Depending on your vantage point, Kickstarter’s fashion vertical is either a meritocratic marketplace of potentially-groundbreaking ideas, or, the Internet’s mall kiosk, providing inessential products to undiscerning impulse buyers. According to a recent GQ story, it’s actually a little bit of both.
“Since Kickstarter’s launch, $127 million total has been poured into Kickstarter fashion projects, birthing jeans and jackets and, yes, male rompers. But is Kickstarter creating new product categories in fashion or merely clickbait clothing?”
Tracing fashion’s roots on the platform back to Ministry of Supply’s $430,000 fundraising effort in 2012 — at the time offering what amounted to athletic socks in dress sock drag — the story breaks down the varying degrees of success with which aspiring entrepreneurs have delivered on their promise to “disrupt” your closet.
Some, like Ministry of Supply, are doing well. Their expanded range of tech-infused office clothing has spawned copycat designs from major menswear players across the industry. And Gustin is given credit for employing a model that bypasses an internal wholesale markup in order to provide high-quality, low-cost products.
But those brands are heavily juxtaposed by a proliferation of gimmicky projects — like Romphim, who raised $350,000 — and projects that want to make something better but don’t understand why they want to make it better — like The Adv3nture Hoodie, which raised a record $1.85 million and can store something like 94 iPad’s and three bottles of wine on the wearer’s person because why not.
“Kickstarter promises a revolutionary future that doesn’t need to cede to the requirements of the industry. But for now, its biggest success stories are items that cater to our most momentary whims.”
In other news, I’m Kickstarting the thinnest, most minimalist wallet ever made – it’s so minimal, you can’t actually fit anything inside of it. I think it’s got legs.
You can read more about it at GQ.