06/07/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Fashion Stake":Crowd Sourcing for the Fashion business

An internet start up,"Fashion Stake", is coming down the pike with an answer for all struggling designers. Their plan is to cut out the pesky retailer and connect the public to the designer. A person buys a stake in the designer's company with the guarantee of a credit for a certain amount of clothes. In turn, the designer gets in injection of funding without worrying about the hassles of banks, waiting for stores to buy, and even more time consuming, to pay, so everyone is happy. It sounds like a great plan, but nothing is really that simple, especially in the fashion business unless you're selling one size fits all Tee shirts or Scrunchies.

"Fashion Stake will allow customers to directly fund fashion designers by browsing on-line collections and buying a stake in a collection in return for credits to buy clothes. Patrons can also share ideas with designers and vote on collections." Reuters

This quote from Reuters says a mouthful. The part where they say, "Patrons can share ideas and vote on collections...." The thought is a quaint one, but I've met very few designers who really, truly want the input of others outside of their design team and ivory tenement tower. It's the reason they are designers and not pollsters. A designer's mission is to create something the public wants or needs before they even know it. If suggestions are part of the mix, they are coming from a Creative Director, a Buyer for a store or a trusted colleague. Information from a stranger, though kind enough to pay in advance for merchandise down the road, is not necessarily the voice a designer is likely to take as gospel. For the same token what guarantee does the "investor" have that all will be well and work out smoothly in the end? What if they don't get their suggestions followed? What if the clothes don't fit or don't get delivered for some unforeseen reason? Perhaps the designer isn't experienced or equipped to service individual which creates a king sized dilemma. No one is happy, and now many more players are tied up in the problem.

It's a great idea and one with some more thought, real trials and errors, and tests run with start up design firms and more established ones, could have a future. It looks too much like E-tailing with too few boundaries or protections for the "Supplier" and the "Demandee". Few fast and simple solutions/alternatives have happy or productive endings.
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