Leave it to an entrepreneur to take the boredom and financial risk out of designing fashion.
For any designers interested in expressing themselves through fashion, Seat 14A is a startup that takes the pain and financial risk out of turning your vision into a physical reality.
Seat 14A is really quite simple: designers send Seat 14A their designs, and Seat 14A does the grunt work. It takes care of materials, manufacturing, distributions, and logistics. Seat 14A then creates and distributes a micro-collection for the designer, a collection of two to four menswear items, according to the demand it receives from consumers on their website. Designers still collect a royalty from Seat 14A.
Cofounder Jas Banwait likens Seat 14A to Quirky for fashion designers.
On the consumer side, Seat 14A currently specializes in menswear. Similar to Everlane, Seat 14A is able to charge customers lower prices because they completely cut out the middlemen. It offers free international shipping to lower the barrier to purchase, and also offers a free collection to a lucky user who happens to share the website through their social media networks. You can view their previous collections here.
Seat 14A is currently in its infancy, but is competing at the pace of fast fashion retailers like Zara and H&M. Its micro-collections refresh once the previous one is sold out (usually every two weeks), and Seat 14A draws from a diverse range of designers, which means it will not be limited to a specific look anytime soon.
Previously, the company actually experimented with various business models, including a curated model where one designer stylist put together international city-inspired looks; however, Subtle Disruption found it didn’t scale properly.
The future holds interesting opportunities for Seat 14A. For one thing, Banwait says that Seat 14A will be exploring opportunities to work together with fashion retailers in order to enable consumers to purchase and view collections at a location near them. This holds remarkable potential, as the tactile factor is extremely important for certain clients. Similarly, this is a primary reason why services like Go Try it On are so popular: clothes simply look different when they’re worn than when they’re in a .jpeg.
Seat 14A is a creation of Subtle Disruption, a crew of entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers that build interesting companies.
As the Canadian startup proves, startups are certainly not the only place the lean model can be applied towards. Any designer looking to test her ability with fashion can use Seat 14A as a testing ground and a launchpad for new ideas. Seat 14A is an exciting venture into unexplored territory within the realm of fashion. Who knows, it just might be coming to a store near you.
While many online fashion retailers primarily focus on marketing to end users (i.e. by giving them the power to vote on certain products, or select certain merchandisers), it’s interesting to watch a startup focus primarily on designers and removing their pain.