This Spanish Fashion Startup Wants To Disrupt The Sale Cycle

It’s no secret that the fashion industry is in a time of flux. The traditional retail model — which has remained the same for more than seven decades —  is adapting, albeit slowly, to changing consumer demands, with the introduction of the sharing economy and "see now, buy now" fashion — not to mention the fact that online shopping has completely upended the entire game. But with the exception of resort, pre-spring, and pre-fall, most designers are still on a traditional calendar, showcasing only two collections per year during either February or September fashion week. Once pieces are on the market, they typically stay at full price until one or two big sales per year when stores clear out to prepare for the next season. In other words, if you want a discount, you have to wait for it. 
One Spanish startup, however, is looking to change all that. 
Vasquiat, a members-only e-commerce platform, provides shoppers with the opportunity to receive discounts on curated fashion collections before they even make it to the market. Here’s how it works: Rather than waiting to see what’s leftover at the end of the season,  Vasquiat rewards those who think ahead by allowing them to pre-order items from brands, reducing the risk of overproduction on the brand side. By following this model rather than the traditional one, designers can manufacture a more accurate number of pieces, while consumers receive a discounted price. Brands receive more profit using this model because they’re able to receive direct sales even before their collections are released, as well as customer feedback and data.
“If customers anticipate and think ahead, they are rewarded,” co-founder and fashion director Blanca Miró says. “The price we offer is between wholesale and full price.”According to Forbes, the wholesale price is typically about 50% off the retail price. With Vasquiat, the closer you get to the product’s delivery date, the closer the price will move toward the retail price. So, the earlier you order, the cheaper the product will be. 
Miró, a Madrid-based fashion influencer boasting 390k followers on Instagram, founded the company with her longtime friend Rafa Blanc, the company’s CEO. “Rafa approached me and explained the idea to me,” Miró says. “There was already a concept for a disruptive fashion model in place — I just completed the business model.” Miró’s eye for what consumers want, plus her creative sense of style, made her the missing piece in Blanc’s plan. “He needed someone who was innovative and prominent in the fashion world to bring the idea to life.”
Vasquiat sells only the coolest brands on the scene right now, all of which are curated personally by Blanca. “I discover new brands on a daily basis and love this job as there are so many amazing designers that deserve to be given a platform for their beautiful work,” she says. “Some of the things we look for are global positioning, authenticity, and personality. My aim is to surprise our customers.” 
Currently making it to Vasquiat’s list of brands are French footwear brand Adieu, New York-based basics brand Kule, Valentine Witmeur Lab, Wald Berlin, Leret Leret, Heimat Atlantica, Shrimps, Baum Und Pferdgarten, and more. “I travel, read magazines, scour Instagram, observe people and ask them what they’re wearing — when I see something special, something very Vasquiat, I know that I have to include the brand or the item,” says Miró. 
On top of being mutually beneficial for brands and consumers alike, the Vasquiat model is also more sustainable for the planet. “Reversing the shopping cycle reduces the risk of overstocking and allows production to be much more accurate,” Miró explains. “It means less waste and more of a sustainable way to consume. It’s critical that brands sell on demand as much as possible.” 
Fashion has long since had a waste problem, something that’s only just recently started being addressed. In September of 2018, Burberry announced that it would finally stop burning $36 million worth of overstock per year. It’s been reported that H&M, Nike, and Louis Vuitton were also guilty of destroying leftover merchandise at the end of the season. According to Vogue Business, the pivotal issue with overproduction is brands’ uncertainty over whether or not they’ll produce enough. Many brands fear that if they underproduce, they’ll end up losing both sales and customers. 
Photo Courtesy of Vasquiat.
Vasquiat New York City pop-up shop.
Vasquiat offers a solution to that issue, allowing brands to better predict the number of items they need to produce in order to meet demand. “We try to estimate as accurately as possible how much production they need to do, which, in turn, saves them costs,” Miró says. Despite its newness (Vasquiat celebrated its one-year anniversary in November), brands were quick to catch on. “At first we didn’t know if brands would understand this new concept, but since we launched, we have had a ton of brands approach us.” In addition to the reverse shopping model, Miró explains that designers and brands are attracted to Vasquiat because of its carefully curated selection of brands. 
Customers are catching on too. And after successful stints in both New York and Barcelona, Rafa Blanc and Blanca Miró are determined to make Vasquiat’s model the norm rather than the exception. One look at the platform’s selection of discounted merchandise and we’re betting that you’ll agree with them. 
Below, explore some of our favourites from this season’s selection on Vasquiat.

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