Just last week, small Boston-based fashion start up Ministry of Supply raised over $400,000 to fund their line of sweat-resistant men’s shirts. That’s significantly more money than the winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund gets and they didn’t even have to stage a presentation in front of a cold-hearted and intimidating Anna Wintour. So, how did they do it? They launched a project on popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
Crowdfunding in fashion has become more common over the past year or so. There are even a couple of sites now that you might describe as “kickstarter for fashion,” like FashionStake and StyleTrek. Of course, Kickstarter blazed the trail for crowdfunding and has been used to finance everything from Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style documentary to Bret Easton Ellis’ forthcoming film The Canyons, starring Lindsay Lohan, to a fancy wristwatch that raised a whopping $10 million.
So far, fashion has brought in $4.39 million on Kickstarter, despite a relatively low success rate of 26.76%, the lowest of all the categories (Dance projects have the highest success rate at 69.73%). Still, fashion lends itself well to Kickstarter’s format and guidelines, which are quite specific and it’s becoming an increasingly popular category on the site. From the layout to the video to the language, a lot goes into determining whether or not a Kickstarter project is successful and for fashion startups, there are many factors to consider. So, to learn more about the process, we spent some time poking around the website and spoke with a Kickstarter rep as well as a couple of people who successfully funded their fashion projects, including one of the founders of Ministry of Supply (who we mentioned above), record-holders for most money raised for a fashion project.