Meredith Darling | @merdar
Meet Inspirare.com, a fabulous fashion site with social networking roots. Launched in response to the lack of exposure for emerging design talent, Inspirare gives hopefuls the opportunity to get funded, thrive, and focus on the creative side of business.
I got in touch with Kate Blank, Inspirare Fashion Director, and here is what she had to say about fashion and social:
How has social media changed the fashion industry?
Social media has changed how a brand and its consumer interact with each other. It's no longer a message being pushed onto the public, but rather a two way conversation. This shift of power has filtered into the fashion industry and has become part of the shopping experience for consumers. Customers now want to get involved and have their say... Social media has given brands a medium where they can take out the guess work and just ask them 'What do you want to wear?' and 'What do you want to buy?' It's now up to fashion brands to utilize this two-way flow of information and successfully cater to their customer base.
What was the inspiration for a fashion-based social networking site?
The inspiration for Inspirare really was the social media revolution, in that we really wanted to close the gap between the designer and the consumer. We also recognized how difficult it was for emerging fashion designers to get their labels off the ground. The outlay to sample, produce, promote and sell a collection is huge, and it takes a long time for any money to come back into the business. It's a big risk. By taking these two sides of the equation and carefully weaving them together, we ended up with Inspirare. The social media aspect of it lets consumers influence trends, and determine what's available to buy online. Users can offer feedback to designers, allowing them to learn directly from their market and evolve their brand.
Keep in mind that Inspirare is not for your casual fashion designer. Aspiring designers should have vast knowledge of commerciality, their customer base, brand management, and market awareness. So why would designers want to join the Inspirare community?
- Selected designers receive 100% production funding
- Worldwide exposure
- Royalties on winning designs
- Inspirare takes on all risk
- Quality manufacturing (all garments made in San Francisco)
- Feedback, tips, and news from peers
Be sure to keep your eye on the Inspirare competition to promote the launching of their online shop. Aside from the perks, Inspirare has mastered the concept of letting the public decide what is made and sold to them. Forums also leave the discussion open to what trends should flourish, helpful tips and feedback, style and career advice, and updates about industry news. They have truly created a hub for all things fashion and social.