Garmz: Goodbye Fashion Industry, Hello Designers
From concept to closet, or what multipurpose bags have to do with democracy.
By Maria Popova
We’ve seen how the web has democratized creative entrepreneurship and revolutionized the production and distribution of music and art. Today, we’re looking at a new project that aims to do the same for fashion design.
Garmz is an effort to empower young designers by disengaging them from the bureaucratic, corporate world of the fashion industry and allowing for their creative voices to be heard — and bought. In an industry that makes it near-impossible for new designers to break through, one that uses trend dictatorship to shape mass taste and dismisses creative deviations, Garmz offers designers a platform for taking their designs from idea to wardrobe, showcasing, funding, producing and distributing them to a worldwide audience.
The way it works is simple: Designers submit their designs and users vote on them. Once a design reaches a set level of votes, it moves into production — Garmz works with the designer to get a prototype going, then produces a full batch of 150 items in their fashion studio in Vienna. The garments are sold through the Garmz webshop and shipped to customers worldwide with Garmz handling all backend issues, including warehousing, shipping and returns.
So, basically, Threadless for fashion.
While Garmz makes money via revenue share, designers keep the vast majority of profits, determine their own price point and profit margin above the fixed costs, and maintain 100% of the copyright on their designs. All in all, Garmz offers a promising model for the decentralized, democratic propagation of fashion, giving today’s emerging merchants of style not only a platform of self-expression but also a viable business model.
Published July 29, 2010