The fashion business is a $1.2 trillion global industry that is primarily lead by big brands and conglomerates. Nonetheless, it is still expected to grow in double digits within the next five years, with the growth mostly coming from emerging markets. Evidently, the fashion industry is still booming and can look forward to bigger and newer trends, brand names, and most of all, revenues. To stir the industry in the right direction, a number of independent designers, brands, and innovative groups have taken the initiative to promote ethical fashion and sustainability in global fashion supply chain. However, the fashion industry continues to have a reputation of overconsumption, elitism, and pretentiousness.
Disrupting the supply chain
Recognizing the need for a more open, sustainable, but still artistic industry, Mr. Kwangsu Cho, CEO of Brick& Inc., initiated the Fashion Crowd Challenge 2015. “The dynamics of the global fashion industry are changing dramatically, people are becoming more conscious of what they wear, and how they’re made. The Fashion Crowd Challenge (FCC) aims to open up the industry by disrupting the supply chain from its very beginning”, Mr. Cho said. The Fashion Crowd Challenge is a global fashion competition that calls out all aspiring and motivated designers to submit their works online to be judged by the crowd, the consumers of fashion, instead of a select few elite judges. “The design phase is the very first step in the fashion lifecycle and we believe that to make the change we want to see, we have to start from the beginning. FCC opens up the industry to all the undiscovered talents out there who will otherwise not have any means to exhibit their art,” Mr. Cho added. The competition uses an in-house innovative Crowd Evaluation System (CES) that will empower the crowd while at the same time, give designers results on their entries through the Designer Growth Reports. Judges who registered on the website can vote on their choice designs and can leave their comments for the designers. According to Mr. Cho, the competition closes the gap between the designers and their customers, not only within their own cities or countries, but globally, by combining fashion and collective intelligence technology.
Keeping everything accessible online
The whole competition banks on the ubiquitousness of the web. Designers and judges sign up on the website and participate online. All marketing and information dissemination also started on the web, specifically on social media platforms, and will remain that way until the Crowd Challenge Festival in Shanghai where the winning designers and outstanding judges from the crowd will be meeting each other for the grand fashion show. Mr. Cho reiterated the power of social media by saying, “the Facebook pages’ and other social media pages’ members multiplied exponentially once we sent the word out. We wanted to reach out not only to aspiring fashion designers who needs a chance to show off their talents but also to fashion enthusiasts.” To broaden the reach and further spread the word internationally, FCC is running 16 official pages in different languages, namely; English, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Indonesian, Filipino, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, German, Italian, Turkish, French, Italian, Vietnamese, and Thai. “To open up fashion to everybody, we realized that aside from keeping everything online, we have to speak the people’s languages, too. This is why we organized a handpicked team of individuals, locally and internationally, to manage our communications”, said Mr. Cho.
Redirecting the spotlight
Succeeding in the fashion industry is difficult. Moreover, this industry is perceived as unfriendly and unsupportive to new comers. FCC wants to reinforce the image of fashion in a more positive and progressive light. Mr. Cho added that, “we are disrupting the design phase by redirecting the spotlight to the new comers. Most industries are being challenged by the young, hopeful, and innovative. We are innovating fashion by creating a platform to display the talents hidden out there by different barriers. We are putting out there not only new designs but more importantly, the new designers, their stories, philosophies, and inspirations.” By giving emphasis to the designs and the designers, FCC offers the public an authentic way to rethink what they wear and who makes them, at the same time, empowers the customer by giving them the power to decide the next trends. By sharing their design philosophies and causes, the designers are also given the voice to speak out about their art how they perceive fashion.
Aside from talented designers, the Fashion Crowd Challenge also opened the stage to aspiring models around the world through the Model Crowd Challenge (MCC). MCC culminated last September 13. The Crowd Evaluation System was first put to the test during the competition and the winners were announced last September 14. True to
FCC’s goal to democratize fashion and give equal opportunities to outstanding talents, MCC’s winners came from Nigeria, South Korea (3), America, Ukraine, Chile, Moldova, Russia, and Spain. “We wanted the models for the grand fashion show to come from the same crowd evaluation that the designers have to go through. We gave people the power to make a choice on who will represent them and this resulted to more diversity on the runway”, added Mr. Cho. The models will be walking the runway wearing the winning designs in the competition.
The Future of Fashion
According to Mr. Cho, FCC hopes that, in cooperation with other innovative groups, it can offer a glimmer of hope to those looking forward for the trillion-dollar industry to change its course. The goals of the Fashion Crowd Challenge might sound ambitious but nobody can deny the possibility of making a bit of change. Overhauling a century-old industry might sound like a difficult feat but new technology have proven it possible to render old systems obsolete quickly. When asked about the future of FCC, Mr. Cho answered, “Right now we are very busy looking forward to the Crowd Challenge Festival in Shanghai. We are preparing so much for the grand fashion show and we are hoping that everybody who are standing up to make changes in the fashion industry would be there to join us. If we succeed, we are thinking of extending FCC’s premise to
other industries to discover more talents. We are positive that these new talents will be the next employers of the coming generations and it’s up to us to encourage them to make the change they want to see.” Winners of the design competition will receive brand launch support and will get the chance to show off their winning designs at the grand fashion finale.
Awards for Fashion Crowd Challenge Fashion Designers
The first 5 winning designers, which consists of a 100,000USD 1st place winner (one designer), 30,000 USD 2nd place winner (two designers), and 20,000USD 3rd place winner (two designers), will work with FCC and receive financial support for the manufacturing, promotion and marketing, as well as being provided networking tools for their designs or brands. Therefore, by connecting designers with new buyers and markets, FCC will aim to raise designers to the height of international fame. Dream Award winners (10 designers) will receive a 5,000 USD cash prize.
All winning designers will also be eligible to appear in the FCC2015 global fashion show held in Shanghai which will definitely be a unique opportunity to elevate your brand to the next level. FCC will work with the winning designers to customize a financial package that best suits their needs. Whether you need help with manufacturing, distributing, networking, or marketing, FCC will help you in developing successful strategies. On the other hand, if your brand is already being manufactured, marketed and distributed, the FCC will be a new platform to introduce your brand to new markets. The FCC will work with you to highlight your full potential and boost your recognition. We will help to foster a professional relationship between you and the fashion industry.
How to become a winning judge!
Using our own evaluation system, our technique will identify new global trends in the fashion industry. This trend is based on the total evaluation of all the judges, meaning you and all the other participants. Those who have a sixth sense for future fashion trends will be identified as Trend Makers and Trend Influencers. However only Trend Makers will be invited to the Crowd Challenge Festival in Shanghai. Here are 3 ways to separate you as a Trend Maker.
1. Evaluate Regularly
The more you evaluate, the higher the chances are of you being a Trend Maker and Trend Influencer. Voters will be limited to vote on 30 designs a day, so coming back each day or as often as possible will be an important factor in being identified by the system!
2. Vote Honestly
Judges who vote with their heart AND truthfully evaluate based on their opinions will be identified through the system. Simply voting often and giving the same score will not be enough. The new and exciting system can identify voters who lack the honesty to be a real Trend Maker and their scores will not be weighted in the general voting pattern.
3. Comment Creatively
By giving more creative feedback and commenting passionately, you will increase your chances of winning. Comments will be crucial in selecting a winning judge. A sincere effort to evaluate other designs with creativity will highlight you in the system.