Inspirare: A win or lose for designers?

The Pattern team is always on the lookout for resources to benefit the Indianapolis fashion community. We were recently directed to a website designed to be a resource for designers – but is it a win or loose for Indy’s local talent?  In the past, Pattern has published articles that focused on the benefits of embracing social media (such as our interviews with West Coast Tacos and Scotty’s Brewhouse). We’ve even chatted with local fashion industry professionals to bring you different perspectives from within the industry. This time, we’re reviewing Inspirare, a resource for designers.

Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, a haven for new ideas, Inspirare is dedicated to supporting the next wave of fashion designers. Inspirare offers 100% production funding to it’s designers and manufactures all of it’s garments in the USA.                         – Inspirare

Inspirare uses a competition-like voting system to get a particular designer’s ideas produced and sold on the Inspirare online store. After spending some time trying to figure out the new site, the process seemed pretty simple for designers who may be looking to move beyond the sketch pad.

The simple breakdown of Inspirare’s process is: Design + Vote + Share + Buy = a commission check based on sales of the garment. In order to view the designers’ portfolios, you must register for the site. Once registered, you can start voting for the different designs that have been submitted to the site. Designers who have higher vote counts get flagged for Inspirare to take notice. In a perfect world, the designs will be produced by Inspirare with no liability or overhead for the designer. Even if the designs don’t get selected for production, it’s still a free way to give your designs or brand greater visibility.

Notes from my initial visit:

  • Inspirare is a unique way for designers who are just getting started to get some feedback on designs
  • Since the site is so new there aren’t many design photos uploaded. The designs that are uploaded range from very amateur sketches (I’m talking scanned-in crayon-design sketches. Yikes!) to the mature designers who are featured on the front page of the site. To be honest, local shows have presented better designs than what was posted on the site. That could be a good or bad thing.
  • If you are someone who likes to read a lot of copy, then the site was created for you.
  • It did take a bit of work to find all the necessary information regarding what exactly the site does, but the site does explain it in extreme detail – so, once you find the info, you understand the process.
  • The site’s store is not open yet, but I feel like that may just be because of the lack of traffic in uploading quality designs. (The site did run a contest in which the winner received a run of 200 of their design).
  • The site has active message boards on a range of topics that may be found useful for some industry professionals. Personally, I found it helpful in trying to figure out Inspirare’s process.

To be honest, the site could have the potential to really help launch the brands of designers. The site is just so new that it’s hard to determine whether it would be a win or lose for local designers. Based upon what I came to understand – without speaking to anyone affiliated with the site (the way I prefer to do it) – the site could use getting some extra attention.

The true test will come once the site begins to actually sell designs on their online store. The business part of a designer’s brain should be telling you to read everything carefully. The site does have a process before a designer is accepted to join as a designer. However, when I saw the picture of a dress drawn in what looked like crayon, I question the application process. If accepted, there is a “Designer Agreement”, which should be read very carefully so that you understand what you’re agreeing too. Remember: always protect your business.

For the most part, Inspirare seems like a resource win for independent designers… if you take the time to invest in getting your network of people to vote for your design. Make sure that you really read and understand the process in order to make the best business decision for your brand. If you decide to participate in Inspirare, let Pattern know on our Facebook, @patternindy, or comment below. We want to hear your perspective!

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2 replies on “Inspirare: A win or lose for designers?”
  1. Avatarsays: Sean

    Dear Jeremiah,

    Thank you for your review of Inspirare. Our team really appreicate your time and effort in checking out Inspirare and value your input very much. We have given a lot of thoughts in making sure that we provide real value to designers.

    The Design Competition is our launch event. After this, our ongoing Designer Program starts. We review the new designs on an on-going basis and continuously select great designs to work with. Designers don’t need to wait for design competition. Every day, we review the newly submitted design for production consideration.

    Thank you for your efforts in uniting consumers and creators.

  2. Avatarsays: Kate

    Thanks for the review Jeremiah! It’s great to read an objective view about the site.

    I just thought I’d clear up a few foggy areas about the site from what I can see in your article just in case your readers scroll down.

    Firstly, Inspirare won’t be running competition after competition. The Launch Inspirare Fashion Design Competition is an introduction to the site. Once the competition is closed we are moving onto our Ongoing Designer Program which will involve choosing a selection of popular designs each month, manufacturing, promoting and selling them on the Inspirare store.

    Because this first initiative is a Competition, we have been quite open with our applications, we wanted all levels of skill types able to participate, it’s a competition so it’s not fair if we skew the results. Once the Competition is closed, we will be assessing designers on a more serious level and really taking into consideration their unique design style, technical expertise, presentation and what they can offer to our site and customers.

    Lastly the online shop is yet to launch because it will ONLY be selling garments designed by our participating designers. So that means the first step was to get our designers submitting designs. The 1st prize for the Competition is the winning design will launch the Inspirare Shop and benefit from our heavy store launch advertising push. Once the Competition closes, we will begin production of the winning design and other popular, selected work.

    It’s great to hear what aspects of the site are not clear to an outsider, so thanks for your article. We’re really happy with your write up!

    If you or any of your readers have questions about the site, they can email:


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