Democracy in Style
Crowdsourced fashion floods the market
Style / 2 May 2011
The practice of crowdsourcing has infiltrated everything from music videos to fundraising. The latest category to leverage the Gen Y “We-volution” mindset is fashion. Though it seems unlikely that luxury brands are going to turn the reins over entirely to their fans, the fashion industry, from retail to design, is starting to make a point of showing that they too can listen to what the people want.
Fashion Stake:
Community-based shopping site Fashion Stake was founded out of frustration among aspiring designers who, historically, have had limited means of connecting directly with consumers. Though the original concept for this venture, founded by a Harvard Business School grad, was to give users a chance to invest in designers they wanted to support, it has evolved into an e-commerce bazaar that’s stocked by the same people who make the purchases, allowing them to view collections from new designers and vote on which items they think would fly off the rack. Prices max out around $200, making it a hit with a cost-conscious crowd, as well as some notable investors.
Wrangler Next Blue Competition:
Sure, denim companies can guess what styles their customers want…or, as Wrangler figured out, they can ask them. With the help of Strutta, the heritage brand recently consulted their customers directly through a competition called Next Blue in which participants uploaded videos explaining the concept and name behind the denim design of their dreams. Five finalists were selected, based partly on the number of votes received from the community, to work with the Wrangler team in North Carolina to produce their designs. After a final week of voting, the winner received $5,000 and the prestige of having their design made available for purchase by the public.
Continuum Computational Couture:
If more teens knew about this service, there’d likely be less anxiety over trying to find the perfect prom dress. Continuum’s Mary Huang and Jenna Fizel are as tech-savvy as they are design-inclined, and they have created custom coded software to transform user-generated dress designs into the real thing. Once sketched, a dress is fit to the wearer’s measurements and an authentic garment or basic pattern can be made, all of which end up in a crowdsourced gallery. The future of this democratized version of haute couture currently lies within Kickstarter, so those who want to see their triangulated designs realized had best throw a few bucks their way.
©The Intelligence Group