Though the tech world has been preoccupied with wearables as of late, the original wearables – AKA clothing – are obviously not going anywhere.
In that vein, a new fashion e-commerce platform called VIDA launched today, and it’s trying to change the way artists, designers and manufacturers connect with their shoppers. It’ll start by selling scarves and tops in more than 75 designs on shopvida.com, but looks to expand to other items in time.
The company also recently completed a $1.3 million seed funding round, and is backed by the likes of Google Ventures, Universal Music Group and The Valley Fund among others.
VIDA gets the designs for its clothing and accessories from partners artists of all disciplines across the world, and wants to help them make a living wage through their work.
After choosing its designers, the company allows its customers to influence product rollout by crowdsourcing votes and opinions on future designs. It’s able to do that thanks to work on making its manufacturing process more efficient.
Normally, clothing items are mass-produced through extensive procedures based on a few designs. This leaves little choice for the consumer and can result in supply that could easily overshoot or underestimate demand. It also makes it harder for artists to make money because there are so many middle-men involved.
VIDA instead uses a direct-to-fabric printing process to give artists quick control over manufacturing, as well as letting production scale easily to demand. In fact, it only produces items after they’ve been sold.
But VIDA is trying to do more than simply cater to fashion enthusiasts – it’s bringing real-world benefits to the people working on its products. In an interview, CEO Umaimah Mendhro emphasized how this goes beyond monetary compensation; scarf-makers in Karachi, Pakistan, for instance, earn literacy classes for every 15 scarves produced. You’re even able to see how many workers will receive classes based on your purchases.
It’s an interesting take on manufacturing in a digital age, made better by being socially conscious. Though the sales aren’t live yet, it’s worth keeping an eye out if you’re in the market for some new scarves.