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Transforming Fashion with a Shape-Shifting Mannequin |Audrey-Laure Bergenthal at Euveka

Visits to the local tailor aren’t as common as they once were. The focus is on mass-produced garments that ideally fit our body type as best as possible. We are short, tall, slight, and large, and clothes require complicated adjustments to fit a diverse population.

But though designers and tailors are working hard at major clothing companies—and also at other suppliers, such as the military and sports sectors—they’re working without the customers to measure.

In this edition of UpTech Report, I talk with Audrey-Laure Bergenthal, the founder and CEO of Euveka, who realized that the industrialization of clothes had only occurred at the production end, not the design end. What if there was a way to replicate that customer base that’s gone missing, to give designers the proper framework to build on? The Biomimetic Robot Mannequin was Audrey-Laure’s answer.

More information: http://www.euveka.com/en/


After hearing numerous complaints of her mother who could not easily find garments that would fit her well. Audrey-Laure Bergenthal realized that garments for the whole planet were made out of one single wooden mannequin dating back to the 19th century. These did not resemble anyone and prompted her to create the first biometric robot-mannequin with instant shapeshifting.

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal chose not to pursue her law studies at Harvard and instead to study Fashion Design and Modeling at the Formamod School of Paris in 2008 to learn the profession of its future users and develop industry skills. For 5 years she worked as a product manager in the fashion and luxury apparel sector. Working as a University Lecturer at Science-Po Paris and a consultant in fashion innovation strategy she set out to self-finance her project. 

Audrey-Laure created Euveka in 2011. With the filing of a technological patent and industrial partners to initiate the project. She led the first fundraising in 2015 to launch a prototype of a robot-mannequin, assemble a team and devote entirely to Euveka. With the success of this Fashion Technology concept, second fundraising was undertaken in 2017 to industrialize the solution. As a result of 7 years of R&D, Euveka’s women-connected model is a technological innovation designed to adapt as closely as possible to the evolution of the human body, according to age or morphotypes.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 0:00
I thought that everything was privatized and and that garments were made by robots or whatever and. And then I discovered that no matter where you were in the world in Pakistan in China and friends in the US, it was a man or woman behind a sealing machine assembling pieces of a garment. And I realized that it was so our cake and I thought maybe we could do something more.

Alexander Ferguson 0:34
visits to the local tailor aren’t as common as they once were. The focus is on mass produced garments that ideally fit our body type as best as possible. We are short, tall, slight and large, and clothes require complicated adjustments to fit a diverse population. But though designers and tailors are working hard at major clothing companies also at other suppliers, such as the military and sports sectors, they’re working without the customers to measure. In this edition of UpTech Report, I talk with Audrey-Laure Bergenthal, the founder and CEO of Euveka, who realized that the industrialization of clothes had only occurred at the production end, not the design end. What if there was a way to replicate the customer base has gone missing. To give designers the proper framework to build on the biomimetic robot mannequin was Audrey’s answer. Audrey, I’m excited to be able to chat with you today and hear more about Euveka. And kind of the process and the growth that you’ve been experiencing with it. To start us off, can you go ahead and describe it in five seconds? Very brief. What is it?

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 1:35
We have developed smart emotive robot and software solution enabling brands to have a perfect match between production and customers? It means that you can produce garments and sell what really fit your customers.

Alexander Ferguson 1:55
Amazing. And this is you start about 2011. So about nine years ago, they spent on the journey. And this is this your This isn’t your first business that you ran correct.

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 2:06
And it’s not my first but it’s my biggest before it was like being in the keynote, kindergarten of entrepreneurship. And then it turned to be like being directly in in high school.

Alexander Ferguson 2:23
Graduation, yes, to the next level. So the concept of a robot mannequin and then software to kind of combine that and control it. Where did that even that concept originate? And how did that? Why did you start it? What was the problem that you saw, you’re like, I need to make a robot mannequin that can change sizes.

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 2:42
Um, I had the idea more than 15 years ago, when I saw all those fast fashion stores opening all over the world and seeing me and my friends being dressed all the same. And, and, and I thought that one day, we would all be fed up to be dressed the same. And I could hear also many customers complaints such as my mother every day, complaining that she would not find garments that would fit her wha and she’s kind of really beautiful. She looks like a French actress getting dinner. And I said okay, my mom is beautiful. And my sister was a model for couture. And she could not get dressed as well. Because in Europe clothes are very are made for it small people can say so, and and I said okay, there are beautiful how does the rest of the world do? So it was a bit stupid, but but I said okay, if beautiful people cannot get dressed what happened to the rest of the world. And then I check how garments were made. And I realized that we we had a problem into in which and then I realized we I thought that everything was privatized and and that garments were made by robots or whatever and and then I discovered that no matter where you were in the world in Pakistan in China and friends in the US it was a man or woman behind a sewing machine assembling pieces of a garment. And I realized that it was so our cake and I thought maybe we could do something more and and we could maybe integrate diversity into the process and that is why I checked how garments were made and how we used to make garments when we were before the ready to wear industry. When we used to go to the to our tailor and ask for made on measure garments. And I thought okay, we just need to industrialize the process of made to measure and to make it implementable into a ready to work process. I thought that was easy.

Alexander Ferguson 5:02
You were talking earlier about the concept of the idea of having two two robot mannequins, one where the designers is fashion, and then what were the those who are actually creating it, and then that your software connects it to so that you make sure that what they’re actually creating is what you designed. And the measurements are always tied together is that the concept?

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 5:21
Yes. And our technology and they those two, first, take into account a diversity of body and shapes, and not work on a on a uniform basis. And then it helps you work also with your suppliers manufacturers at the same time, and taking that the volumes that you have given to your garments are perfect and equal. Wherever you are in the world. And in during this crisis, it’s more than than useful because then you have your team able to keep on working and not forced to travel.

Alexander Ferguson 5:59
So helps both both the workers don’t having to travel and bring physical new mannequins or objects, but they can just press a button and then their mannequin changes size to match what they what they need to create, which I love your vision of of clothing needs to match every body size and to be able to move forward in this more customized world, people are expecting that. You also mentioned other use case where there are retailers those who are selling it, but because they’re bringing in all these different clothing and options around the world sizes are different based on where you’re coming from. So tell me more about this. What is it? How does it help standardization?

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 6:38
It helps Well, it has standardization or maybe not so much standardization, but identification because brands have have their own measurement chart and feet and, and, and style. And customers have issue identifying if the garment they like will fit them perfectly. So what we want to do is to help them know that the garments they they are looking on internet will perfectly match their morphology and and shape.

Alexander Ferguson 7:15
So theoretically, as more and more people buying clothes online, they should be able to very near future just take a picture of themselves and they would know what their body shape is. And then the online retailer should be able to quickly identify say, This clothing is good for you or not, and exactly what size

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 7:32
exactly is that’s my goal, we want to create a new system of validation a kind of a norm that would say if we say that it fits you, then it will fit you perfectly.

Alexander Ferguson 7:44
I love the picture of the future and the vision that you paint. Obviously, this has been a journey for you what what’s kind of the, the steps that you’ve been taking what’s coming up next.

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 7:58
For them, now we are deploying on the retail side, we first decided to work with the manufacturing part of of brands. And, and with the COVID crisis, we’ve been approached by the same customers that we have or new one that wants to deploy our technology for online sales and boutique. As you know, at the time, it’s because shops are mainly closed or trying to open leader by leader and and and people are frightened to try and close on shops. So they want to use our robots. So the robot we will show them how the garment feed in and they won’t be forced to try on the garment if they want to buy it. That’s one of the new COVID Use that we have experienced so far. And that is why we are driven and dragged into going to the to the retail part and we’ve been approached also by major online CAD firms that want to have the AR technology in order to have as you mentioned customers to visualize themselves in different sizes.

Alexander Ferguson 9:10
It’s the the roadmap of how you’re helping people’s probably changed a little bit because of COVID-19 You probably had one direction now you’ve shifted a little bit Would you Would you agree with that?

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 9:22
Yes of course we are, we are forced to to shift and we are forced to to adapt also to the budget that brands have now because they are in extreme suffering. And and that is why we are trying also to to to lower our price and help them still make a change and be able to to to go through this terrible time and and have them also deploying new new steps where we were initially not ready to do it. But in the meanwhile of the lockdown we We work on that and we should be ready pretty soon to do online and retail.

Alexander Ferguson 10:08
What your business model is it is it both a product based buying the mannequin, the robot mannequin as well as like a monthly software SAS mentality, what does that work? How’s that work for

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 10:21
you? And we have a rental offer, it’s, it’s all about subscription we engage clients with, with this tender offer, composed of the robot software license and maintenance service and, and we engage them from minimum one year to three years depending on how much they want to pay each month. And it’s a way for them to be not burdened by the investment in in their economics and and and as they want more or they want to have many units of Robert it’s faster for them and easier and and less painful to have subscription system

Alexander Ferguson 11:18
can you share any metrics of the kind of the customers have like you’ve been able to serve? It sounds like a monthly type of thing that they’re they’re utilizing you.

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 11:28
It’s a very beginning, we we had a rose interest from the press as we want to see yes, in 2019. But we were not into the sales phase. We’ve just entered this this phase A few months ago. And we’ve already generate nice orders from Chanel who is our is historical partner. And also from added as group we have equipped them in Europe and in the US and and we are also working with major brands in the LVMH group and the caring group. And some fast fashion brands also in Europe for the moment, we are mainly working with Europe, and we were we are about to deploy in the US.

Alexander Ferguson 12:24
So tell me going forward from here, what do you see is kind of the the near term end of this year, the next year, kind of what you’re focused on and then the long term and the next five years that your aim is for.

Audrey-Laure Bergenthal 12:36
So in the next few months, we want to stay really careful and just focus on our domestic market in Europe and and continue negotiation and talks with with the US part of our market, which is very enthusiastic about the technology and and then we want to we expect to have our certification ready before the end of 2020 and be able to deploy in the US in 2021. So 2021 will be for the international expansion on both continents. And and we will begin and to be even more digital in 2021 with new app that we are currently working on the to to have the really powerful technology for for online sales, enabling them to have a rapid impact on returns and on so

Alexander Ferguson 13:41
be sure to check out part two of my conversation with Andre in which he consider some interesting cultural differences between starting a company in France versus the United States and how that affected our approach.

PART 2

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