The Difficulties in Launching a Brand
I’ve written before about how smaller luxury brands get their start. Often it begins with the Fashion Fairs that coincide with Fashion Week. Working with my husband for his exotic leather belt atelier, we’ve been to plenty of these.
They are an incredible investment for unknown brands with no big backers and often they end up paying more money for the Fashion Fair (between paying for the stand, decor, shipping, flight, hotel, meals etc) than they make in orders….at least the first few times. But sometimes the Fashion Fairs are a small brand’s biggest opportunity (or only) for exposure….until now!
I was incredibly flattered and intrigued when Wow/Cracy, the crowd funding fashion site run by Vogue Talents, Glamour and Bazaar, contacted me about being chosen as a trendsetting blogger.
What is Wow/Cracy?
Wowcracy gives new designers the chance to have their innovative collections crowd-funded by people who really believe in their creations. It is jointly run by Glamour Magazine, Vogue Talents and Bazaar Magazine to launch and promote fashion’s next independent designers.
An up and coming designer creates a “Project”, which is a capsule collection that can be purchased in advance at a wholesale price. This collection goes into production, and you are charged and shipped the piece ONLY after their fundraising goal has been met. It becomes the responsibility of fashion lovers and supporters to help launch a brand and ensure the collection is produced.
Each project includes the story of the brand and designer, the designs, lookbook and a video. When a project catches your eye you Pre-Order from them and PAY ONLY IF THEY GO INTO PRODUCTION. Meaning, only if the project is successful.
Not just any designers can upload their collection to Wow/Cracy, the entire site is curated by industry experts and the calibre of work presented is very high. No amateur hour here!
Many of the designs are bespoke, leather or sartorial and can be a little expensive, but designers often give supporters the chance to buy just a “thank you” card, a small accessory or even a mention on the funding page in their catalogue, much like a Theatre that is fundraising for a new play.
Hh Hiroko Higuchi AW 2014 Collection
You must see Hiroko Higuchi’s collection of men’s socks, ties and bow ties and super feminine women’s hold up stockings and ankle socks complete with a delicate frill.
If you follow my Pinterest you know that I’ve had a thing for heels and socks for quite some time and recently tried the look out myself! I can’t wait to style a pair of Hiroko Higuchi’s ankle socks with a skirt and black heels!
Hh is headed by designer Hiroko Higuchi, based in Tokyo and completely made in Japan. This collection is on its way UP and I would not be surprised if in the next few years all luxury retailers like L’Eclaireur, Louisa Via Roma, Alchemist and Hu’s Wear carry this brand. How do I know this?
Buyers from luxury boutiques attend the Fashion Fairs and search for the brands that are making a buzz. After doing a bit of research into Hiroko Higuchi, I can see that they show their collections at WHO’S NEXT, PREMIERE CLASS, WHITE MILANO and PITTI IMMAGINE UOMO, all of the major Fashion Fairs in Europe. Just the place for a luxury retail buyer to discover the next big thing.
Fashion Foresight – Buy the Big Designers BEFORE they are Big Designers!
One of the things I love about WOW/CRACY is that with a bit of research you can predict who will “make it big” in the next few years and you have the chance to buy their designs at wholesale prices. Hh‘s women’s stockings and socks sell between 18 euro and 31 euro on the site, but in a luxury boutique these would be at least double (but maybe even TRIPLE when they are sold in North America, because of duty and shipping fees that get added on by the stores).
My husband is a connoisseur of socks, so I think he would love a pair of Hh finely woven and embroidered gentleman’s socks (for Christmas!). And since the Hh inspiration is “Spice of your life”, with inspiration coming from the emotional relation between a couple, I’ll let you guess what I end up buying for myself…….
You can find the Hiroko Higuchi Collection on WOW/CRACY here and follow the hashtag #wefw (Wowcracy Endless Fashion Week) on Twitter to join in on the discussion.
Have a great Thursday and Spice up your Life!!
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