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Theory CEO Andrew Rosen on the evolution of retail, working with start-ups and what he thinks about wearables


Andrew Rosen, CEO of Theory, and investor in labels including Rag & Bone, Alice & Olivia, Proenza Schouler and Reformation, took to the Fashion Tech Forum stage in New York yesterday to share his insights on everything from content to wearables. Here are six of his most interesting comments…

1. On online shopping: “For 10s of thousands of years, we’ve been doing traditional retail through brick and mortar stores; it’s 10 years or less that we’ve been doing digital commerce. All the metrics we once knew have been disrupted by digital. It’s going to take some time for all of this to work through the system and for all of us to have a good understanding of how it works and needs to work.”

2. On content: “I believe you have to be authentic and your message has to be simple and straightforward. Brands try to confuse everything with a lot of bells and whistles. Whatever it is, it has to be authentic to the brand and the experience has to be seamless for consumers.”

3. On working with start-ups: “Everything has changed over the last few years in our lives and the industry, but the thing that hasn’t changed is that if I find a brand I want to invest in, it’s about their point of view; I’m betting on the people that are running it. I’m not going to do the work – I can [just] help and guide them, so I have to understand their vision, ideas and culture and I have to be able to plug into that to help.”


4. On what he thinks is worth investing in: “I like start-ups to like to be very singularly focused on a very narrow product range and not spread out. A singular voice in a single product category; do that well and then over time gain authority and then expand.”

6. On who is doing tech and fashion well: “Burberry and Tory Burch. But I also like Reformation [who he invests in] and the whole factory-to-closet concept. Through digital commerce and brick and mortar retail they have developed a direct-to-consumer business that’s really exciting.”

7. On wearables: “I don’t wear one, but I like the idea of them and the possibilities there. I think there’s a big future; there’s a new industrial revolution going on with all sorts of possibilities. It’s happening in the tech world enormously and in fashion also. At the end of the day, companies can’t follow the same paths anymore, there has to be a new mindset and innovation in order for progress.”

This post first appeared on
Pic via @debweinswig

By Rachel Arthur

Rachel Arthur is Editor-in-Chief of Current Daily, the leading news source for fashion, retail and innovation, and the co-host of its weekly Innovators podcast. She otherwise serves as Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Current Global, a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion luxury and retail. By background she is an award-winning business journalist and consultant, contributing to titles including Wired, Forbes and Business of Fashion.

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