miro Solutions; a Smart-Fit AI Software which takes the guesswork out of buying footwear online.

Following an intensive pitch and interview process with over 60 entries, nine finalists attended the award ceremony last night along with the full judging panel; Myf Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Carol Hilsum, Director of Innovation at Farfetch, Richard Bonner Head of Store Development, John Lewis & Partners, Carien Beyer, Innovation Programme Manager from True and finally, Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency, London College of Fashion, UAL.

Helen Lax, Director, Fashion District said: The Fashion District Innovation Challenge Prize provides a springboard for tech entrepreneurs to trailblaze within the fashion industry. By creating a network of Fashion District innovators, we can test new concepts that have the power to disrupt the way retail does business and place London at the heart of global innovation.”

The Innovation Challenge Prize encourages creativity and boosts new and emerging talent, creating jobs and supporting fashion tech businesses in this fast-growing industry. The nine shortlisted proposals touched various points of the retail industry including AI personal stylists, rental platforms, smart-fit software, price optimisation, and loyalty solutions.

London College of Fashion, UAL is part of initiatives like this one as part of its business and innovation work, supporting new businesses and creating opportunities for its graduates.