Mon January 31st 2011 at 4.54 PM

GARMZ: A FASHION DESIGN REVOLUTION?

Posted by Bethan Holt

I can safely say that I had never encountered Garmz.com before the Fash Ed pointed me in the direction of this relatively new website, which claims to be revolutionising the fashion design industry. That’s a pretty big claim, so I thought I would have a nosey around to see what was going on.

The homepage, which explains the Garmz process.
At first glance, it does seem like a pretty nifty idea, and one that will appeal to an army of shoppers sick to the back teeth of the same fashion items, in the same chain stores, across the globe.
Garmz offers anyone (no qualifications, work experience, internships etc necessary) with a smidge of design talent to submit their designs to the public website. Then registered users can chew over these designs, vote for the best, and voila! Garmz produces the most popular garments and sells them via the online store: giving the designer unprecedented profit and exposure in a massively competitive industry. Shoppers get to buy something slightly more unique and special, and can sleep soundly in the knowledge that they are helping a fledgling designer on their way to global domination.
I continued my research with a look over the products that have already made it through the judging process and into the online shop. There is a very limited range, with only three items for sale, a few for pre-order, and a few that have just been selected as winning designs. All are elegant and interesting, with clean lines and nice details (a turned up cuff there, a faux-fur collar there) but none are completely groundbreaking. Put it this way, Gaga won’t be shopping at Garmz.

 This badly named yet pretty jacket is the most expensive item on the site. It’s faux fur, and inspired by a hunting jacket (which is clearer in the original design, below)

The price range ranges between 49 and 279 Euros, which immediately turns me off, because there is an awful lot of polyester listed in the product fabrication. However, there are happy customer reviews under each garment, so there is obviously a loyal Garmz following already (nearly 3000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook, that universal resource for true customer feedback.)

The press have been raving about the site, especially in Europe and the US – even Perez Hilton got involved. I’m sure it’s about to get a whole lot bigger here too, but I am genuinely concerned about who is actually going to be profiting from this ‘fashion revolution’. As highlighted by Miggy of Miggy Loves The Internet, read the small print and it states that designers will receive 5-10% of the profits if their design is successfully sold. In monetary terms, that means if a garment sells 100 times at £100 a pop, the designer will get £500, whereas Garmz pockets £9500. Something about that doesn’t sit quite right, in my humble opinion. Maybe Garmz isn’t sticking it to the ‘big fat fashion industry’, as it claims, and instead, is just another great business idea designed to capitalise on fresh, inexpensive talent.What do you think? Has anyone shopped at Garmz.com? If so, what was the experience like, and how do you feel about the company’s mission?

All images: Garmz

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