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Don't call it a flash sale. Fab.com, the crazily popular design-focused timed-sale site, launched their new weekly fashion-focused boutique late last night, and they want you to know this isn't an ordinary fashion flash sale destination. Fab co-founder Bradford Shellhammer tells us:
We will not be selling, for example, last season's Tory Burch inventory. That's not Fab. In many ways, we're doing for fashion what we did for home and product design—we're making it more accessible to everyone. We're reinventing the way people discover fashion and at the same time creating a marketplace for indie designers. It's the democratization of fashion and it's a very a big deal.
No pressure or anything. Fashion is one of the five new curated "weekly shops" Fab is introducing (kids, pets, food, and vintage are the others). Each week, a group of handpicked designers, discovered at flea markets, trade shows, and through word of mouth, are presented in the fashion shop, which goes live at around 7:00 Tuesday nights and stays live on the site until the following Tuesday.
Naturally, most of these designers will be people you've never heard of, which is the polar opposite of the splashy brand-name dropping most ecommerce sites rely on. But that seems to be the point. Fab has always been about unique design—"design that makes you smile" is their tagline—and by offering major discounts up to 70% off, they hope to get customers to test out unfamiliar products and designers. It helps that Fab's recent acquisition of indie designer collective Fashion Stake puts them in a great position to offer the best of the off-the-beaten-path design world.
"We see a huge opportunity in entering the independent fashion world. There are tens of thousands of emerging designers out there, in Brooklyn, LA, Seattle, Rome, etc., who are creating fun, colorful, inspiring designs but do not have the resources or the opportunity to sell their designs to a larger audience. The fashion items we're featuring in our new Weekly Shop will have stories behind them and will be designed to make you smile," says Shellhammer.
Take for example two of the companies the Fashion Shop launched with yesterday: Necklush, a line of hand-stripped and printed scarfs created by two friends in Brooklyn, and Inca Boots, a line of boots inspired by the founder's backpacking trip through South America and produced by Peruvian craftspeople. Both have interesting, intimate origin stories, a unique look, and presumably top-notch craftsmanship (Fab says quality is as high a priority as anything else when they determine who they work with). It's intriguing. If customers trust Fab to suggest great products, it could really work.
One potential downside from the customer end is sorting through everything else on Fab.com to get to the fashion. Right now, there are big, splashy images of wall clocks, striped socks, tea pots, and vibrators on the Fab homepage, leaving the Fashion Shop a little lost in the upper left-hand corner. You could easily miss it if you don't know where to look. Also, while the design focus comes across, the site doesn't immediately identify as an apparel destination. It feels, in a way, like a sleek, digital version of the chicest flea market you've ever seen. And since Fab's going after the customer that doesn't mind doing a little hunting to find what they're looking for, that may not be a bad thing.
· Fab.com Acquires FashionStake, Dives into Indie Fashion [Racked]
· Fab.com [Official site]