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: “I consider luxury items as something that is nice to have, but that I can also live without.”—Female, 23, FL

How has the recession made Millennials reject capitalism? According to a Harvard University survey, 51% of 18-29-year-olds say they do not support capitalism, but it may be that young voters are essentially frustrated by the “flaws of free markets.” When asked about socialism, only 33% said they were in support of the alternative system, making the analysis of the data complex. It is also unclear how the Millennials surveyed define capitalism, since the meaning has shifted throughout the years. According to one pollster, the term once meant freedom from totalitarian regimes, but is now blamed for the financial crisis. (Washington Post

Financial technology startups are narrowing their focus to keep Silicon Valley interested. It is no longer enough for a young company to disrupt the financial industry, they need to think niche to stand out from the competition. Financial start-up Pave targets consumers with a lack of credit history, like college students. Promise Financial provides loans specifically for weddings (which 74% of 18-33-year-olds say have become too expensive), and has partnered with over 100 wedding venues and vendors to offer loans when major purchases are being made. (Wall Street Journal

Luxury brands are looking towards the future by focusing in on Millennials. The generation has the potential to be the largest spending group in history, and by 2020 the oldest Millennials will be entering their peak earning years. To prepare, luxury brands are shifting to cater to the generation who values “über-luxe” travel over costly jewelry, shoes, and bags. Brands are turning to new influencers—from the Instagram-famous to video game characters— to form relationships with Millennials before they become the core luxury demographic. (WWD

GE has created an unexpected product to attract Millennial engineers: hot sauce. In partnership with thrillist and High River Sauces, the company has introduced the limited edition 10^32 Kelvin—named after the temperature that “scientists believe all matter ceases to exist.” The sauce combines the two hottest peppers in the world, and is made to get the attention of young applicants who may be more inclined to work for a “trendier” company. There is no doubt that hot sauce is a major trend: one market research firm predicts that by 2020 popular sauces will earn $632 million in new sales. (Fox News

An exclusive club called Magnises is “targeting Millennials and brands, wallets and insecurities.” We first told you about Magnises as a start-up targeting high earning Millennials, and since then it has branched out as a community-focused platform joining the ranks of WeLive and Soho House. Playing off Millennials’ struggle to form connections, the company wants to bring “the benefits of an online social network immediacy, convenience, interactivity—into the real world,” through member-only and sponsored events. They are expecting $5 million in revenue this year, with the  majority coming from brands. (Racked

Quote of the Day: “When shopping for a home, my must-have is an in-law suite.”—Male, 23, DE

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