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Across the web, you can tap the wisdom of the crowd to figure out what to read, watch, eat and do. But Los Angeles-based StyleSaint is using the crowd to not just help you decide – but actually design – what you might wear.
The startup, which calls itself a “collaborative fashion brand,” launched last year with $1.5 million from Andreesen Horowitz, General Catalyst Partners, Crosscut Ventures and others. On Wednesday, it said it had raised a $4.3 million Series A round from General Catalyst Partners and e. Ventures.
On its site, fashion enthusiasts can create digital collections of their favorite designs and trends, as well as subscribe to an online “magazine” of content curated by co-founder and fashion industry veteran Allison Beal. By using data reflecting the styles that the community is sharing, liking and saving, StyleSaint generates original collections of designer-quality clothing that it says are not only cheaper than retail-store equivalents but produced in a third of the time.
“We just launched our first collection and were able to do it by bypassing any middle-men and gatekeepers,” said Beal.
The clothing, which is available only through the company’s website, sells for as little as a quarter of the price similar items might fetch online, she added. And it was all designed in-house and produced locally in the L.A. area.
The startup, however, isn’t the only one to turn to the crowd for inspiration or produce its own merchandise. Fashion e-commerce startup Modcloth has released crowd-sourced collections of clothing (even though its primary business isn’t crowd-sourced designs) and subscription fashion company JustFab designs and manufactures its own products (but it relies on stylists not users for designs).
Brian Garrett, the company’s co-founder, who is also a venture capitalist at Crosscut Ventures, said the company has spent the last year building its community of 125,000 “style saints” and establishing an inclusive brand through its community and content. With its latest round of funding, he said, they plan to develop its e-commerce component by scaling up its tech team and adding features and functionality to the site.
We’ll be highlighting experience design and the intersection of design and e-commerce at our our RoadMap conference in November in San Francisco.