The fashion lover/fashion designer relationship just got a whole lot cozier. FashionStake.com launched today, offering users the opportunity to support a designer by buying a stake in his/her collection and get rewarded with store credit as the collection sells online.
There are four ways to support designers. A "Buyer" pledges to purchase a clothing item at a discount. Each designer (there are currently four online) sets up a funding target. Visitors who donate $50 reach "Funder" status and receive store credit based on the successful sales of collection items in the online store. The site says it will offer up to $125 return on a $50 stake.
For you big spenders, there's "VIP" status. Luxury perks and privileges include dinner with the designer or New York Fashion Week tickets (get your FW Survival Kit, too!) and one free item from the collection.
According to a release, the start-up has commissioned several designers, including Nicholas K, to produce exclusive collections and send them down the runway during their shows next week.
"Consumers will be able to pre-order items at a discount before they hit the runway, own a 'Stake' in a designer's collection, and enjoy several insider-only perks, such as tickets to a designer's Fashion Week show," the release reads. "They will also be able to provide input into the creative process by voting on and discussing pieces."
The site plans to feature more than thirty contemporary ready-to-wear designers, revealing one designer each week. Designers range from the up-and-coming Alice Ritter, who is part of the CFDA's Fashion Incubator (see all twelve designers here), to established handbag designer Lauren Merkin.
"We were very excited to see how much activity there has been -- not only in supporting designers but also in voting on styles. The idea of immediate, direct feedback from consumers is one of the reasons that designers have been excited to work with FashionStake," explains president and co-founder Vivian Weng.
"Designers don't get that kind of feedback through normal retail channels. We've heard of designers who actually go mystery shopping at department stores to hear what their customers are saying about their new collections."
So....power truly to the people. What do you think? Would you support a designer on such a direct level?
In other news, check out the complete schedule of Fashion's Night Out.
Stars in Bikinis
See Julia Robert and other stars as they bare it all in bikinis.
Phil Walter, Getty Images
Age is clearly just a number for Julia Roberts.
After showing off her toned gams in short-shorts at the NYC premiere of "Eat, Pray, Love" earlier this month, the 42-year-old actress was spotted making a splash in Hawaii on Aug. 29 in a halter-neck bikini.
If the Lancôme pitchwoman gained any weight while filming the story of a woman who has a four-month love affair with Italian food, her turquoise two-piece, featuring a boho pattern in hot pink, orange, and green, certainly didn't show it.
Enjoying the surf and sand with hubby Danny Moder, the Pretty Woman flaunted a flawless figure that gave no hint of pizza, pasta, or her three real-life pregnancies.
So what do you think: Does Roberts still have it?
In related news, check out 40-year-old Heather Graham in a string bikini.
Take a cue from Giddy Spinster, who "upcycles" used heels of breathtaking heights and turns them into planters by removing the tops, drilling drainage holes, and inserting flora to complement the shoe's materials and colors.
It's more Giddy Spinster's descriptive dialogue (and feminist undertones) that makes us want to scoop up one of every variety:
"I removed the top of the shoe, sanded it, drilled holes for drainage, and then planted it with a pale pastel succulent with round leaves that are faintly pink and lavender (pachyphytum oviferum). The shoe's silvery shimmer, originally intended to shine at night on a dance floor, now brilliantly reflects the sun. The succulent plant will need bright light and just a little water from time to time. In return, it'll repay you with a stark reminder of how hard it is to... well, to be a woman."
We stumbled upon the collection by way of Broadsheet. (Thanks, Salon!) While it's certainly not the most functional of terrariums (you're not fitting a turtle in that one!), we kind of love that someone has taken the symbol of something so artificial, commercial, and well, dirty, and turned it into something entirely different. Something... pretty and useful.
Despite containing literal dirt, it's probably the least dirty use this shoe has ever had.
Planters start at $55, stiletto bookends at $150 per pair.
Speaking of stripper heels, check out teen star Taylor Momsen's tip-slot stilettos.
The 58-year-old front woman of The Pretenders is teaming up with bandmate/sometime lover JP Jones, 33, to launch an environmentally friendly, rock-and-roll clothing collection that including T-shirts, skinny jeans, leather jackets, handbags, and cowboy boots -- inspired by country-singer pal Emmylou Harris -- in leather alternatives.
PETA activist and vegan Hynde told WWD she loves fashion and clothes, handbags and shoes, and that "everybody will be able to find everything they love in a non-leather version." The newspaper also reported that designers Todd Oldham and John Bartlett have already consulted on the line.
But Hynde better be careful and do her homework to avoid the same headaches and lawsuits that fellow musician Madonna is currently facing with her Material Girl clothing collection for Macy's.
As previously reported, Dov Charney's too-cool empire was facing financial difficulties and sought assistance. British financial firm Lion Capital stepped in, loaning Charney $80 million in March 2009.
According to the Daily Mail, American Apparel is in even worse shape, with debt rising to $91 million earlier this year.
Last week, Charney released a statement saying the company was still assessing the depth of its financial woes but was not sure it had "sufficient liquidity" to sustain the business for 12 more months.
This comes on top of less financially devastating but equally troubling issues for the company, which has admitted to using models for their ads (despite previously saying they were employees), was accused of hiring employees based on their looks, and made headlines for reports that current staff were forced to sign a $1 million confidentiality agreement.
If Lion Capital (which likely does not hold board meetings in their underwear) chooses to bail American Apparel out once again, Charney will lose his majority stake in the company, and we have to think that the brand will take a different direction to stay in business.
What do you think? Will American Apparel soon be gone or will the provocative label just get a new look?
In related news, read about bankrupt "Real Housewife" Teresa Giudice's $60,000 shopping spree.