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: “When I order takeout or delivery, I’ll order almost anything as long as it can be split into multiple meals.” –Male, 27, FL

There’s good news and there’s bad news. Though the CDC reports that traditional cigarette use fell to a record low last year, electronic cigarette use continues to increase quickly for young consumers. E-cigarette use among high schoolers grew from 4.5% in 2013 to 13.4% in 2014. The product’s increasing accessibility could be contributing to the rise of its use, and theafter effects of the new chemicals in e-cigs are still largely unknown. (The Daily Beast

One teacher is finding out what is really going on in her students’ lives, thanks to a project that is now going viral. After Kyle Schwartz asked her students, many from underprivileged households, to write down something they wished she knew about them, she received revealing notes about their home and school life. One child shared that they don’t have pencils at home to do homework, while another confided that they don’t have a friend to play with. Schwartz has been sharing their notes on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, and encouraging other teachers to do the same. (The Daily WhatCNN)

Mattel is hoping to use crowdsourcing to find their next big toy. They’re asking members of product co-creation platform Quirky to “invent the future of play” and submit innovative new ideas for the company’s biggest brands, from Hot Wheels to Barbie. The project is a part of Mattel’s turnaround efforts, and the toys, games, and family products that Quirky users help create will be produced for the holiday season. We’ve said before that co-creation is the future of products, and 81% of Millennials say that they would be interested in helping a brand or company design a new product. (KidscreenEntrepreneur

Are Millennials that different from previous generations? Comparing Pew Research Center data from 1976-1979 and 2010-2013 shows that 18-34-year-olds today are less likely to expect work to be a central part of life than Boomers did when they were the same age. Almost double the percentage of Millennials expect that they’ll go to grad school, and are more likely than Boomers were at that age to say they “attend college to make more money.” (New York Times)

Museums and other art experiences are being Millennialized as young consumers’ spending clout grows. But exactly what kinds of art events appeal to them most? Ticketing platform Eventbrite surveyed members of the generation who attended a performing or visual arts event in the past 12 months to find out their preferences. Unsurprisingly, 66% prefer events with food. They’re also looking for unique experiences: 63% prefer events that are different from others they’ve attended. (Eventbrite)

Need to keep up with social media usage? Ypulse tracks social media trends in our monthly surveys, and we found that Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat have seen steady growth since November 2013. Finishing out 2014, 16% of Millennials were on Vine, 50% on Instagram, and 40% on Snapchat. Our Silver and Gold subscribers can find helpful visuals that detail our tracked trends in the Data Room on Ypulse.com. (Ypulse)

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