Fashion forward: Here's 20 fashion e-commerce startups to watch in Europe

Europeans are increasingly buying online, and fashion retailers are riding the wave with gusto. Here's a list of 20 hand-picked, European-born fashion e-commerce startups to keep an eye on.
Fashion forward: Here's 20 fashion e-commerce startups to watch in Europe

"Everybody needs to get dressed in the morning, and everybody wants to be something because of that effort. It’s an inevitable and inescapable text in our lives, whether we see it as fashion, or downgraded to clothing, or upgraded to personal style," said Sally Singer, former Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times Style Magazine and now Creative Digital Director at Vogue, in an interview with AnOther in 2012.

Meanwhile, European online retail sales are expected to climb to 233.9 billion euros by 2018 and clothing will continue to be the dominating online sales category, according to a recent Forrester forecast.

And yet, despite the obvious market potential, startups in this segment are still often dismissed as frivolous ventures in the tech industry. What gives?

There's no doubt that trivial fashion startups exist – as in any other entrepreneurial category.

However, as technological innovation continues to bring incredible amounts of change to the world of fashion, we're seeing many European companies with the potential to (re)shape this space, particularly in fashion e-commerce.

Unsurprisingly, a good chunk of them hail from fashion capitals such London, where veteran online retailers ASOS and Net-a-Porter are based, and Paris.

Whether it be flash sales, online consignment, social curation or online marketplaces, fashion eCommerce startups in various forms are trying to crack the market.

Here, we highlight 20 promising European fashion eCommerce companies (in no particular order, with HQ in Europe and a version of its site available in English) hoping to transform the industry:

1) Zalando 

ZalandoHeadquarters: Berlin, Germany

Gist: Founded in 2008 by David Schneider and Robert Gentz, Zalando has quickly grown to become one of Europe's largest online retailer with 13.5 million active customers. It's estimated that the company is worth 3.8 billion euros. Additionally, Zalando is reportedly aiming to go public this October.

2) Farfetch 

FarfetchHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Sleekly designed eCommerce site Farfetch, founded in 2008, brings together a curated selection of independent fashion boutiques from Europe and North America on its platform. In April, the company raised $66 million to fuel its expansion in the US, Brazil and Asia.

3) Spartoo

SpartooHeadquarters: Grenoble, France

Gist: Founded in 2006, European online footwear retailer Spartoo is often dubbed the 'Zappos of Europe'. The company is present in more than 20 countries and claims to be backed by up to 45 million euros from French investment banks.

4) Vinted

VintedHeadquarters: Vilnius, Lithuania

Gist: Online second-hand marketplace Vinted was founded in 2008 as a desktop application in Lithuania, but has since gone mobile and entered six additional markets (Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic and the US). In January, Vinted received $27 million in Series B funding.

5) Vestiaire Collective

Vestiare CollectiveHeadquarters: Paris, France

Gist: Founded by Sébastien Fabre and Sophie Hersan in 2009, Vestiaire collective is an online marketplace with a focus on buying and selling pre-owned luxury fashion products. Last September, the French startup collected $20 million from Condé Nast, alongside previous investors.

6) Lyst


Headquarters: London, UK

Gist: Founded in 2010, Lyst has built a platform that aggregates inventory from thousands of brands, boutiques and department stores. The company announced a $14 million funding round earlier this year and aims to take its eCommerce experience into the brick-and-mortar realm.

7) Navabi

NavabiHeadquarters: Aachen, Germany

Gist: Selling products from designer brands – such as Roberto Cavalli – as well as its own label, Navabi is an online retailer for plus-size fashion. Last December, Navabi, which was founded in 2007, raised a 10 million euro Series C round led by Index Ventures.

8) Miinto

MiintoHeadquarters: Copenhagen, Denmark

Gist: Developed by Mike Radoo and Konrad Kierklo in 2009, Miinto aims to do for brick-and-mortar fashion boutiques what what online food delivery company JustEat does for restaurants. The firm secured $6 million in Series A funding in August 2012.

9) Nuji

NujiHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Launched in 2011, social shopping startup Nuji – which competes with Lyst in the UK – offers a platform for users to share and curate fashion and lifestyle products. In March, Nuji closed a $2 million seed round from TAG, Seedcamp alongside undisclosed angels.

10) Showroom

SHOWROOMHeadquarters: Warsaw, Poland

Gist: Online fashion marketplace Showroom curates a selection of independent brands and designers on its site. In 2012, fashion giant Burda International – the publisher behind Elle – took a 25% stake in the company after an undisclosed investment..

11) VideDressing

VideDressingHeadquarters: Paris, France

Gist: Launched in 2009 by Meryl job and Renaud Guillerm, VideDressing is an online secondhand fashion marketplace focusing on high-end items and a free returns policy. Most recently, the startup received an undisclosed amount of funding from the Samwer Brothers' Global Founders Capital (GFC) fund.

12) Girl Meets Dress

Girl Meets DressHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Online fashion rental service Girl Meets Dress, founded in 2009 by Anna Bance and Xavier de Lecaros-Aquise, is an example of the collaborative consumption trend in the industry. The startup raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the Samwer Brother's GFC fund alongside VideDressing in August 2013.

13) MonShowRoom

MonShowRoomHeadquarters: Paris, France

Gist: Founded in 2006 by Séverine Grégoire and Chloé Ramade, MonShowRoom is an online fashion portal dedicated to selling current season products (as opposed to past products on a discount). The firm received 4.3 million euros February in 2009.

14) Secretsales

SecretSalesHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Founded in 2007, flash fashion sales site Secretsales works with over 600 brands to provide users with new sales every day. In April, the company raised £4.5 million in its third round of funding.

15) Dymant

DymantHeadquarters: Paris, France

Gist: Invite-only eCommerce site Dymant offers members access to exclusive artisanal products. The French startup, which received $1.4 million in backing, works with craftsmen to design and sell limited-edition products to its customers.

16) Chic by Choice

Chic by choiceHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Pan-European fashion rental site Chic by Choice lets users hire-out designer dresses at 85% off retail price. Alongside the startup's launch to the public last month, Chic by Choice announced a 500,000 euro seed round.

17) Rad


Headquarters: Paris, France

Gist: Fashion discovery platform Rad – a competitor to Lyst and Nuji – was founded by Anthony Serero, Julia Serero, Simon Amazalag and David Smadja. Launched in July 2012, Rad's current business model focuses on 'flash sales' .

18) Mallzee

MallzeeHeadquarters: Edinburgh, UK

Gist: Personalized shopping app Mallzee takes a Tinder-esque approach to fashion, but instead of swiping an 'X' or '<3', users have the option to 'Share' or 'Buy'. In May, it announced a a £500,000 seed round. 

19) Stylect

StylectHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Another startup taking a page from Tinder is Stylect, which is essentially a Tinder for shoe shopping. Founded in 2013, the startup has raised a total of £320,000 in funding. 

20) The Chapar

The ChaparHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Father-son entrepreneurial duo Joe and Same Middleton launched The Chapar, a personal styling service and eCommerce site for men, in 2012. The startup is reportedly backed privately.

Know any other fashion startups that should definitely be on our radar?

Let us know!

UPDATE: Here's a couple more European fashion e-commerce startups, suggested by readers (thanks!), that fit into our criteria:

  • Stylight (Munich, Germany) – Founded in 2008, Stylight is an online platform curating a selection of fashion trends, inspiration and products from online shops and boutiques. The startup secured a multi-million euro Series B round last January.
  • Carnet de Mode (Paris, France) – Online fashion marketplace Carnet de Mode, founded in 2011, features mostly collections of young and emerging designers. Last May, the French startup raised a $1.5 million Series A.
  • Thread (London, UK) – Online personal styling service Thread, founded in 2012, has garnered the attention of influential investors, advisors and retail partners. The company has raised $2.5 million in seed funding.
  • The Cloakroom (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – Similar to Thread, The Cloakroom is an online personal shopping service, but catered to men. Users receive a customized box selected by a personal shopper and pay for the items they choose to keep. Launched last year, the startup recently announced a 1.2 million euro funding round.
  • Chicisimo (Valencia, Spain) – Founded in 2010, Chicisimo is a fashion community that recently launched a "social shopping system" to its site. Essentially, the new features allows users to tag their style looks with links to product pages.
  • Wheretoget (Paris, France) – Dubbing itself the "Shazam for fashion", Wheretoget is a community for fashion enthusiasts founded in 2011. How it works: users upload an image of an outfit they like and the startup's community responds with suggestions on where to get the pieces (or similar ones). Wheretoget raised 1.4 million euros in May.

Featured image credit: Anton Oparin /

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