Launching a startup in today’s erratic fashion industry is a daunting task. Creative directors are trapped in an ongoing game of musical chairs, the future of fashion week is in flux, and technology is shaping the market on a daily basis. However, those risks didn’t hinder Amanda Curtis and Gemma Sole from launching an e-commerce site that connects conscious consumers to emerging fashion designers. Their site, Nineteenth Amendment, supports designers through an eco-friendly, scalable production and presale strategy.
Every week, consumers can shop a number of presales for products at a discounted price; each presale lasts for 19 days. This allows the designers to gain exposure, mentorship and a marketplace, while consumers receive the opportunity to purchase new, ethical fashion products on a consistent basis, at a reasonable price. “Fashion is a very complicated industry,” said Nineteenth Amendment adviser and creative director of Marie Claire, Nina Garcia. “They are offering an invaluable resource to designers.” Nineteenth Amendment exemplifies a shift toward ethical operations, alternative business models and responsible innovation.
The apparel site provides emerging designers the opportunity to build an ethical brand from the grassroots up—typically an expensive and complicated endeavor. “We offer designers one of the most sustainable business models as only garments that are purchased are produced. We also partner with other organizations to give designers access to resources like sustainable material libraries, legal guidance and best practices for growing their brands,” said Curtis. In addition to these benefits, participating designers aren’t obligated to adhere to the fashion calendar’s demanding pace. Designers have the freedom to launch up to 10 collections per year on a schedule that is right for them. The flexibility to choose the time and quantity of collections launched conveys Nineteenth Amendment’s true dedication to both the development of the designers and support of sustainable fashion.
Simon Collins, another one of the site’s advisers, affirmed, “Emerging designers can find customers in a marketplace that they otherwise wouldn’t be in. They have their work produced without costly marketing plans, difficult retail relationships or large production orders. Overall it’s a great deal for designers.” Nineteenth Amendment transcends beyond a stereotypical e-commerce site’s role by providing mentorship to the designers, from textile sourcing and production to pricing and press.
In the eyes of the consumer, Nineteenth Amendment is a place to discover unique designers and shop high-quality, eco-friendly apparel. Many modern-day consumers shop at fast-fashion stores that sell seemingly identical, mass-produced pieces. But despite the success of fast-fashion retailers, there is an apparent shift toward “slow fashion,” which has prompted demand for distinct, covetable merchandise. Nineteenth Amendment’s rotating presales keep consumers consistently engaged with new, fresh designers and products. The buyers also benefit from the discounted presale prices. And if shoppers miss out on the presale, products are still available for purchase at retail price for the following year. Nineteenth Amendment also strives to educate consumers about the clothing through their icon tags; they provide more detail about the sustainability, wearability and usability of the garment. Overall, Nineteenth Amendment’s consumer engagement strategy creates a more exciting and unique experience for fashion-conscious consumers.
Both Curtis and Sole have high hopes to expand Nineteenth Amendment’s influence this upcoming Fall 2016. “In September, we will open our platform to thousands of fashion brands around the world, at all levels of business growth and expand our retail and media partnerships,” Curtis asserted. Nineteenth Amendment is one step toward a more ethical, diverse and united fashion community.