As a designer for Calvin Klein, John Varvatos, and Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Monoyudis spent the last decade grappling with the whims of shoppers. “Fashion is so timely, but it’s hard to predict what the consumer wants,” laments the Harvard and Parsons graduate. It was what led to his light-bulb moment: Why not have customers pick which designs get put into production? He’s done just that with Cut On Your Bias, an e-commerce-meets-crowd sourcing site that launched yesterday.
Every week, members get to pick their favorite pieces from a rotating designer roster. From cut to color, it’s up to the masses to decide which sketch will become a reality. Once the votes are tallied and a style is declared the winner, it will go into limited production, with just 15 to 20 pieces being put up for sale a few weeks after. “It’s an exclusive product that you’re helping to make,” explains Monoyudis. While you don’t have to purchase the winning design to vote—and you don’t need to vote to purchase—those who do both will be rewarded with a 25-percent off discount and a few goodies from the designer. Up first is Carlos Campos, with Antonio Azzuolo, Hyden Yoo, Rogue, and Bhon slated to follow. It’s not just fashion that gets a virtual collaboration; homewares will make it onto the site as well, with both Artware Editions and Moss on board.
“It’s a bit polarizing,” admits Monoyudis of the idea, but believes that Cut On Your Bias is a win-win for both designer and shopper. As he points out, “So much ends up on the design room floor—a lot of the more interesting styles don’t get purchased by buyers.” Besides creating a market for edgier designs, the website allows shoppers to feel that same connection that’s often forged in dressing rooms and on check-out lines but is absent with e-commerce.
“Shopping is social, but online shopping is asocial,” Monoyudis says. And then, of course, there are the bragging rights: “You never get to say, ‘I designed that!’” Until now, that is.