Award-winning London and Cambridge based fashion technology firm Metail has announced a partnership with Benit, technology branch of South Korean conglomerate Kolon. The deal will expand the reach of Metail’s game-changing technology in Asia, which allows for consumers to discover, shop, share and try on clothes online in a unique and engaging fashion.
Perfect fit: Metail co-founder and CEO, Tom Adeyoola, and Kolon Benit Deputy General Manager, Jaehoon Kang
The Kolon conglomerate is the fourth largest in South Korea, with presence throughout Asia and interests spanning multiple sectors, ranging from manufacturing to construction, trade, life sciences research, environment, retail and fashion. Building on its leadership across multiple sectors, Kolon are now setting their sights on the fast growing South-Korean fashion e-commerce market, through its technology branch, Benit.
South Korea is the world’s 7th largest fashion market and APAC’s 3rd largest e-commerce market with 77% of all Koreans purchasing clothing items online in 2016. The South Korean fashion industry is expected to continue growing in 2017 (for the fourth consecutive year) surpassing $6.9bn. By 2021, the industry is predicted to hit $32bn. It’s a growing market with top 50 brands accounting for roughly 62%. Benit’s clients alone account for $2.5bn of the market.
South Korea has long been held as a trendsetter in the region. Over the past decade, the country has been positioned at the most lucrative of crossroads where avant-garde music, fashion, entertainment and celebrity collide to form a nebulous cool factor. The cool factor of South Korea’s national brand, combined with its clout as a source for stylish products and pop culture, makes it a regional trend leader, influencing other big neighbouring markets, such as China and Japan.
Tom Adeyoola, co-founder & CEO of Metail said of the partnership:
“We are delighted to be cementing our partnership with Kolon Benit with an agreement that will rapidly grow our presence in Korea and influence in Asia as a whole, in our mission to digitise all of the world’s garments and people.
Following going viral in Korea with our mobile House of Holland offering for London Fashion Week in 2014, we’ve been looking for the right strategic partner to take advantage of what is clearly the most mobile-focused, tech-savvy and fashion-conscious market in the world. The Kolon group with their scale, fantastic stable of brands and market leading fashion focused IT services arm, Benit, quickly became the obvious choice. We’ve already placed a Customer Director on the ground and have built a strong working relationship with the consummate partner to help us perfect our offering for the Korean market and rapidly scale.
We look forward to bringing a great, fun and ultra convenient shopping experience to the Korean public, whilst helping local retailers serve their customers ever more efficiently and effectively.”
Jaehoon Kang, Deputy General Manager of Kolon Benit’s Mobile Convergence Team said:
“Benit is a leading IT company specialized in fashion in Korea. We have been looking for innovative and useful solutions for the development of the fashion market in the region and Metail’s solutions is the most valuable. We cannot try on clothes when buying clothes online. So often there are difficulties in sizing and styling; limitations which Metail help to overcome.
Through this agreement, fashion and distribution companies in the Korean market will be able to provide a useful and wonderful experience to customers. Benit is very excited to be adding such a great solution to its fashion-specific business portfolio.
Metail’s solutions are expected to continue to evolve, and Benit, as well as Korean fashion retailers and online users, will be able to continue to enjoy them.”
The Department of International Trade in London, a long time supporter of Metail, also spoke on the company’s position as a pioneering British business expanding globally.
Parveen Thornhill, Regional Director at Department for International Trade (DIT), London commented on the new partnership:
“Metail is a great example of a London company realising its exporting potential on the global stage. We’ve supported Tom and Metail ever since they first showed an interest in exporting, with various programmes, research, market introductions and bespoke advice from our International Trade Adviser, Keith Moses. Tom demonstrates exactly what companies can achieve by exploring their potential to export, and it’s fantastic to see our collaboration succeed with this contract in South Korea.
Economic research consistently shows that exporting helps companies grow and here in London the Department for International Trade is determined to help local companies, such as Metail, succeed in the global race. Through the Exporting is GREAT campaign we’re already working with thousands of companies across the city; and we want to help a great many more.”
Janet Coyle, Principal Advisor for the Mayor’s International Business Programme, also commented on the partnership:
“With Europe’s largest tech hub and a world-class retail sector, London has established itself as a leading destination for retail tech companies. London based companies such as Metail are developing cutting edge technologies which are catching the eye of retailers all over the world. Metail’s expansion into South Korea shows that companies on the Mayor’s International Business Programme have the potential to become international superstars. With our network of partners and mentors, we look forward to helping many more London companies expand and export into Asia and other markets across the globe.
Founded in 2008, Metail is a British company developing an immersive ‘try it on’ online shopping experience which enables consumers to create a bespoke 3D model of themselves. The technology aims to increase consumer confidence in buying clothing online through an engaging and delightful product. Metail’s technology can be incorporated into any e-commerce platform and the company’s operations are able to photograph and digitise over 200 garments per studio per day facilitating work with mass market high volume retailers. After entering a few simple measurements consumers can generate a MeModel, which is 92-96% accurate to their specific size.
Established by Cambridge graduate Tom Adeyoola, Metail has raised over $20 million in funding and officially launched with its first customer – Clothing at Tesco – in February 2012. Metail was also BAFTA nominated for their work with ITV in 2013.
The company has since developed an international client base, spanning House of Holland and Little Mistress in the UK, Abof in India, Princess Polly in Australia, Adayroi in Vietnam, and FFLives in Taiwan, to name a few.
Metail created a world exclusive when collaborating with House of Holland for their London Fashion Week show in September 2014. For the first time ever, consumers could watch the catwalk show in real time and try on and pre-order the outfits as they were revealed for the first time on the catwalk models. This collaboration saw industry recognition by winning ‘Digital Coalition of the Year’ at the Decoded Fashion Futures Awards in June 2015.
Metail also saw success at IBM Amplify, winning the IBM Commerce 2015 ‘Ecosystem Technology Innovation of the Year’, and at the 2017 Techworld Techies Awards, winning the 2017 Retail & eCommerce Innovator of the Year.
Based across four offices in London, Cambridge, Singapore and now Korea, Metail has built a talented and dedicated team of 60 employees including 13 PHDs.
For more information about Metail see www.metail.com
Founded in 1999, Benit is headquartered in Gwacheon, South Korea, and is a technology subsidiary of Kolon Corporation.
The company provides solutions for business intelligence, enterprise resources planning, CRM, Cloud, Big Data, SCM, product lifecycle management, optimal network services, data center, IT planning/ strategy, and various IT support to financial, public, distribution and manufacturing sectors. Looking to increase its offering to fashion and retail companies, Benit has partnered with Metail and is targeting these companies e-commerce.