Peer-to-peer file sharing revolutionized the music industry, so why not the fashion industry? That's the thinking behind Fashion Stake, an Internet startup that will allow customers to fund fashion designers directly. This will be accomplished via the browsing of online collections, and the purchasing of a stake in the collection. For their purchase, users receive credits for buying clothes.
"We think this can be a real game-changer," said Daniel Gulati, chief executive of Fashion Stake. "What we're basically doing is redirecting the margin to fans."
Users of Fashion Stake will also be able to share ideas with designers, as well as vote on collections. The new service was inspired by popular content-sharing social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which follow a rising business model known as "crowd sourcing"; i.e., turning directly to the customer base for content, distribution and funding. This is proving to be more affordable than traditional methods, as it engages the consumer more directly, and allows creators and designers the ability to circumvent major corporations with a viable alternative.
"It's hard getting the retailers to trust in you as a new designer," said New York-based graphic artist Althea Harper. "I've seen them pick up horrible lines from more established houses just because they've got the reputation."
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