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How Social Shopping Is Changing Fashion Production

How Social Shopping Is Changing Fashion Production

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Jun 20, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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by Lauren Indvik,June 19,2011
 Fashion editors and department store buyers have long had the biggest say in what parts of 
designer collections make it to market. This pattern is changing, however, thanksto a more social web culture and better tools to facilitate online voting, purchasingand even customization.In an effort to drive deeper engagement between designers and those who purchasetheir clothes and accessories, a mix of established and lesser-known brands arenow giving consumers opportunities to choose what gets produced and, in somecases, even what gets designed.The result is both a more engaged shopper and less waste as manufacturers andretailers are better able to estimate demand before garments are produced.
Be the Buyer
“Fashion is morphing into a two
way dialogue,” says Vivian Weng, who launched
fashion ecommerce ventureFashionStake with fellow Harvard Business School alum Daniel Gulati last fall.Although FashionStake has since evolved into asomewhat more traditionalecommerce site
,the two recognized that consumers “were craving an opportunityto somehow be a part of the creative process.”
 Weng and Gulati also wanted to discover new talent in the fashion industry. Theycreated a platform where designers and shoppers could collaborate to fund thecreation of new work through pre-orders. Clothes were only manufactured afterenough orders were placed.
Older dot-com companies such as eBay are likewise capitalizing on the shift. AtNew York Fashion Week this past February, designer Derek Lam unveiled a seriesof 16 original designs,which eBay shoppers were then invited to vote upon. Morethan 120,000 votes were cast todetermine the five dresses (plus a surprise sixth) shown above.In both cases, consumers
not buyers
were given the final say (collectively, atleast) on what items became mass-manufactured. The most popular items wereproduced in quantities to match demand.
Be the Designer
Some brands are going a step further by inviting shoppers directly into the designprocess. Burberry is following the lead of startups such asBlank Label (pictured above) and Gemvara,which allow customers to choose between patterns, materials and other details in step-by-
step web apps to create “one of a kind” apparel and
accessories. Later this year, Burberry will let customers design their own trenchcoats.

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