A social network that aims to connect up and coming designers with consumers will officially launch today (August 31).
LOOKK, formerly known as Garmz.com, was the winner of last year’s European micro seed fund, Seedcamp, a funding and mentoring programme run by angel investors and venture capitalists.
It has since attracted seed funding from luxury goods investor Carmen Busquets, an earlier supporter of Net-A-Porter, Eden Ventures and Dave McClure, founder of seed fund 500 Startups.
The site works by inviting designers, who will be vetted beforehand, to upload their work – from single pieces to entire collections. By gathering support from the LOOKK community and their own social networks, the designer can increase their exposure and, in turn, will have the opportunity to be identified by an expert fashion panel who, using data to estimate market demand, will ultimately choose which items are put into production.
LOOKK will then handle the manufacturing, distribution and disbursement of the pieces. Designers will receive 5% of the retail price in return. LOOKK founder and chief operating officer Andreas Klinger said, over the long-term, it will also look to buy from designers that are able to produce their own collections.
Klinger added: “Until now fashion has been a slow adopter of technology. LOOKK aims to change this by connecting new designers with consumers online and harnessing the power of social networks to give both groups a voice.
“Social media has completely changed how new fashion gets discovered. New trends and names now surface more often and quicker than retail and production cycles can adapt to. This leaves an untapped potential of new designers with proven demand but no ‘first steps’ to market – LOOKK provides a solution for this.”
Commenting on her decision to invest, Busquets said: “LOOKK felt to me like the natural evolution for technology in fashion – something I wanted to explore following Net-a-Porter. Its power is in its ability to help designers start and, crucially, sustain their fashion career – not only paying them a commission on their designs, but also covering production costs and helping them to market themselves.
“The detailed market data available through LOOKK means we can predict demand for pieces much more efficiently than with a traditional model. This, coupled with shorter production cycles, means we can produce smaller, demand-driven, batches - significantly reducing waste, and therefore costs.”
Klinger, a social software developer, created the site with co-founders Tamas Locher and Gilbert Wedam, who both have backgrounds in retail finance.