Fashion contests and full service manufacturing

First comes word of a fashion design competition sponsored by Art For Progress in NY. They are having their first annual Clash of the Artists Arts Competition showcasing the talents of artists in various categories including the visual arts, film making, music and fashion design. The submission deadline is January 7th with a $20 application fee. Online voting commences January 15th.

The second competition is hosted by Citizen Fashion in Los Angeles. Because this contest is sponsored by a for profit business, I’ll first describe the contest sponsor and then the contest.

For our purposes, the easiest way to describe Citizen Fashion is that it is owned by a small full service contract shop, Tom and Helen Lo own both businesses. Their contract shop will manufacture with 100 piece minimums per style. They have an interesting start up package called the “launch program”. I’d link to it directly but the site design (of Citizen Fashion) doesn’t permit it so look under the “other services” tab. They will take ten of your styles, make patterns, run through up to two rounds of pattern adjustments and then produce three duplicates of each style. The cost is $6,500. You may be as skeptical as I was after reading that price which is why I called Tom. It sounds like an incredible deal but I have every reason to believe the offer represents genuine value. Amazing, no? And it’s all done here in the US. Tom and I chatted at some length. We agree there is a big hole in the B2B market to service domestic DEs. Also, Tom says their shop handles casual to better sportswear rather than couture or tailored apparel but I think the one price package is quite advantageous for people who’ve been going from shop to shop to get things done. Anyway, onto the contest.

Citizen Fashion has teamed up with ISM Quarterly and Mobius Lounge (a menswear line) to produce the Red Carpet Couture contest. From the Mobius Lounge website:

This year’s theme is “Red Carpet Couture,” and the top 10 finalists will present before a judging panel. The winner will receive $500 and have their line of clothing designed and made. To find out more, please contact us. If you are a designer/manufacturer interested in showing your line at the show, we’d love to provide a showcase for your line. Again, in a nutshell:

  1. Theme: Red Carpet Couture (your interpretation)
  2. Number of Outfits: 1
  3. Deadline for Submission: December 31, 2006
  4. Online Voting: Jan 1 – 7, 2007 (top 10 finalists will present at the event)
  5. Grand Prize: $500 cash + you will design your line from patterns to first samples (8 pieces, $5,000 value)

To enter or find out more, please download the Application and Rules (pdf)

The fashion show and awards ceremony is January 18th. Who knows, I may be there too.

Aside from the event described above, it appears that Citizen Fashion is looking to support new designers in another way. Apparently, one can upload a design (you have to have a sample already made; see the “design gallery” page for instructions) and visitors can vote monthly. At the end of the month, the designer with the most votes if offered a manufacturing deal. Citizen Fashion (actually, C&A Apparel Service) will produce the design, sell it on the website and pay the designer a royalty. Sounds great, right? Well, I’m not so sure how that’ll work out for the contract shop. I know that voting is great in theory but there’s a lot of problems with it. A lot of people say they’ll buy something as a way of offering moral support to a designer but their support wavers significantly if you hand them a purchase order to fill out. Just my experience. I wouldn’t offer a deal like this so I can only respect the bravery of Citizen Fashion to do it. If you were interested, I’d jump on it now before they change their minds.

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  1. J C Sprowls says:

    Wow! I think this shop hit the nail on the head! This is a very affordable investment cost. I really hope this company flourishes. I’m a little sad they don’t do tailored goods, though.

    Per usual, this information is timely. Thank you for taking the time to bring this group to us, Kathleen!

  2. Tom Lo says:

    JC, thanks for the best wishes! Our goal is to grow, while at the same time helping DE’s get their dreams up and running. We just enjoy seeing people get excited and pursuing their passions–I mean, we talk through trends, strategy, and all that good stuff. It’s fun! And, we don’t think it should be too expensive to get going in this business. Oh, come visit our site in January to vote! :)

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