Female Founders to Watch in Fashion-tech

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Geeks and fashionistas are teaming up to upend the fashion industry and improve the lives of shoppers. 

By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

Geeks generally aren’t known for their fashion sense, nor fashionistas for their tech prowess, but what happens when these two very different worlds meet and mingle?

Interesting things, it turns out, a fact that a whole crop of fascinating female founders are proving with companies that use technology to streamline, modernize, and customize the traditional crafts of fashion – with great results for fashion conscious consumers on a less than unlimited budget. Meet a few of these fashion-tech pioneers below:

Kendall and Justine Barber (Co-founders, Poppy Barley) 
Custom boots are only for the type of people that own yachts and private jets, right? Not if Kendall and Justine Barber have anything to say about it. The sisters founded Poppy Barley, a startup that uses tech to make custom boots an affordable luxury.

Kendall Herbst (Co-founder, StyleUp)
As if founding StyleUp, a service that delivers a daily email with both the weather and an inspirational for an outfit to match, and piloting it through Y Combinator wasn’t enough, Herbst is also currently attending MIT Sloan. Follow her on Twitter @kendall_to_go.

Julia Kastner (Founder & CEO, Eva & Paul)
Harvard Business School grad Kastner is marrying ecommerce and fashion to bring customers jeans made with organic, fair trade materials right here in the USA, and the best bit? They’re made for women of all shapes and sizes.

Katrina Lake (Founder & CEO, Stitch Fix)
Fast-growing Stitch Fix just received a $4.75 million in Series A funding to grow its tech-enabled personal styling service with Harvard MBA Lake at the helm. Follow her on Twitter @kmlake.

Carrie Mantha (CEO & Co-founder, Indira)
Indira lets you shop for couture-quality customized bridesmaid dresses and accessories online. Its CEO is a woman of many talents – she’s a former beauty queen, investment pro and physician. Follow her on Twitter at @CarrieMantha.

Melanie Moore (Co-founder, Elizabeth & Clarke)
Moore attended TechStars with her now-defunct startup ToVieFor, but has since moved on to found Elizabeth & Clarke, a subscription service for shirts and other wardrobe basics. Follow her on Twitter @melanie_io.

Sarah Paiji (Co-founder & CEO, Snapette)
Ever wish you could know what was new at your favorite boutique without actually having to go there? If so, Snapette is the app for you. It lets you keep up with the latest styles in stores and also alerts you to sales. Follow her on Twitter @spaiji.

Cynthia Schames (Founder & CEO, Abbey Post)
Abbey Post is a site for plus-sized women to buy and sell clothes and accessories in an EBay-like marketplace, using tech to solve the shopping challenges of this underserved slice of the market. Follow her on Twitter @CynthiaSchames.

Eleanor Watson (CEO, Poikos)
Amsterdam-based Poikos is developing technology that lets online shoppers easily capture their measurements to order clothes that actually fit. Its BritishCEO was recently in Silicon Valley to attend Blackbox Mansion.

Women 2.0 readers: What other female founders in fashion-tech would you add to the list?

Jessica Stillman is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @entrylevelrebel.

Photo credit: alextorrenegra via Flickr