Kickstarter goes against the traditional model of selling clothes and launching a fashion line, which has in the past revolved around finding one (or a handful) of well-financed investors and making an impression on fashion’s big-name players, whether it be by going after a Vogue editorial, or getting picked by Barneys. Kickstarter proves that fashion products can be sold and funded on the internet, sight unseen, by the general public, and the company’s success may be an indicator of the direction the industry is heading. It’s also more conducive to getting feedback from your target customer without much risk. Revolution Apparel founders Kristen Glenn and Shannon Whitehead whose product, Versalette (a clothing item that can be worn 15 ways) raised $64,246 on the platform, used Kickstarter as a way to test the waters. “We really wanted to see if there was this interest that we hoped there would be. It seemed like a pretty risk-free way to go into production,” Glenn told us over the phone. “It was mostly for testing the market. We thought it would be much easier than just giving our friends a survey and taking that to investors.”
Ministry of Supply co-founder Gihan Amarasiriwardena also liked the risk-free feedback aspect of Kickstarter. “What we love is that it has such a supportive community that gives lots of constructive feedback, which is important for a young product company.” MoS had already sold four small runs of shirts as a way of perfecting the design and used Kickstarter as a way to scale their operations. They had also witnessed previous fashion success stories on the platform (like previous record-holder Flint and Tinder who raised $291,493 for their line of premium men’s underwear). “They proved that fashion projects could ignite interest within the Kickstarter community.”
Being on Kickstarter also seems to be a great way to get press, which makes sense as a Kickstarter page is basically a more fun version of a press release with videos. The founders of MoS and Revolution Apparel all got several media requests, mainly from online outlets. Also, your page lives on the site even after funding ends. Conversely, no one’s going to find out about you from a meeting you had with an investor.