Discovery Monday: Of a Kind

What do you get if you take two friends (an editor of shopping magazine Lucky and an arts management grad) a killer idea and investment?

Answer: A new kind of retail site with designs on ‘disrupting’ the fashion industry, according to Forbes magazine.

So what’s so different? The Of a Kind website only sells limited-edition fashion items by fledgling designers that completely appeal to our favorite kind of style- understated cool with a little quirkiness.

Co-founders Erica Cerulo + Claire Mazur

What is so neat about the website is that when it says limited edition- the clothes really are very limited and come in editions of between 5 and 50. Forbes notes that Of a Kind combines the frantic ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ nature of an online sample sale mixed with a local friendly arty business.

The website apparently gets emails from customers asking for just one more edition to be made available…erm no, that’s why the items are especially special!

Editor and co-founder Mazur, told Forbes: “It’s kind of like seeing a band before a coffee shop before they play Madison Sq Garden or discovering that restaurant before it gets really hot. You feel like these designers are your friends, even if you’ve never met them. … It gives you a feeling of ownership.”

The co-founders pick a designer to champion every week and sell items created specifically for their site and there are items to suit different budgets from $50 necklaces to a $325 tunic…but there are only 10 in existence!

Striking Orion Tunic by Ann Yee (only 10 of a kind) $325

The site seems to tap into a current trend of buying special pieces that outlast seasonal trends and where possible support smaller businesses coming out of recession – which is not the time to flash some major label bling (even IT bags are looking more conservative). While the $325 shirt price tag might be comparable to a ‘designer’ price tag, the item tells a story and nurtures young talent, as well as supporting a fledgling online business- much more rewarding?

What we particularly love (as does Forbes) is that the website includes in-depth stories about the designers, their work processes and inspiration (as well as their personal life occasionally) which we think makes for an extra connection with the piece of clothing or jewellery on sale.

Co-founder Cerulo told Forbes: “We felt that with emerging designers, whose stories you don’t know, we really need to say: this is who they are, this is where they come from, this is what inspires them. We need to get you to that point where you’re not just buying a piece but investing in a person and investing in their career.”

There is also a growing trend amongst retailers to engage with customers through story telling with behind-the-scenes videos, manufacturing processes of garments and personal blogs…and this even applies to super retailers like Louis Vuitton.

Mazur reportedly said: “We really are seeing that people are getting tired of fast fashion and mass consumption and not knowing where things came from. There’s this turn toward wanting to start collecting and not just consuming and wanting to understand not just where your food is coming from but where your clothes are coming from, too.”

P.S. Thanks to Bob Schukai @iammobilebob for sharing Of a Kind with us. If you’ve found the perfect brand/website/star you’d like us to feature for Discovery Monday leave us a comment x

P.P.S. Pics from Forbes article and Of a Kind website.

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