In my opinion, no business has benefited from the advancements in technology like fashion. Social media and e-commerce have created a platform for established and especially budding designers to make the public aware of their products in creative and effective ways. For example, post a photo on Instagram of a dress and it will not only get over a thousands likes within seconds yet it will be followed by comments on details such as the fabric used, the color of the dress and/ or the cut. This not only generates amazing buzz for the designers as well as numbers in sales , yet its draws attention to an interesting concept, including the customer in the design processs. This idea enabled Louis Monoyudis to develop one of the most genius e-commerce businesses on the market, where you as the customer not only get a chance to see the designers work first hand yet you are welcome to select fabrics, colors and the style so that each article of clothing is CutOnYourBias.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have been a menswear designer for the past decade in New York City working for Calvin Klein, John Varvatos and Tommy Hilfiger. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing someone wear something that you designed, and I wanted to bring that excitement and opportunity to others.
2. How did you develop such an innovate concept for online shopping?
The concept was born of equal parts necessity and opportunity. I had decided to take the plunge and launch my own collection of menswear, so I started by gathering together a decade’s worth of fabric swatches, color palettes, inspiration tears from magazines and notebook sketches onto my living room floor. Immediately I was overwhelmed by the choices, so I called over some friends, had some wine, and we whittled through the ideas. That is when I had my “aha” moment and thought how great it would be if customers could be part of the design process. From there Cut On Your Bias was born. For better or worse, my own collection has since taken the backseat.
3. You have many talented designers and artists whose work you feature (and eventually sell) how do you go about finding them?
The design community is pretty small, so I am lucky to have some amazing friends with their own labels such as Carlos Campos, Hyden Yoo, Antonio Azzuolo and others. We are a start-up, so we launched with a public Beta with these labels where my relationships were strong. From there, friends started referring friends, and we are continuing to grow every day.
4. Why allow the customers the opportunity to choose which items should be sold on the site?
Oh goodness, why not! The process of fashion design and the supply chain around it results in so much waste: samples that never go into production, yardage of fabric that is ordered and never used, trims that are discarded. So much of this could be streamlined if customers were involved pre-production. And for the brands, it means heightened engagement, loyalty and purchase. So it is an all around win.
5. How does Cut For You Bias differentiate from other online retailers who are using the “crowdsourcing” concept ?
The idea behind crowdsourcing with sites such as Lookk and Muuse is that anyone can submit design ideas and if they receive enough votes, they move forward into production. We are curating the designers with whom we partner, and the designers provide the options of fabric, color and silhouette that the customer is able to vote on.
6. What has been the reaction within the fashion community to your brand and style of online shopping?
We are turning the fashion cycle on its head and introducing a new feedback mechanism, resulting in a totally disruptive technology. Thus, there are some who love it and some who are skeptical. But overall the response has been incredibly positive and enthusiastic.
7. What’s next for the company?
Lots of exciting developments are in the works, so stay tuned! In the meantime, don’t forget to cast your votes and express your bias.