London Fashion Week comes to an end on Monday and despite the glamour, the fashionista’s and the controversy, there is rumblings within the fashion industry that the never ending cycle of New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week is being seen by labels as an increasingly outdated concept when it comes to the business end of fashion.
Traditionally the shows are where the fashion buyers from all over the world first get to see the designs. The major problem with Fashion Weeks are there are so many shows to go to that you can’t possible go to all of them. Events run late, the traffic is terrible and five minutes after the show all the designs are online anyway. It’s just not a productive way to do business.
In New York earlier this year many fashion brands tried to shake things up. Monse decided to completely cancel their runway show and instead made a video on Coney Island and put it directly on their website. Meanwhile Louis Vuitton (with the help of Vogue) created a sneaker pop-up shop instead of their normal catwalk show.
Doing things differently Online
In a highly competitive marketplace, emerging brands especially have found a more level playing field by harnessing social media and the internet in order to stand out of the pack away from the major Fashion Shows.
However after 5 years in fashion college making the jump from designer to label can be challenging and expensive. How do you find a trusted manufacturer that can deliver your clothes to the right quality at the right time and price. When a business is new and money is tight, you don’t get 2 chances to fail. The Fashion industry is notorious for emptying even the largest of bank accounts very quickly.
Step forward Sewport, a new business having considerable success online solving this problem by connecting fashion creatives in Europe and to help them find clothing manufacturers who can visualise their designs and get them produced to a high quality and at an affordable price.
I spoke to Sewport founder Boriss Hodakels about his business and the future of fashion manufacturing…
How did you come up with the idea for Sewport?
We actually wanted to automate the fashion business production side and eliminate agents and all those inbetweeners as we say the industry is very grey. When we were producing garments for brands directly we saw there are a lot of in-between companies and people making money from brands because they know people or know where to finds things. That’s not right now since everything is online people should have a choice.
If someone has a great fashion idea, how can Sewport help them get it made?
That’s what we are actually for. It all started with an idea.
The brand or person will need to fill out a short question guided form on our website for us to find out what exactly they need and what stage they are at and we can use this data to match them with the right companies, or they can do this themselves by using our filters and tools.
They will be able to find anything from specialists helping them finalise on the idea to large clothing factories able to produce these ideas in bulk.
How does it differ to something like Alibaba? What do you see as Sewports USP?
We are really like Google for sourcing clothing manufacturers. We do not compete with AliBaba because it is much more granular and custom what we do and what people can do on Sewport. There is a difference between off the shelf, on demand and custom. With Sewport its all about people making custom products from scratch. And not specifically in Asia as we have most clothing manufacturers from EUROPE.
What are the main problems when trying to launch a fashion brand?
Patience and going to the extent of actually preparing a Tech Pack or at least ordering one. People neglect this and end up with mismanaged expectations of how their product turned out. Nobody, can guess what you are thinking, it has to be visualised well.
How do you make money from Sewport?
We provide a secure payment solution for which we take a progressive yet very minor commissions and only on successful business transactions. Sign up and use is absolutely free. So unless you get business done you don’t pay anything.
Are there any steps taken to ensure the manufacturers on Sewport are reliable and reputable?
We perform our own due diligence and collect documents like registration certificates, ID, bank statements etc.
It’s still early days, but does Sewport have any success stories from brands and manufacturers coming together via the service.
We do not know of such cases yet as people unusually use the platform using aliases or anonymous and don’t tend to share useful resources as they don’t want competition. So not yet.
As the internet continues to change the way we do things in everyday life, so it seems the Fashion World is changing too. It’s unlikely the Fashion weeks will disappear completely from our diary’s any time soon, mainly because everyone loves the parties and er, yes, everyone loves the parties, but from a business perspective there is a definite shift beginning in the way brands are using technology to increase revenues.
Similarly Seaport’s online hub is facilitating the creation of new fashion ideas and helping them to become a reality.
Are you a fashion creative looking for a reliable and cost effective way to manufacture your designs? For more info on Sewport visit www.sewport.com