As far as symbols of ’80s excess go, it’s hard to beat Cindy Crawford and MCM (Mode Creation Munich), the Euro leather goods brand, whose flashy logoed caramel-colored bags gave even Gucci and Louis Vuitton a run for their money. The MCM ads were equally flashy, featuring Crawford perched on a pile of suitcases or posing wearing nothing except a giant MCM logo. (If that weren’t enough, they were signed “I want my MCM” and “The beginning of a beautiful friendship.”) And while you might think that such naked consumption went the way of the world economy, you would think wrong. Not only has the brand been on a store opening spree with 15 new Saks Fifth Avenue boutiques and a Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive boutique scheduled for later this year, but it has signed on as a sponsor for New York fashion week. MCM is even recreating its Cindy Crawford campaign, this time around with the model Coco Rocha. Under the circumstances, the images are a bit more modest — Rocha’s mane is tamed down, and she’s wearing a bustier dress — but the message is not lost.
The forthcoming website Fashion Stake is the brainchild of Harvard Business School student Vivian Weng. She previously worked in finance, helping fashion companies secure funding. "Fashion’s dirty little secret is that no one really has a lot of money — even people who are well-known and household names,” she told WWD. “One designer’s first round of financing took 18 months to complete." With her new site, launching this fall, she aims to give young labels a shot at funding from the masses. Anyone can invest just $50 in a label they like.
By buying a $50 stake in a company, “supporters” will be given credits to put toward clothing purchases, as well as special offers like exclusive previews, showroom visits and fashion show invitations. Interestingly, case studies have indicated shoppers value having personal experiences with designers more than getting discounts, Weng said. Supporters will also vote for the styles they would like to see produced.
Well, anyone who has witnessed the gloating faces of front-row fashion-show guests knows personal experiences with designers are more important to fashion folk than discounts no one can actually see them use. Fashion Stake plans to start with no more than five designers, including Project Runway alum Althea Harper. All labels on the site must have produced previous collections and have an established fan base. Established designers Weng declined to name will also produce capsule collections for the site.
The interesting thing about sites like Fashion Stake is what the concept could mean for fashion consultants. Many labels spend plenty of money to have editors or other advisers come in and tell them what they think women want. With a site like Fashion Stake, labels can go directly to the shopping masses with vested interest in the label and find out. And to think, established print fashion editors are still trying to wrap their brains around bloggers.
Vogue Latin America April 2010
Photographer: Jacques Dequeker
Model: Isabeli Fontana
Break out your 3-D glasses to enjoy this one.