Is Kickstarter the Way Forward for Ethical Fashion?

Is Kickstarter the Way Forward for Ethical Fashion?


Ask any business owner in the world today, and they will tell you that times are tough. The economy almost everywhere has gone a bit pear-shaped, consumer spending is much more cautious and finding funding for new ideas through traditional means is extremely difficult.

evolve7-290x279-2That’s where crowdfunding options such as Kickstarter, come in. It allows small businesses to advertise themselves, gain a fan base and much needed donations and financial support from other businesses and individuals.

Annegret Affolderbach, of Choolips, started a Kickstarter campaign called “Evolve: A collection without leftovers”.

The main aim of the campaign and collection was to create beautiful collaborative pieces by bringing together scraps of materials, and work with other designers in order to help reduce the wastage and negative impact on the environment. The collection has a range of products that pledgers receive in exchange for their support, from accessories, women’s fashion to chairs and bunting.

Did the Kickstarter campaign work? Sadly, no.

The campaign didn’t raise the full £22,000 target. Why is this? Is Kickstarter a viable way for ethical companies to expand their businesses? The jury is still out, and within the Sapelle team, we have conflicting views about this

BimeGhWIMAEjtiR.jpg-mediumEthical fashion is indeed a growing business, as many people become more and more aware, but it is still outside of what is considered “mainstream fashion”.

Kickstarter, in one view, works far more if you are popular, well established, if you already have a fan base that can support you financially. This is what a business needs before it can make the most of what Kickstarter has to offer.

There needs to be more in the way of advertising such labels. Magazines and fashion TV shows need to move away from their obsession with Gucci, Prada and the like; the vast majority of their viewers and readers will probably never buy anything from those brands.

As consumers, we should encourage these platforms to show us something new, beautiful and affordable. If you take a look through the “Evolve” collection, I can guarantee that you’ll see at least one item that will make you drool all over your keyboard.

Choolips-x-Yinka-2Whilst this set-back won’t hold Choolips back from continuing to do what they do best, it could be seriously damaging for less successful business or fledgling designers.

Kickstarter should have some feature that allows big advertisers to see what new ideas are out there, and help promote something new. Can you imagine a world where you open up a fashion magazine, akin to Glamour or Vogue, and find it full of new, interesting fashion rather than the status quo? This is what I’d like to see.

If Kickstarter didn’t achieve the goal to raise funds for Choolips, one thing it certainly did accomplish was raise awareness for the Choolips brand itself. This is a platform that attracts viewers the world over, some of whom are businesses seeking ‘the next big thing’ or a potential partner or supplier. If small brands enter the crowdfunding game with brand awareness as the primary target, then they may just achieve a new income stream, or expansion into new markets through their venture. Which isn’t such a bad thing.

photo-main-2At the time of posting this blog, another ethical African brand is in the middle of its crowdfunding re-launch. Modahnik failed to reach its goal earlier this year, but has come back with a more fortified marketing drive to reach its funding target. With a little over two weeks to go, Modahnik has already had pledges for 77% of the funding target. Will Modahnik achieve the goal of getting 100% funded? We’re rooting for them.

Click here to view and take part in Modahnik’s crowdfunding campaign.

Daniela Prataviera & Daphne Kasambala

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