June 2, 2012

MUUSE – Long Tail business model applied to fashion

How does less become more? How does one reach target users? Technology has given us more independence and we have, as users, gained more and more power of choice. MUUSE is one of the first impulses of the near future of the global market's image subjected to customized needs, wishes and dreams of individuals.

This relatively new market model has been developing since the 1990s, along with the internet. Chris Anderson, the well known editor of the American magazine Wired has noted it and in 2004 published an article on „Long Tail“ retail trade strategy stressing that the development of technology, primarily the internet, opens new areas for alternative business models regarding digital products, like music and movies. At that moment he chose models like Amazon and Netflix as messengers of new paradigms. In 2006 the article turned into a New York Times bestseller – The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.

David Dencker.

But this new paradigm was extended in 2011 by David Dencker, a young Danish manager, who applied it during the innovation model for the development of new products (“The Long Tail Innovation Model”), and afterwards when founding MUUSE. For fans of original fashion, Muuse is a real bait, besides originality it offers top quality material, sewing by hand and a limited number of the same blouse, dress, trousers and vests, which makes the possibility to be seen in the same outfit as somebody else almost impossible.

Dress Day&Night by Laura Baruël (The Danish Design School). Photo source: MUUSE.

MUUSE is an innovative fashion company that, similarly as Velvet Brigade, tests, develops and produces concepts of new products, but not with the help of traditional focus groups – but via direct interaction with users on its online platforms. Both project have introduced radical innovation into the traditional fashion industry, directly securing buyers for its limited mini series of products, lowering the financial risk of the primary investment. The problem of excessively produced and unsold clothes, the fashion industry is often accused of destroying, is being solved.

MUUSE – a revolution in the fashion industry

What is, or who is MUUSE? MUUSE is a company for people who love fashion design and brings together a new generation of young fashion designers from top fashion design schools – Central St. Martins, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen, Istituto Marangoni, Polimoda, Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale, Parsons, FIT, Esmod, etc. According to one of the founders of Musse, Gitte Jonsdatter

“After graduating 90% of fashion designers in the world cannot pursue their professional career and abandons this profession because of the huge competition and the lack of business capacities (primarily budgets) for an individual career.”

But today, the internet and social networks offer the possibility of direct communication with target users. Muuse has offered talented, young designers a platform for presenting and selling their clothes to a premium fashion society.

From collection Dote by LindaVasel (The Danish Design School). Photo source: Muuse.

How does „pre-order“ sale function?

Muuse went a stop further than Velvet Brigade, focusing on a quality selection of young talents from top fashion design schools. A strict selection is done even among them by designers themselves who are known to be the hardest critics of their work. If you satisfy these conditions, the concept of your future garment will be tested online among users who decide which concept will go into production. After this test phase, only one piece is locally sewn (in Copenhagen), photographed and put for auction online for a future limited series – 20-100 models.

Leggings by Jessica Castellano (Rhode Island School of Design).

Democratization of the industry

David Dencker has shared with us some reactions of the public regarding Muuse and the fashion industry:

„We are creating a positive difference in the fashion industry which has, obviously, fallen behind in creating a good environment for quality, creativity and a greater possibility of choice. Surprising is the discrepancy between the reaction among people in the fashion industry – older generations from educational institutions are sceptical and ask themselves are young designers allowed to skip traineeship at big brands. The younger fashion community, on the other hand, as well as the one at social networks, has immediately recognized this model and joined it. Mission Muuse has turned young designers into entrepreneurs and changed the way fashion is created and sold.“


Title image: Dress from the collection Dote by Linda Vasel (The Danish Design School).

Tatjana Bartakovic

Tatjana Bartakovic

Editor in Chief of Design Agenda. Works as Design curator and writer but mostly living from the work in public relations, branding and content marketing.

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