The atmosphere at Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics.

Printed Village, a scarf and accessories brand based in New York with an office in Boston, uses crowdsourcing and monthly contests to discover and showcase textile designers, who have a chance at selling their designs at major department and specialty stores as well as on the company’s e-commerce site.

Out of the thousands of entrants for each one-month-long challenge, three finalists are selected and the winner receives $500, and 3 percent royalty on any potential sales. Winners are chosen by a panel of three: Jason Faulkner, the founder of Printed Village; designer Hannah Shields, and Michelle McCormack, the senior vice president of creative for Printed Village.

This panel also decides which Printed Village products will don the winning textile design. Products include scarfs, hats and tote bags, as well as pillows and shoes.

Printed Village said its crowdsourcing and global design community-building model encourages membership from emerging markets, which brings more artisan-type designs into the market. Entrants are from countries that include Argentina, Bulgaria, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines, among others. Other international participants hail from Russia, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. There are over 90 countries represented by the Printed Village design community.

Founder Jason Faulkner, an entrepreneur who conceived the idea while on a school trip to China in 2004, began Printed Village by designing patterns for scarves. In 2016, Marcus Lemonis, noted TV personality and businessman, invested in Printed Village and the brand relaunched to a e-commerce platform from a social media one. Today, Printed Village’s design community features more than 8,000 artists.

Photo courtesy of Printed Village. 

There have been emerging designers from Printed Village who have sold their work at Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s as well as at smaller boutiques. Lou Lou Boutiques, for example, is installing a dedicated Printed Village kiosk in all 28 of its U.S. stores next month. Select designers have gone on to work for Bobbi Brown, Clinique, L’Oréal, Target and Reebok. “We want brands [and designers] to realize that we can be their creative source,” McCormack told WWD.

Design challenges are broad and vary, with themes titled “Black” and “Metallics” as well as “Fuschia & Scarlet.” Other themes include “Japanese Block Printing” and “Gloomy Gardens” as well as “Seaside Stripes” and “Moody Jungle.” The broad themes allow for unrestricted creativity and interpretation.

After the panel selects designs, the platform becomes a digital portfolio for the designers: Printed Village regularly scans the portal’s online portfolios, searching for new designs to license. The company is working on creating log-ins for buyers, so designs can be licensed directly on the spot.

New partnerships are also in the works. Daybreaker, “an early morning dance movement” that arranges prework events worldwide, is set to launch a collaboration with Printed Village to crowdsource its creative and visual assets and help generate pre-event promotion.

Printed Village also partnered with AdoramaPix, a global camera equipment company that taps into Printed Village’s design pool to create patterns for photo book covers as well as to hold design contests. In addition, Printed Village hosts live-streaming talks with leaders in the fashion industry, including Donald Robertson at Yale University and Mara Hoffman at Parsons School of Design.

Kendra Dandy, a Philadelphia-based designer, joined the brand’s design residency as an in-house designer for three months at Printed Village’s Boston office. Working with Printed Village since 2015, Dandy told WWD, “My experience as a featured designer on Printed Village has been an excellent opportunity for me as an artist. I have been able to see my work on great products and had the experience of seeing my designs in a local shop in Philadelphia.” She added, “It is especially wonderful to gain exposure in the retail world and see the real potential for success.”

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