Fashion Stake, whose website will open to the general public in several weeks, will allow the fashion-conscious to directly invest in designers.A new startup is looking to apply crowdsourcing to the fashion industry.
Its motto is, "Democratize Fashion" - a tall order.
The site, led by Harvard Business School alumnus Daniel Gulati, will put designers and companies together with consumers on two levels, financially and critically. Financially, an investment in a designer will return the ability to apply credits toward purchasing that designer's garments.
Critically, the full space of social media tools will be used. Viewers may browse collections, vote them up or down and suggest ideas for new garments or lines and praise or criticize designer directions.
Although Gulati told us he could not divulge the number or nature of the designers he has waiting in the wings, a screenshot on the company's blog shows the names Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Donna Karan and Jeffrey Montero.
Given the increasing comfort level that consumers have with dialogic shopping - as well as the horrendous downturn in an industry that was already plagued with vicious gatekeepers - it could provide a price-conscious connection to haute couture, as well as the sense of investment that fashion-oriented television shows like Project Runway have tapped into.