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Derek Lam has signed with eBay to create an exclusive ready-to-wear collection that will be unveiled during New York Fashion Week in February.
This story first appeared in the October 28, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The deal with the giant online auction and shopping Web site will be crowdsourced and will give Lam the opportunity to reach a wider group of consumers. After the February runway event, shoppers will be invited to vote on their favorite looks on eBay and determine the final assortment that will be available for purchase in the spring.
Crowdsourcing could have the potential to transform the fashion industry by allowing the customer to become the buyer, designer, retailer or investor. Dozens of companies, from Keds to Nike to ModCloth, have experimented with it. The Lam-eBay collaboration is the first to bring crowdsourcing to the designer level.
“Having a direct and immediate dialogue with the online audience is what makes fashion exciting and relevant in this moment,” Lam said. “EBay’s technology offers me a unique and innovative opportunity to reach new and existing customers directly, and to create fashion they desire.”
EBay said the price points will be “accessible,” but added that details were not yet available.
During the last year, eBay has been building its fashion appeal by creating an online outlet mall for the U.S., enhanced visual search technology for clothes, shoes and accessories, better visuals and trend commentary from stylists, along with exclusive capsule collections from Norma Kamali and Narciso Rodriguez.
“The convergence of fashion and technology is essential to the future of the industry,” said Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann, chief executive officer of Derek Lam International LLC. “EBay provides a new, innovative channel, which will enable us to deliver fashion, in season, directly off the runway.”
The designer, who has boutiques in Manhattan on Madison Avenue and on Crosby Street in SoHo, has said he might venture into China before opening another store in the U.S.