084 – Amanda Curtis and Gemma Sole of Nineteenth Amendment – Democratizing Fashion

Changing an industry…

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Gemma Sole (left) and Amanda Curtis (right) with the FIYB hosts. Image by Charles Beckwith

Amanda Curtis (CEO and Co Founder) and Gemma Sole (COO and CO Founder) of Nineteenth Amendment, a fashion platform selling exclusive fashion apparel from independent designers, join Pavan Bahl (Open Source Fashion), Rob Sanchez (Ralph and Remington [Episode 22]), Marc Raco (The Hope Is Project) for FIYBLIVE, recorded on location at Bene Rialto in New York City.

After a review of their backgrounds including meeting at Startup Institute, the Industry News segment explores their recent announcement about partnering with Macy’s to make Fashion Week shoppable, how they quickly ramped up the initiative while keeping total secrecy, and how this has been all part of their long term plan. Launching new designer collections weekly, promoting “Stories Over Seasons”, the consumer experience people will, creating an omni-channel, digital, immersive experience, the plan to replicate the experience globally, and putting more power into the hands of designers and enabling them to maximize PR opportunities. Working primarily as a technology platform, jockeying into the front of the trend of change in fashion shows, seeing changes in fashion companies to compete logistically, the push for democratization of fashion, meeting demands of consumers constantly wanting new things, coaching designers to think of business strategies for fashion shows and not just a vanity play, and ROI targets. Curtis and Sole talk on the focus of getting customers into stores and engaging them, and how Macy’s has changed their own conversation and positioned ahead of the trend and making sure they are current. Plus, A round of Feed the Animals sees gluten free buddies and Baked by Melissa’s new gluten free, tiny and appropriate snacks for Fashion Week.

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FIYB LIVE at Bene Rialto. Image by Charles Beckwith

Democratizing fashion with emerging designers, how the consumer votes with wallets, what’s different about Nineteenth Amendment and its cash efficiency play, having to repeatedly prove the model as different stages because it is different, dealing with disconnect, whether Nineteenth Amendment has broken even, and how consumers are picking up on this. The big signal given by one of largest retailers in world saying they believe in what Curtis and Sole are doing. How as part of a larger entity designers enjoy leveraged pricing, managing designer quality, why designer can grow as they need to with their own system on the platform and how Nineteenth Amendment gets manufacturers to actually use the system, “Quickbooks for Manufacturing”, how they have worked hard vetting technology or improvement, and a comprehensive data dashboard.

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Curtis and Sole pose with the FIYB hosts. Image by Charles Beckwith

Solving problems in the supply chain, issues with sourcing textiles, addressing patterning issues, sourcing rules for designers, how recruiting designers has evolved in time with company, earning trust with designers in a distrusting industry, Nineteenth Amendment’s rigorous vetting process for good partnerships, the importance of having designers having competence vs. talent and concept, and how Nineteenth Amendment is very close to all designer work so that they can be sure of quality. The business relationship between designer and Nineteenth Amendment is explained, how any live collection on the site can bring exposure to millions of views, why it’s a testing platform, the need for exclusivity in manufacturing rights, and the objective to make Macy’s an epicenter for new designers. Plus, seasonless fashion vs. trend reports, and why a “handler” can be a red flag.

And Off the Grid Questions explore aging, great advice, The Department of Defense, achieving a Macy’s window, famous husbands, prom shopping. And an extraordinary revelation by Amanda, who finally believes again.

Nineteenth Amendment’s New York Fashion Week Event: bit.ly.NAxNYFW

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