As the last day of Paris Fashion Week draws to a close, the official Fashion Month ends. To many people Fashion Month is a month of splendour: glitzy shows, intimate dinners, spectacular people watching and of course, Instagram extravaganza. But, where are the creators of all these splendours during New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week? Apart from walking down the catwalk as the show closes, the designers, their struggles and their realities (psychological pressures, fatigue, financial woes) are rarely known to the outside world. Why? Because they are not so Instagram-able and in our millennial driven, digitalised fast moving world, we tend to forget to look beyond the pictures.
Year after year thousands of young talented designers graduating from top design schools around the world are dreaming about that big moment – the Fashion Week finale, walking down their catwalk with their models in their collection. For them, the future in design is not an easy road ahead. It can take years of interning or assisting, working at the big fashion houses or even trying to kick-start their own brand before realising how broken the fashion system actually is. And, despite the recent popular initiatives by key industry players and companies such as the BFC NEWGEN award, BFC / Vogue Designer Fund, Fashion Trust, LVMH Prize and International Woolmark Prize supporting young talent. There is still very little systematic support for emerging designers who want to pursue their independent creative paths without deep-pocket investors backing them.
So, it’s time for us to look beyond the pretty pictures on our Instagram and picture-perfect editorial shoots in glossy magazines to examine the real fashion world.
It’s a world of oligopolies: a handful of big players dominating both the luxury and fast-paced high street fashion spectrums of the markets. There are also too many middlemen along the long and winding supply chain; the showrooms, the wholesalers, the luxury retailers. All of them have us (as buyers, fashion patrons and everyday consumers) asking five simple questions. Why are we paying the ten times markup for these luxury items? What is their original value? Who made these mass market items? Most importantly, who actually designed these fashion pieces for us? And, why can we not buy directly from the designers?
With those big questions in mind, I started to look for answers and noticed how other traditional industries have been disrupted by the force of digitalisation. From TransferWise and Uber to SoundCloud, each one of them had transformed their industries by cutting out the middlemen and directly connecting individuals who need each other’s service. But nowhere could I find someone doing similar things in the fashion industry, so I thought why not create a digital space doing exactly just that? I wanted to use the power of digitisation to empower the two most important people in the fashion ecosystem: the designers and the consumers. And so, Curated Crowd was born.
We, as a company, cut out the traditional middleman and help designers get funding directly from consumers through crowdfunding. The idea is to build a curated community of emerging designers and fashion patrons, to bring back the long-lost authentic conversations between them: when patrons make a pledge to designers’ projects, they are supporting their visions and helping them grow further, which means so much more than just the monetary value. At the same time, patrons are rewarded with so much more than just a collection piece, they are invited to studio visits, collection previews, access to limited-edition items or pre-ordering discount of new season collections, the experience is unlimited.
So let’s bring back the real splendour in fashion, the conversation, the creativity and the emotional bound. Join us on the journey and start the revolution to help more emerging talents come to light.