In today’s fast-fashion market, online and brick-and-mortar retailers have capitalized on mass production to expand their reach and build their customer base. As much as we love brands like Zara and H&M, we can become understandably overwhelmed by the sheer quantities of clothing, shoes and accessories, especially when most of these brands update their merchandise several times a season. It’s refreshing to see a different shopping trend becoming more mainstream, and perhaps even poised to lure us away from our fast-fashion addiction: crowdfunding. More companies intend to bring the decision-making back to the customers by collecting funding from us (and sometimes venture capitalists, too), and then listening to what we really want—whether we’re talking eco-friendly garments or quality fabrics at a lower price. Here, a few of the fashion brands changing up the industry with this business model.
As the first fashion brand to seek equity crowdfunding, DSTLD allows anyone to buy shares in the company until February 28, when the campaign closes. Bonus point: Sustainability is key, as the brand uses eco-minded fabrics and natural dyes to create their denim and basic pieces—at a third of retail price—by selling luxury essentials directly to the consumer.
With the help of dedicated followers of its already-established Noble Denim brand, Cincinnati-based Victor Athletics raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter to produce their own vintage athletic sweatshirts. This success eventually translated to a brick-and-mortar store in the city, where the label offers both men's and women's gym wear at a budget-friendly price.
Ministry Of Supply
Launched by former Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, high-performance workwear brand Ministry of Supply once set a record as the highest-funded fashion project on Kickstarter with nearly $430,000 in pledges. Its first pop-up store opened in Manhattan in 2013, and the company continues to receive venture funding for its tech-advanced clothing.