Amsterdam’s Lalaland bags €2.1 million to empower inclusion and diversity in the fashion industry

Disrupting the status-quo of the fashion industry to make it more inclusive, diverse and sustainable, Amsterdam-based Lalaland has just raised €2.1 million for its AI-driven fashion model generator. 

The fashion industry has long been criticised for its tendency to leave people feeling discriminated against and excluded. It’s a sector that has generally promoted one specific body type to the detriment of many. Shaking this up, Lalaland is using AI to enable brands and retailers to use hyper-realistic models of every body type, size and skin tone. Gone are the days of the generic mannequin that represents a very small proportion of the population. 

Founder and CEO, Michael Musandu, explained: “Our product is centred around solving the issues of consumers who feel underrepresented in terms of ethnicity, gender identity, and body representation. So we want to work with people who can relate to these issues, in order to facilitate positive change in co-creation.”

The Amsterdam-based startup has just picked up €2.1 million in new funding, led by  Orange Wings, Unknown Group, and angel investors (including former Nike General Manager Bart de Wilde, Google’s Amhar Ford and Thorsten Koch, and Christina Caljé from Autheos). The vision is to create a more inclusive, personal, and sustainable shopping experience for fashion brands, retailers, and customers. 

Founded in 2019, using tech to drive inclusivity and diversity within digital fashion is the core vision of Lalaland and the company centres itself around two objectives – social empowerment and sustainable impact. 

In taking an impact-first approach, the startup is also well primed to enter a gap in a lucrative market. The world of fashion ecommerce is reported to be worth around €380 billion and it’s constantly expanding. According to Lalaland, 7.5% of annual revenue is spent on photography, production, and models for product pages. Lalaland taps into that market with a cost-effective model-generating tool that replaces time-consuming and costly photoshoots. 

The self-service platform allows anyone to recreate high-quality photoshoots with great ease. Models can be tailored to customer profiles or customized to specific body types, allowing for hyper-personalization. This helps boost sales, reduces return rates and costs, increases conversion, cuts waste, and contributes to a more inclusive shopping and brand experience.

Orange Wings founder and CEO Shawn Harris said: “This is a unique opportunity to help retailers and brands truly create positive change in the fashion industry and to reduce returns and ultimately waste.” 

Angel investor Bart de Wilde added: “I have been at the heart of this problem in sports, footwear, and apparel, so I can’t stress enough how valuable this will be for our industry.”

With the new funding in the bag, the young innovators plan to continue their commercial expansion and attract a diverse group of talent. Already the team has onboarded some of the largest fashion retailers, such as Zalando, Wehkamp, and Otto.