Fashwire, the maker of an app to connect fashion designers directly to consumers, recently raised $725,000 in seed capital and is currently working on its Series A funding round ahead of its app’s scheduled launch this summer.
Fashwire told GeekWire that it has already recruited around 6,000 users and 1,400 designers for a beta test it will run ahead of its planned wider rollout in August. Seed funding for the Seattle startup came from angel investors in Seattle, New York and Los Angeles.
The app allows consumers to get a quick view of current creations from independent fashion designers, who post photos of their new creations on the app. The app allows users to vote on designs they like and dislike, and designers have real-time access to voting results, which they can use to inform design changes or other plans. for their designs.
Overview of the dive:
There are already plenty of fashion apps out there, and new ones pop up all the time. The intense level of competition in the fashion apparel market proved too much for retailers like The Limited, which closed all of its physical stores earlier this year.
Fashwire enters this environment with a fresh and new angle. The company wants to create a direct link between fashion designers and consumers that could ultimately build a stronger and more intimate relationship between these parties.
But should retailers worry that apps like these will bypass them in the fashion supply chain? Fashwire may just be an app, but the trend is becoming increasingly apparent: As stores struggle to connect with consumers, fashion influencers and designers have begun looking to eliminate intermediaries and connect directly with consumers.
“In 2016, top influencers cut out the middleman from retailers and brands and started selling direct to consumer through their own online and physical pop-up stores,” Lois Sakany, editor-in-chief of Snobette.com, a street style women’s fashion blog, told Retail Dive late last year. “…Retail in 2016 has become a space with fewer stores, yes, but more online sellers, all vying for an extremely distracted consumer that has become a highly specialized mindset.”
“Brands have continued to develop direct-to-consumer strategies across the entire omnichannel ecosystem, including brick-and-mortar stores,” he said. “In an effort to both break away from the sea of similarity found in so many department stores and to better control their own brand identity, brands have stepped up their own direct-to-consumer efforts across all channels. .”
The Fashwire app could very well create a bridge directly between designers and consumers that currently doesn’t exist – or perhaps only exists loosely and unorganized on social media. Designers can get immediate feedback on designs they’ve just completed or are still in progress, and can make changes or move forward with what they’ve submitted based on the feedback they receive through the ‘application. This type of early street-level guidance isn’t necessarily for all businesses in all industries, but in a business where staying on-trend or just ahead of trends is extremely important, it could help. to provide that instant feedback to designers.
By creating and strengthening the connection between designers and consumers, the app could also build energy around designs and grease the wheels of the marketplace. Independent retailers and merchants carrying Fashwire designers’ finished products could put these fashions on the rack knowing that people have already talked about them.
Consumers, meanwhile, may be able to use the app to keep up to date with stores where new fashions might appear first. Ultimately, they can achieve insider status in the fashion industry. This will go a long way in getting them talking about – and buying – new designs they see on apps like Fashwire.