As crowdsourcing continues to gain force, consumers aren’t just having their say about specific designs – whereas in the past, participants were content just to be part of the process, now more companies are compensating them monetarily, with prizes, discounts or other recognition.
By definition, crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call, according to Wired contributing editor Jeff Howe, who coined the term. The trend is huge in Holland, and it is also popular in San Francisco, New York and Chicago.
Yet crowdsourcing is largely underused in the apparel industry, even though many brands and designers are still struggling to figure out exactly what shoppers will buy.
“I keep thinking it would emerge in fashion, but it really hasn’t —especially given the success of Threadless,” Howe said.