Meet the LA-Based Fashion Tech Companies Changing the Way We Shop

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Meet the LA-Based Fashion Tech Companies Changing the Way We Shop
Photo by Decerry Donato

As the pandemic restricted many businesses to pivot strictly to online sales or close up shop completely, the paradigm shift to the digital economy spurred innovation–especially in the fashion industry.

Research by the National Retail Federation (NRF) shows that nine in 10 shoppers are more likely to choose a retailer based on convenience, and are looking to retailers to help them save time and effort in their busy lifestyles.

Now, more than ever people are relying on online retailers' wide range of offerings that include curbside pickup, buy now, pay later and virtual try-ons, with 86% of consumers saying that shopping is more convenient than it was five years ago.

To meet people’s demands for convenience, try-on technology has reached new heights.

Here’s a look at three fashion startups based in Los Angeles that are enhancing customers’ online shopping experience by leveraging VR tech.


StyleScan founder Larissa Posnercourtesy of StyleScan

In 2018, former catalog fashion model and Wall Street investment advisor Larissa Posner noticed the change in her own shopping habits. Coupled with the shuttering of Barney’s in Manhattan, Posner knew that e-commerce was the future. But the more she shopped online, the more she realized that no one had yet figured out how to digitally dress models that are size inclusive. So Posner created a solution. StyleScan is a fashion tech startup that offers AI-powered visualization technology that elevates the online shopping experience.

Retail e-commerce in the U.S. reached $768 billion in 2021 and so far, this year that number jumped to $875 billion according to Statista.

According to Posner, StyleScan’s "Switch Model" technology was built to enable shoppers to preview clothing on a variety of models of different shapes, sizes, and ethnicities that best resembles their own.

Switch Model employs a transfer algorithm, which accurately translates clothing onto human photos. Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) calculates orientation of the body, joints including the shoulders, thighs, calves and the clothing is then generated onto the human model in the photo.

StyleScan’s software can dress each model digitally in a matter of minutes from just one photo which eliminates the need for physical photoshoots. Posner said StyleScan has its own proprietary data set of photos, created in-house by photographing around 30 of humans across all shapes and sizes and that data set is what they use to train its algorithms. However, Posner says their technology has been trained on tens of thousands of human photos to achieve realistic looking digitally-dressed models.

One of StyleScan’s clients, Alla Berman saw a boost in engagement and conversions once they implemented “Switch Model” to the website. In a press release, Berman stated “we saw daily sessions increase by 25%, leading to a 47% increase in sales and 13% increase in conversions. The site’s most viewed item was powered by StyleScan. These analytics and increased engagement numbers are extremely promising.”


Courtesy of FaceCake

Alternatively, AI-driven augmented reality shopping platform FaceCake allows consumers to virtually try-on merchandise or multiple products using their own images in real time.

Make-up brand Anastasia is one of FaceCake’s clients and has integrated its technology on the Anastasia app. First, it asks the user a couple of questions related to what make-up they prefer before it directs them to take a photo of their face. From there, the consumer can apply and try-on the make-up products without the mess before committing to a purchase.

Chief marketing officer Robb Whittlef says “at the end of the day, we were working against retail organizations and brands that had legacy technology systems and when the pandemic hit, it really changed the landscape.”

Today, FaceCake is being used by a number of beauty and designer brands including Chanel and Deka Lash.

Toli 360

Lenny Adams using the Toli 360 mirror. Photo by Decerry Donato

Using a mirror outfitted with four high definition cameras and one 360 degree turntable, Toli 360, a Los Angeles-based fashion startup, has developed a technology that can retrieve a shopper’s measurements in under 30 seconds.

Unlike FaceCake, Toli 360 requires shoppers come into its retail location which is scheduled to open in 2023 so that they can be measured by the mirror and will produce a digital version of the individual.

To begin the measurement process, a shopper stands on a turntable platform that rotates 360 degrees while the Toli mirror takes over 200 photos. Once the process is complete, the digital version will allow the shopper to try-on clothing in the mirror and see how it will fit, drape and cling to their body. The data is then stored in the cloud and can be accessed via Toli’s app for the individual to use when they are ready to shop. The consumer is then redirected to the brand’s website since Toli does not hold any inventory.

Similarly to Posner, Former New York lawyer Lenny Adams founded Toli 360 in 2016 because he wanted a solution to his problem–shopping with time constraints.

While Toli has yet to launch, Adams’ confirmed that the company has inked a deal with five different fashion brands.

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Here’s Why Streaming Looks More and More Like Cable

Lon Harris
Lon Harris is a contributor to dot.LA. His work has also appeared on ScreenJunkies, RottenTomatoes and Inside Streaming.
Here’s Why Streaming Looks More and More Like Cable
Evan Xie

The original dream of streaming was all of the content you love, easily accessible on your TV or computer at any time, at a reasonable price. Sadly, Hollywood and Silicon Valley have come together over the last decade or so to recognize that this isn’t really economically viable. Instead, the streaming marketplace is slowly transforming into something approximating Cable Television But Online.

It’s very expensive to make the kinds of shows that generate the kind of enthusiasm and excitement from global audiences that drives the growth of streaming platforms. For every international hit like “Squid Game” or “Money Heist,” Netflix produced dozens of other shows whose titles you have definitely forgotten about.

The marketplace for new TV has become so massively competitive, and the streaming landscape so oversaturated, even relatively popular shows with passionate fanbases that generate real enthusiasm and acclaim from critics often struggle to survive. Disney+ canceled Luscasfilm’s “Willow” after just one season this week, despite being based on a hit Ron Howard film and receiving an 83% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Amazon dropped the mystery drama “Three Pines” after one season as well this week, which starred Alfred Molina, also received positive reviews, and is based on a popular series of detective novels.

Even the new season of “The Mandalorian” is off to a sluggish start compared to its previous two Disney+ seasons, and Pedro Pascal is basically the most popular person in America right now.

Now that major players like Netflix, Disney+, and WB Discovery’s HBO Max have entered most of the big international markets, and bombarded consumers there with marketing and promotional efforts, onboarding of new subscribers inevitably has slowed. Combine that with inflation and other economic concerns, and you have a recipe for austerity and belt-tightening among the big streamers that’s virtually guaranteed to turn the smorgasbord of Peak TV into a more conservative a la carte offering. Lots of stuff you like, sure, but in smaller portions.

While Netflix once made its famed billion-dollar mega-deals with top-name creators, now it balks when writer/director Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “The Holiday”) asks for $150 million to pay her cast of A-list actors. Her latest romantic comedy will likely move over to Warner Bros., which can open the film in theaters and hopefully recoup Scarlett Johansson and Michael Fassbender’s salaries rather than just spending the money and hoping it lingers longer in the public consciousness than “The Gray Man.”

CNET did the math last month and determined that it’s still cheaper to choose a few subscription streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime over a conventional cable TV package by an average of about $30 per month (provided you don’t include the cost of internet service itself). But that means picking and choosing your favorite platforms, as once you start adding all the major offerings out there, the prices add up quickly. (And those are just the biggest services from major Hollywood studios and media companies, let alone smaller, more specialized offerings.) Any kind of cable replacement or live TV streaming platform makes the cost essentially comparable to an old-school cable TV package, around $100 a month or more.

So called FAST, or Free Ad-supported Streaming TV services, have become a popular alternative to paid streaming platforms, with Fox’s Tubi making its first-ever appearance on Nielsen’s monthly platform rankings just last month. (It’s now more popular than the first FAST service to appear on the chart, Paramount Global’s Pluto TV.) According to Nielsen, Tubi now accounts for around 1% of all TV viewing in the US, and its model of 24/7 themed channels supported by semi-frequent ad breaks couldn’t resemble cable television anymore if it tried.

Services like Tubi and Pluto stand to benefit significantly from the new streaming paradigm, and not just from fatigued consumers tired of paying for more content. Cast-off shows and films from bigger streamers like HBO Max often find their way to ad-supported platforms, where they can start bringing in revenue for their original studios and producers. The infamous HBO Max shows like “The Nevers” and “Westworld” that WBD controversially pulled from the HBO Max service can now be found on Tubi or The Roku Channel.

HBO Max’s recently-canceled reality dating series “FBoy Island” has also found a new home, but it’s not on any streaming platform. Season 3 will air on TV’s The CW, along with a new spinoff series called (wait for it) “FGirl Island.” So in at least some ways, “30 Rock” was right: technology really IS cyclical.

As TikTok Faces a Ban, Competitors Prepare to Woo Its User Base

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

As TikTok Faces a Ban, Competitors Prepare to Woo Its User Base
Evan Xie

This is the web version of dot.LA’s daily newsletter. Sign up to get the latest news on Southern California’s tech, startup and venture capital scene.

Another day, another update in the unending saga that is the potential TikTok ban.

The latest: separate from the various bills proposing a ban, the Biden administration has been in talks with TikTok since September to try and find a solution. Now, having thrown its support behind Senator MarkWarner’s bill, the White House is demanding TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, sell its stakes in the company to avoid a ban. This would be a major blow to the business, as TikTok alone is worth between $40 billion and $50 billion—a significant portion of ByteDance’s $220 billion value.

Clearly, TikTok faces an uphill battle as its CEO Shou Zi Chew prepares to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee next week. But other social media companies are likely looking forward to seeing their primary competitor go—and are positioning themselves as the best replacement for migrating users.


Last year, The Washington Post reported that Meta paid a consulting firm to plant negative stories about TikTok. Now, Meta is reaping the benefits of TikTok’s downfall, with its shares rising 3% after the White House told TikTok to leave ByteDance. But this initial boost means nothing if the company can’t entice creators and viewers to Instagram and Facebook. And it doesn’t look promising in that regard.

Having waffled between pushing its short-form videos, called Reels, and de-prioritizing them in the algorithm, Instagram announced last week that it would no longer offer monetary bonuses to creators making Reels. This might be because of TikTok’s imminent ban. After all, the program was initially meant to convince TikTok creators to use Instagram—an issue that won’t be as pressing if TikTok users have no choice but to find another platform.


Alternatively, Snap is doing the opposite and luring creators with an ad revenue-sharing program. First launched in 2022, creators are now actively boasting about big earnings from the program, which provides 50% of ad revenue from videos. Snapchat is clearly still trying to win over users with new tech like its OpenAI chatbot, which it launched last month. But it's best bet to woo the TikTok crowd is through its new Sounds features, which suggest audio for different lenses and will match montage videos to a song’s rhythm. Audio clips are crucial to TikTok’s platform, so focusing on integrating songs into content will likely appeal to users looking to recreate that experience.


With its short-form ad revenue-sharing program, YouTube Shorts has already lured over TikTok creators. It's even gotten major stars like Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift to promote music on Shorts. This is likely where YouTube has the best bet of taking TikTok’s audience. Since TikTok has become deeply intertwined with the music industry, Shorts might be primed to take its spot. And with its new feature that creates compiles all the videos using a specific song, Shorts is likely hoping to capture musicians looking to promote their work.


The most blatant attempt at seducing TikTok users, however, comes from Triller, which launched a portal for people to move their videos from TikTok to its platform. It’s simple, but likely the most effective tactic—and one that other short-form video platforms should try to replicate. With TikTok users worried about losing their backlog of content, this not only lets users archive but also bolsters Triller’s content offerings. The problem, of course, is that Triller isn’t nearly as well known as the other platforms also trying to capture TikTok users. Still, those who are in the know will likely find this option easier than manually re-uploading content to other sites.

It's likely that many of these platforms will see a momentary boost if the TikTok ban goes through. But all of these companies need to ensure that users coming from TikTok actually stay on their platforms. Considering that they have already been upended by one newcomer when TikTok took over, there’s good reason to believe that a new app could come in and swoop up TikTok’s user base. As of right now, it's unclear who will come out on top. But the true loser is the user who has to adhere to the everyday whims of each of these platforms.

We Asked Our Readers How They’re Using AI in a Professional Setting. Here's What They Said

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

We Asked Our Readers How They’re Using AI in a Professional Setting. Here's What They Said
Evan Xie

According to Pew Research data, 27% of Americans interact with AI on a daily basis. With the launch of Open AI’s latest language model GPT-4, we asked our readers how they use AI in a professional capacity. Here’s what they told us:

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