Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Customers Are Calling the Shots Now on Fashion

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Customers Are Calling the Shots Now on Fashion

Article excerpt

THE country's most powerful retail teams have long dictated the way we consume fashion. But that dictatorship is about to topple. Crowd sourcing, a growing trend in which consumers are invited to shape the creative process, is threatening to transform shopping as we know it. Championed by Londonbased fashion brand Connected Generation -- an interactive concept which lets customers decide which of its designs will go into production through an online vote -- this trend for crowd sourcing has picked up some serious pace in the UK this summer.

With a varied array of body-con and maxi dresses, jersey playsuits and simple vests in everything from polka dot to paint splash, Connected Generation follows wherever the consumer points. "Crowd sourcing is definitely where the industry is heading," says Connected Generation founder Rachel Cosford. "This generation is so used to having control and everything on demand that the option to have impetus from the beginning in a collaborative way is a very appealing one." Previously a buyer for Topshop, Cosford was awarded funding to launch her interactive business model from the London College of Fashion Creative Seed scheme. Although she has a welltrained eye for what sells, Cosford put aside her previous buying knowledge and entrusted her business plan to her consumers. Five seasons on and the interactive brand has proven to be a hit with shoppers on ASOS marketplace, as well as buyers from the Laden Showroom and New Look.

"Brands cannot ignore the fact that social media are facilitating the consumer voice," continues Cosford. "Customers can 'like' things on Facebook or tweet about brands. Most importantly, you don't have to be a fashion editor to have a comment."

Connected Generation -- the first fashion brand of its kind in the UK -- follows a model already adopted by a number of US-based brands. …

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