What was the inspiration behind Catwalk Genius?
I studied Psychology and have always been interested in consumer behaviour. When our team decided to set up a business, we researched a variety of interactive tech ideas across different sectors. We settled on Catwalk Genius because fashion seemed to have the most opportunity; standard retail online is still pretty passive and we thought we could make it more exciting.
It's still pretty rare to be able to buy direct from design labels and converse with them, but our unique feature is our Back a Designer scheme. If you love a brand, you can buy a share in their next collection. Once a target number of shares have sold, they produce the clothing and everyone takes an equal share in the revenues. Supporters can also get perks in return for their help - so everyone benefits.
How do you select your designers?
We work with Sarah Bunter, an amazing Creative Consultant who puts us in touch with strong UK design brands. She looks for strong design, wearable clothes and very high quality production. At the same time designers come to us directly by submitting product adverts every day. Then, we're still looking for high quality products as well as good quality imagery and appropriate pricing.
Can you talk about the “back a designer” scheme?
As I mentioned, it's about investing in a fashion collection in return for the opportunity for profits and perks. We're about to introduce a flexible funding target, which the designer will choose. You can switch or withdraw shares at any point up until the designer reaches their target and we're also adding a community where you can exchange messages with your favourite designers and other supporters. We've got a really exciting designer collaboration lined up to launch these extra features, so check back in mid-April to see what's going on.
What are your favorite pieces for Spring/Summer?
I've got a lot of weddings to go to this year, so Deibe Rondon's grown-up glamour has definitely caught my eye. Minna always produces the most lovely feminine pieces. All of her work is responsibly produced and she was named as one of the highlights of London Fashion Week's Esthetica exhibition last month. Shorts are still working over tights and I love the check on these, just in from pitchouguina.