Fashion that adapts to every need, thanks to technology with the Gaia My Friend app

The “My Friend Gaia” app offers suggestions on what to wear based on your style and how you are feeling: passionate about fashion ever since she was a child, Arianna developed it when she was in her second year at high school.

Wondering what to wear based on how you are feeling that day? Just ask Gaia your assistant: a virtual friend that matches your feelings and your style with suggestions on what to wear. Behind the “My Friend Gaia” app there’s Arianna Pozzi, an 18-year-old language major in her last year of high school. “Ever since I was a kid I used to draw for hours on my sketch books”, she explains; at 15, she founded her startup in the fashion world. It all started at school when the marketing teacher asked the students to present a project. “I realized that deciding what to wear can be a real dilemma, especially for teenagers”. So she invented an application that is based on artificial intelligence and uses a recommendation engine to give people advice on what to wear based on what they like and how they are feeling. “You never choose which clothes to wear just because you like them, but also because of the way you feel in them”, points out Arianna, who did not end up presenting her project in class but talked about it with her father and friends instead: “They were all really interested. That’s when I started finding out about startups and doing market research to make this adventure come true”.

Not many people become entrepreneurs while still in their second year of high school. Of course, few want to, but according to Arianna, innovative ideas are always within the reach of resourceful teenagers: “What’s missing is the opportunity and the right environment to develop your ideas”. While admitting that she is strongly determined, she explains how her surroundings played a part in this as well: “I have always had people who believed in me on my side: my father especially, who supported and encouraged me right from the beginning”. In Italy, schools do not talk about entrepreneurship: students are directed towards more normal, traditional career paths rather than towards self-employed work or becoming entrepreneurs. “My experience has taught me that ideas are useful but they are not enough”. What makes the difference is an environment where you are stimulated to work on your own projects and put yourself to the test. “I would suggest surrounding yourself with the right people - she confirms - and looking for advice and stimuli outside of your own comfort zone”: this is a must in order to be guided during the launch of a startup, which is a stage when you normally do not know your way around.

Arianna currently coordinates all the activities that revolve around the app: “Technical updates, social contents, editorial plans as well as working with the fashion labels”. The clothes we keep in our wardrobes can be uploaded on the Gaia app and you can also look for new ones to buy. Gaia has two mantras: emotions and sustainability. “A virtual friend asks users what their favorite style is and how various garments make them feel and then matches this information”, In this way, emotions are expressed through fashion while sustainability is conveyed through sustainable brands: “Marketplace, a shop window for sustainable brands that use recycled products, has just been released. There’s also a community where registered users can “talk, chat and share suggestions”.

Although her business keeps her very busy, Arianna is able to juggle the various things in her life: “it’s important to be organized and plan your commitments”. You may have to give up a night out or a couple of hours of sleep of course “but when you know what your goals are, you can do it all”. Training is a priority for this young businesswoman. After spending some time in a high school in Canada, she took part in the Women Will project that the She Tech association had suggested. “The three months I spent abroad helped me to take a positive approach to the problems that can crop up along the way: if something goes wrong, next time we will do it better”. This approach was further strengthened by the Women Will workshop on leadership. As she explains, “It made me focus more on the entrepreneur’s role: even if you are not alone, you are the one who is making the most important decisions”. This can be stimulating yet complex, especially for women. “I didn’t come up against any difficulties on my way, but I am aware there is still a gender gap”. People still hold on to stereotypes and often tend to think that when women reach leading positions it’s because someone helped them: “This is why I hope that more and more women will get into important roles, breaking down the gender divide”.

Arianna plans to enroll in a bachelor’s degree course in Business Administration & Economics at Tor Vergata University in September: “the course is taught in English and focuses on international marketing and business”. She wants to take the Gaia startup abroad, find new partners and promote innovation in the fashion world. “I want to encourage people to believe in their dreams: I hope to meet people along the way who really believe in this project. I also hope that my experience will help young people find the determination to build their own career.

I became an entrepreneur at 15 without realizing what this really meant. The Women Will workshop on leadership taught me to turn obstacles that come up on my path into positive opportunities and to make any kind of decision: they are always an opportunity to improve.

Arianna Pozzi, Founder, ARIANNA POZZI

Location

Rome, Italy

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