StyleSaint, the L.A. based fashion startup that aims to tackle all three levels of the women’s fashion ecosystem — content, community, and commerce — with its own online-only luxury brand, is announcing today that it has raised $4.3 million in funding.
The funding, which serves as StyleSaint’s Series A round, was led by General Catalyst Partners and e.Ventures. This brings the total amount invested in StyleSaint to $5.8 million. Currently, StyleSaint has six full-time staff.
StyleSaint co-founders Allison Beal and Brian Garrett said in a phone call this week that the Series A round was actually closed back in late 2012, and has been used to finance the launch of StyleSaint’s first apparel collection for women, which is debuting today. StyleSaint’s aim is to produce luxury level, ethically manufactured clothing for between $30 to $200, which is 1/3 to 1/4 of the price of traditional brands. The lower prices are possible, StyleSaint says, because its business model cuts out traditional costs such as selling through third-party brick and mortar stores.
Beal, a fashion and design veteran, said StyleSaint’s business model is being created at an interesting time in the industry. “I see a definite shift away from the fast fashion mentality and towards an appreciation for timeless products. In this shift people like to know where things are coming from, how they’re made, and how they relate back to you.” All of StyleSaint’s clothing is made in Los Angeles, at some of the same factories used by the likes of top shelf brands such as Rag & Bone, ALC, and Maison Martin Margiela.
The inspiration for the designs that StyleSaint creates and sells come directly from the brand’s online community and self-publishing platform, which lets users create virtual “tear sheets” that they share with others. These community and commerce components of StyleSaint have had nice traction since it first came on the scene at Disrupt NYC 2012 last Spring: StyleSaint has more than 110,000 subscribers to its content platform, 45,000 active content publishers on the site, and 438 “editors” who have the ability to add new images to the site.
StyleSaint is just one of a group of startups emerging that take advantage of the increasing popularity of online shopping to aim to provide luxury-level goods at more accessible prices by cutting out traditional middle men — Everlane, Warby Parker, Cuyana, and Basico are just a few examples in the general space. At the content and community levels, StyleSaint’s competitors include Refinery29, Polyvore, and of course Pinterest.
It’s an ambitious goal for a six person startup to take on all the facets of the women’s fashion industry that have traditionally been served by separate businesses. But at the same time, given the efficiencies that continue to avail themselves thanks to tech innovations, it makes sense for startups like StyleSaint to aim big.
Here’s a video of StyleSaint presenting onstage at Disrupt NYC 2012, back in May 2012: