The Pattern team is always on the lookout for resources to benefit the Indianapolis fashion community. We were recently directed to a website designed to be a resource for designers – but is it a win or loose for Indy’s local talent? In the past, Pattern has published articles that focused on the benefits of embracing social media (such as our interviews with West Coast Tacos and Scotty’s Brewhouse). We’ve even chatted with local fashion industry professionals to bring you different perspectives from within the industry. This time, we’re reviewing Inspirare, a resource for designers.
Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, a haven for new ideas, Inspirare is dedicated to supporting the next wave of fashion designers. Inspirare offers 100% production funding to it’s designers and manufactures all of it’s garments in the USA. – Inspirare
Inspirare uses a competition-like voting system to get a particular designer’s ideas produced and sold on the Inspirare online store. After spending some time trying to figure out the new site, the process seemed pretty simple for designers who may be looking to move beyond the sketch pad.
The simple breakdown of Inspirare’s process is: Design + Vote + Share + Buy = a commission check based on sales of the garment. In order to view the designers’ portfolios, you must register for the site. Once registered, you can start voting for the different designs that have been submitted to the site. Designers who have higher vote counts get flagged for Inspirare to take notice. In a perfect world, the designs will be produced by Inspirare with no liability or overhead for the designer. Even if the designs don’t get selected for production, it’s still a free way to give your designs or brand greater visibility.
Notes from my initial visit:
- Inspirare is a unique way for designers who are just getting started to get some feedback on designs
- Since the site is so new there aren’t many design photos uploaded. The designs that are uploaded range from very amateur sketches (I’m talking scanned-in crayon-design sketches. Yikes!) to the mature designers who are featured on the front page of the site. To be honest, local shows have presented better designs than what was posted on the site. That could be a good or bad thing.
- If you are someone who likes to read a lot of copy, then the site was created for you.
- It did take a bit of work to find all the necessary information regarding what exactly the site does, but the site does explain it in extreme detail – so, once you find the info, you understand the process.
- The site’s store is not open yet, but I feel like that may just be because of the lack of traffic in uploading quality designs. (The site did run a contest in which the winner received a run of 200 of their design).
- The site has active message boards on a range of topics that may be found useful for some industry professionals. Personally, I found it helpful in trying to figure out Inspirare’s process.
To be honest, the site could have the potential to really help launch the brands of designers. The site is just so new that it’s hard to determine whether it would be a win or lose for local designers. Based upon what I came to understand – without speaking to anyone affiliated with the site (the way I prefer to do it) – the site could use getting some extra attention.
The true test will come once the site begins to actually sell designs on their online store. The business part of a designer’s brain should be telling you to read everything carefully. The site does have a process before a designer is accepted to join as a designer. However, when I saw the picture of a dress drawn in what looked like crayon, I question the application process. If accepted, there is a “Designer Agreement”, which should be read very carefully so that you understand what you’re agreeing too. Remember: always protect your business.
For the most part, Inspirare seems like a resource win for independent designers… if you take the time to invest in getting your network of people to vote for your design. Make sure that you really read and understand the process in order to make the best business decision for your brand. If you decide to participate in Inspirare, let Pattern know on our Facebook, @patternindy, or comment below. We want to hear your perspective!