Does Derek Lam Not Know That Crowdsourcing Leads To Ugly Things?

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Above, from left: Steve Madden Figgy, $169.95, available at Zappos; Nine West Streetwalk, $129, available at Nine West.
It was big news yesterday afternoon that NYC Derek Lam is teaming up with eBay to create a crowdsourced fashion collection—meaning, he'll releases images of his original designs that he'll show during a NYFW presentation in February and allow people to vote for their favorites on eBay.com. The designs with the most e-love will then be produced and sold exclusively on eBay. Democratically chosen fashion sounds like a great idea, and in theory, there really doesn't seem to be anything wrong with making sure that you actually have a market for the goods you produce... but based on past attempts at crowdsourcing fashion, people seem to really like incredibly fugly designs. Steve Madden ran a shoe design contest on Zappos, and the python+suede+bow thing was the concoction that won. Likewise, Ninewest keeps track of which designs receive the most Facebook buzz... and it's the fairly horrifying "Streetwalk" heel, with a tacked on, studded spat, and a Junior High prom toe-shape. Will Derek Lam's designs go the same route? We'll keep our fingers crossed that he'll bypass the fugsourcing until February.
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