Fashion start-up Velvet Brigade produce garments designed by young designers who submit sketches for the public to vote on.
Calling on customers for product design ideas is a growing trend and just last month we wrote about Kisim, who tapped the collective brain of the crowd for the design of a new bag. Now fashion start-up Velvet Brigade in San Francisco take the concept to a larger scale, with all their products designed by young designers who submit their fashion drawings for the public to vote on. Founders Lindsay McConnon and Jena Wang had previously worked in the fashion industry, until they had the idea of starting their own label where the trends come from independent designers and are not dictated by the global fashion houses. The concept is simple; aspiring designers upload their sketches to the Velvet Brigade website — a maximum of five each time — which are displayed for 30 days for the public to vote on. Every month a winner is declared and their design is made into a real garment, available to buy via the website. Winners receive five percent of sales and keep the rights to their designs, as long as they consent to give Velvet Brigade exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the items. Winning designs selected for production are available for pre-order at a discounted price, and become full price once they are manufactured. Though based in San Francisco, anyone anywhere in the world can enter their designs and vote. There is Facebook and Twitter integration so designers can easily promote their submissions to friends to vote for. Currently products are only available online, but Velvet Brigade have plans to expand into retail. Drawing on young talent and getting the public vote to decide what goes to production ensures design is kept fresh and only items that will sell are manufactured. A model that could succeed in other industries? Spotted by: Elizabeth Sigal