Kickstarter Fashion: Lessons in What Consumers Are Craving

In the short four years it has been in existence, Kickstarter has gained a reputation for launching new tech crazes, empowering fans’ influence in the movie industry and online entertainment, and proving that consumers are looking for innovation in video gaming, games, and publishing. The crowdfunding site may have its share of flaws, but it is an amazing gauge from which to measure what young, empowered, and passionate consumers are looking to spend their money on. But fashion is often left out of the spotlight when it comes to discussions of Kickstarter success stories. It deserves our attention: in 2012 alone, over $6 million was pledged to 1,659 fashion projects, and the top-funded fashion start-ups on Kickstarter showcase untapped markets, consumer needs, and design innovations that could be huge successes. Here are some of the most recent successful Kickstarter fashion stories, and what each tells us about what fashion today might be missing:

 

Light Wing Trainers

$141,620 pledged; Passed goal by 944% with 2,116 backers (still 7 days to go!)

The Unbelievable Testing Laboratory lives up to its name, having taken 200,000 steps, 200+ comfort fit tests, 17 rounds of anti-slip, flexibility, and harmful substance tests, and 57 sole strengths tests following three international standards to make the Light Wing Trainers, shoes made from a paper material called Tyvek. The material was invented in the ‘60s, is virtually indestructible and used today for home insulation. Because of Tyvek, the shoes are “impossibly light.” Weighing less than half a pound, they sell the prospect of walking on air while being completely waterproof and durable, a wow factor for the Millennials who are constantly after the latest tech and styles in kicks. The UT Lab plays up the science angle of their…

 
 

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“I love reality TV shows. It's always fun to watch average people make themselves look foolish just for a shot at fame.”

—Female, 17, CA

“Bored kids” and “desperate parents” are the most likely to love their smart speakers. Nine out of ten children who own one say they enjoy their device, and 57% of all smart speaker owners with children admit entertaining their children was one of the reasons they opted for the purchase. Ypulse found 13-34-year-olds consider Amazon Alexa one of the “coolest tech products” so it’s no surprise smart speaker owners love their devices: 65% “would not want to go back to their lives before getting one,” 42% consider it an everyday “essential,” and over half of parents plan to purchase another. (Fast Company)

Plastic surgery is reportedly having a moment with Millennial men. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, of the over one-third of men who are “extremely likely” to consider cosmetic procedures, 58% are 25-34-years-old and 34% are 18-24-years-old. Some reasons they’re willing to go under the knife (or needle)? To boost their self-confidence, to appear less tired or stressed, and to stay competitive in their careers. Experts say social media and the self-care trend is making men more appearance-conscious. (Bloomberg)

Reading Rainbow is back and it’s all grown-up, just like its fans. The well-loved show's host, LeVar Burton, is picking up a book and laying down a podcast for his Millennial fans. He’ll be reading selected works of fiction and breaking down the themes just like in the old days, but he’s also adding a little something extra: his personal take on the tale. The only thing missing from the original PBS Kid’s show? The coveted chance to get on screen and read a review from your favorite story.

(Huffington Post)

Gen Z is thinking finances-first when making college decisions. Almost 80% consider the cost of an institution in their decision of where to attend, which makes sense considering over one in three are planning to pay for part or all their expenses. Avoiding the student loan debt that most Millennials know all too well is a key component of their finance-savvy thinking: 69% of teens are concerned about taking on loans, and the number of teens who plan to borrow has dropped 10% since 2016. (CSF)

Leisure and hospitality are the “hottest” jobs for teens this summer. A full 41% of teens went into leisure and hospitality last year, nearly double those that landed a wholesale and retail gig. Education and health services rounded out the top three, with all other industries claiming 5% or less of the summer teen workforce. When Ypulse asked teens where they’re planning to work this summer, restaurants and fast food jobs combined would land the top spot on the list. (Markets Insider)

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