The most popular crowdfunding websites are those that cater to multiple industries, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, whose ‘Go Crowdfund Britain’ tour ended just last week. Online retail giant Alibaba also recently launched their own crowdfunding site for movies and amassed 240’000 users in the first two days alone. With their rival JD recently jumping into the space with a crowdfunding site named Coufenzi. We’ve also seen various startups emerge in the fashion space, each of which work in slightly different ways and cater to different audiences. So, what are the advantages for these smaller scale versions? We take a look at the market:
One of the first fashion crowdsourcing websites to enter the scene was Beta Brand, which predominantly features casual wear and was founded in San Francisco in 2009. It allows customers to vote for designs, when a design receives enough votes a prototype of it is manufactured. If the prototype in turn receives enough crowdfunding, it will be turned into a product that is available for purchase on-site.
The Parisian startup I Am La Mode and the New York-based Before The Label, both founded in 2012, work in a similar way. On Before The Label, customers can pre-order designs and these are then manufactured once the target amount of pre-orders have been placed. On I Am La Mode, people can back a project in exchange for a so-called pledge, which is a gift that can be related to the project, but does not have to be. While both appear to cater to women only, I Am La Mode has a high-fashion feel and Before The Label works closely with charitable organisations.
Last year saw the launch of London-based Wowcracy, BuoyUp, and Luevo. The first has partnered up with Vogue Talents to scout for new designer talent, whilst the second caps the availability of each product so as to maintain exclusivity. Like BuoyUp, Luevo also aims to help aspiring designers take off, rather than just letting anyone post individual projects.
Then there’s the recently launched French Meet My Designer, which lets people invest in projects curated by the site. If an investment target is reached, all investors receive a 20% discount on the finished collection or design, and they will also be rewarded royalties in proportion to their investment for the first three months. This self-proclaimed ‘Kickstarter for Fashion’ already features 200 designers from over 40 countries (more information about them here).
Startups and aspiring fashion designers are spoilt for choice - so the question here is, do they think they will be more successful by targeting anyone and everyone, or do they wish to reach a more selectively curated audience?
Reported by Anna Abrell