June 5, 2023 Interviews

Interview with Andrea Carpineti, CEO and Co-Founder of Future Fashion, the platform that helps fashion brands to virtualise and customise collections in 3D

Andrea Carpineti is the CEO and Co-Founder of Future Fashion, an omnichannel platform that helps fashion brands to virtualise and customise their collections in 3D by reducing sample costs and increasing customer experience.

Andrea also co-founded DIS, a brand offering the fastest made-to-order shoe service in the world.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Andrea worked as HR Specialist in various Italian companies.

Andrea holds a PhD in Business Economics from the Università Politecnica delle Marche.

In 2017, you co-founded Future Fashion, an omnichannel platform that helps fashion brands to virtualise and customise their collections in 3D. What prompted you to establish Future Fashion?

Andrea: Future Fashion was born in 2017 with a different project, aiming to innovate the traditional Made in Italy footwear sector.

In 2017, my brother Francesco Carpineti, Michele Luconi and I founded DIS, Design Italian Shoes, the world’s fastest-growing brand of customised 100% Made in Italy shoes. We live in the footwear district in the Marche region of Italy, and we wanted to bring an innovative custom shoe service to the web, networking small local realities.

So we started to develop a proprietary platform based on a 3D configurator with which the customer could create a customised shoe. Over the years, it has become an end-to-end platform that manages the entire customisation flow, from taking orders online or in the boutique to integrating within the production processes. DIS offers the service in 42 stores worldwide.

So, following the customised shoe order, the system generates a production bill of materials according to the best possible configuration, which is then integrated into production. Despite not having in-house production, we can deliver customised shoes worldwide within 10 working days. A fashion brand generally takes 8-12 weeks to offer this service with in-house production.

Covid-19 was a crossroads for us. Although we had raised capital, we realised that we did not have sufficient cash flow to overcome the crisis. Shops were closed, turnover dropped to zero, and e-commerce was floating.

So we tried to reinvent ourselves, redesigning the business model. We knew we had a valuable proprietary platform. Several brands had asked us to have our platform in the past, and we had said no. We wanted to leave it as a distinctive value of the DIS brand.

Instead, we decided to validate the resale of the platform in SaaS mode. And within six months, we validated it.

We got several brands on board, such as Testoni, Armani and other small customers, and started to validate and build the product in SaaS mode until we gave dignity to a new business division, which today is called Future Fashion.

Future Fashion is the business division that Startup Wise Guys accelerated. Startup Wise Guys helped us to become a full-fledged tech company to pivot into a SaaS model. Today there are both business units, on the one hand, DIS and the other hand Future Fashion.

So, Future Fashion optimises the use of 3D technology from a web perspective to create an innovative shopping experience that can be integrated into the software system of any company. Can you tell us more about the business model of the company? What other results have you achieved until now?

Andrea: Future Fashion now helps fashion brands virtualise and customise collections in 3D. We have created a platform called 3D Suite to create and manage 3D models and visualise them with a 3D viewer with augmented reality or customise them with a 3D configurator.

Our vision is for 3D to become the standard of visualisation within a product page within 5 years.

We are working on the scalability of the 3D asset with internal research projects based on the needs we see from brands.

In 2022, we closed with an 83% year-on-year increase in turnover to € 1.15 million. Now we have just started the scaleup phase.

You recently announced a € 1 million fundraising round by Zakeke and SICI Sgr. What are the development plans of Future Fashion for the near future?

Andrea: Few players in the market have the vision to build a scalable platform for 3D models. Zakeke and we are perhaps the main ones.

We had already been collaborating for some time, integrating Zakeke’s configurator into our platform. So there was a vision to do one platform together. Because we are very complementary, Zakeke is very focused on the 3D configurator part, and we are very focused on the 3D asset creation and management part. So we created a single end-to-end platform that can compete internationally. In our plans, the idea is to raise an international series A round together.

2023 is very focused on product development. We envision significant growth this year in terms of turnover, intending to reach € 10 million in 2026.

We currently have 15 people and will need to hire another 6 people in the next 12 months.

What are the main challenges you experienced in creating and scaling Future Fashion? What are your next challenges?

Andrea: The further I go, the more I realise that each growth stage is difficult. It is like climbing a mountain with many base camps. When you reach the summit, you realise there is still more to climb. And I realise this is the case because each stage has complexities and issues to manage.

In the initial phase of developing a business, you have to receive trust, often with an idea on paper, validate it quickly and continue to receive new trust. More complex, of course, is getting the team on board, especially a good team, because you are selling everyone a dream.

Moreover, managing people is not minor, especially in a growth phase, because you must start implementing procedures and processes even though you are still a startup.

The main concern for me every morning is product market fit. You only see true scalability when there has been product market fit.

We are still fine-tuning the product to have a 100% market fit. That’s why I believe we are now experiencing the most challenging phase.

Then once the fit with the market is confirmed, I think the path will be stimulating because it will be about managing growth that we hope will be fast and exponential.

One last question. What is your vision for the fashion industry in the near future?

Andrea: Fashion is an industry that has always set trends. Today we are dealing with a piece of the metaverse. The metaverse lives through 3D-generated models. And fashion has somehow ridden this hype in terms of communication projects.

I am sure these communication projects will become more tangible and concrete. And therefore that the fashion industry will be one of the industries that will massively adopt the visualisation part of 3D objects.

There is a lot of focus on sustainability. And business models based on the production of customised items are winning models because they allow you to produce what you have already sold, thus limiting product stock. In addition, with virtualisation, you can cut sample production costs.

It will take time because getting into the processes is not trivial. But, still, I believe that gradually we will move towards sustainable models, where at the base, there is the digitisation of processes and virtualisation of collections.

With Future Fashion, we have realised that the real bottleneck of the process is creating the 3D model. That’s why we are investing in processes that lead to the scalability of the 3D model so that it can be massively applied. Thus drastically reducing the cost of generating the 3D model, making it the visualisation standard.


For more info on FutureFashion, visit: https://www.futurefashionsolution.com/en/