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 learned to cook through ship to home meals like Blue Apron.” –Male, 24, IL

Some Millennial guys are embracing going gray—way ahead of time. Silver fox hair has joined man buns and merman hair as one of the fads they’re using to express themselves and stand out in the crowd. Though clearly not a widespread trend, Amazon has seen gray hair dye searches increase by threefold in the last year and some celebrities are showing of their silver dos on social media. One stylist tells the Times it isn’t about the natural look: “The demographic of guys who come to me to go gray are doing it more as a fashion statement.” (The New York TimesGothamist

Luxury fashion brands have been targeting teens through Snapchat, which is prompting some to ask if they’re ignoring their core market. Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry have all had recent campaigns on the platform using teen influencers like Kendall Jenner and Brooklyn Beckham. Although the promotions might miss the mark with their traditional older consumers, as well as most older Millennials, the goal is likely to influence today’s more practical young consumers to buy (or ask their parents to buy) entry-level luxury items. One analyst says that “online as a whole now influences over 60% of [luxury] purchases.” (Forbes

Taco Bell wants to be Millennials’ favorite. Despite benefiting from Chipotle’s E.coli breakout and seeing sales rise 4% last quarter, the brand is still looking to make significant changes and continue to improve their image. New menu items like the Doritos Locos and Waffle Tacos were a hit with 18-35-year-olds, and next they’re adding cage-free eggs. Fast-casual is a threat to fast food titans, but Millennials’ craving for cheap eats isn’t going away—McDonald’s is still the most visited restaurant among 20 and 30-year-olds, thanks in part to their value menu. (Business Insider

The struggle is real for Millennials, and the upcoming movie Get a Job is bringing their employment and financial problems to the big screen. The story starts off with two optimistic, bright-eyed college graduates who are in love and ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, they soon face the challenges of a tough economy with layoffs and downsizing. While they alternately lose jobs and tell each other to “step up,” they attempt to make rent, deal with debilitating student loans, and enjoy being young.  (Entertainment Weekly

YouTube is ready to be the next Netflix. YouTube Red, their $9.99 monthly subscription service, is premiering their first original shows next week, and will launch between 15-20 new ad-free shows in 2016, some featuring popular YouTube stars. The platform plans to attain success with cheaper productions, unlike Netflix’s big budget shows, and is going after the younger viewers that grew up idolizing social media stars. With YouTube focusing on the fans, networks are expecting the influencers to help the platform take-off: “There’s a reason why [millions] of people are watching them and it’s not just because it’s free.” (Los Angeles Times

“The issue I am most passionate about is the economy, because wealth disparity is killing the American dream.” –Male, 27, TX

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