Five months after we first wrote aboutFashionStake‘s decision to crowd-source the rag trade, the site is out of beta and wide open. Has it succeeded in its goal to “democratize fashion”? Not yet. That’s a tall order in an extremely hierarchical industry. But it is exciting the fashion crew.
And now that it’s not so hush-hush, we can mention some of the 30 designers involved. They include Lauren Merkin, Nicholas K, Lewis Cho, Alice Ritter, AIRA and Yotam Solomon. The old screenshot from the site showing Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Donna Karan and Jeffrey Montero was clearly no indicator of who would be involved.
It makes more sense, I suppose, that more adventurous, less high-profile brands would find the undertaking more worth the risk.
The site, led by Harvard Business School alumni Daniel Gulati and designer Vivian Weng, brings designers and consumers together. Financially, an investment in a designer can earn a user discounted pre-orders, store credit and perks such as Fashion Week tickets. Critically, viewers may browse collections, vote them up or down and suggest ideas for new garments or lines and praise or criticize designer directions.
The hope is that lovers (and customers) of fashion will cherish the personal investment in a designer’s collection and career. If there is a punk streak in the fashion industry (philosophically, not aesthetically) this is part of that movement: Away from gatekeepers, away from enforcers, snobs and ghouls; forward into the breach, taking chances, leveling, engaging. Democratizing fashion, maybe.