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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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: The emoji I most send is 100, because I'm 100% real.”—Male, 15, TX

Brands are now #adulting in an effort to relate to Millennials. In 2014, our Chasing Neverland trend reported Millennials’ desire to escape grownup responsibilities and indulge their inner-kid. Since then #adulting, which comically references the so-called adult struggles like paying rent or “showering beforenoon,” has blown-up online, getting mentioned 642,000 times just last year. Now brands are joining on the trend, tweeting out #adulting tips and jokes—but beware of adopting Millennial-speak. According to one social media expert, “if a brand can legitimately talk like a millennial or even a teenager, they can get away with using #adulting. Otherwise, it comes up as fake.” (Digiday

Fox’s Empire Snapchat lens not only garnered 61 million views, it also upped brand awareness for the series. Snapchat has officially released a few stats on their sponsored content in an effort to bring more marketers onto its platform, and reports that the Empire lens ramped up brand awareness by 16 points and increased tune-in intent by 8% when it ran in March. The lens, which “overlaid a graphic of a pair of headphones and sunglasses over Snapchat users' faces with a microphone that they could pretend to sing into,” was played 33 million times and used for an average of 20 seconds before snapping. (Adweek

Millennials may be the key to redefining beauty standards in the fashion industry. Despite criticism, fashion has been slow to diversify, and 80% of models booked for the Fall 2015 season were white. Tony King, a CEO of an advertising agency that works with luxury brands, believes the way Millennials consume content can spark change: “There used to be all these layers between what brands put out and what the consumer saw. Now with the rise of social media and the accessibility of platforms like Snapchat you see a true authentic voice.” While young consumers “are totally clued into a diverse voice,” many brands haven’t recognized their preferences. (Forbes

Millennials without college degrees could be “stuck renting for a long time.” New research is revealing significant hurdles for 18-34-year-olds without diplomas: college graduates without student debt will need on average five years of additional savings to afford a down payment for a starter home, those with student loans will need 10 years, and those who haven’t graduated college will need 15.5 years. Lower incomes are one of the main drivers for the trend, but Millennials without college diplomas are also less likely to get financial assistance from friends and family. (Wall Street Journal

Virtual reality is “inventing a new way to tell a story." A 360-degree app that tells the story of Cirque du Soleil's traveling Kurios show, has been referenced as evidence of how VR is poised to become a revolutionary tool for storytelling. The app puts users “in the center of the action,” spotlighting how the technology could be the “closest to teleportation we will ever have in our lifetime." Experts also claim that consumers will “actually create the greatest amount of [virtual] content for themselves and their friends,” because of VR’s power to let users relive important experiences like birthdays and weddings. (Recode

Quote of the Day: “I can’t live without my desktop computer because it can replace most of the other devices (media streaming, music playing, getting directions, staying in contact with friends, gaming...).”—Female, 25, SC

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