Inspiration

When thinking out pitches, we had two main pieces of criteria we wanted to meet. We wanted to create not only a cool hack, but also a great business model as well. When thinking of the things lacking in today's society, some of the biggest issues we found was the lack of opportunity for up and coming artists, and the lack of self expression in today's clothing choices. It seems as though our world is ruled by fast fashion and clothing conglomerates. Seeing this issue, we wanted to create a solution that allows people to not only have a platform to create and view new clothing from independent designers, but to have a say in what gets produced. Knowing this, Fashion Connect was born.

What it does

Fashion Connect combines a sleek, cool website, with an innovative idea to help forward the fashion industry. It provides the opportunity for designers to create something original, and for interested buyers to have a say in what they want to buy. Every month, Fashion Connect will take submissions for a contest that allows designers to submit their work and a small description to the website. Throughout the month, the community will have a chance to vote on the product that they like best. In the end, the product with the most votes will become an actual produced product on the site available for purchase. This is great because the designer will make money off of their hard work, and the site can take a commission on each sale generating revenue.

How we built it

The website was built using the Laravel 5.3 Php framework. The website relies mainly on two tables, one which contains all of the posts, and one which holds all of the users. These tables work in tandem to provide the information required for each page. For example, a post will display data from the posts table as well as the user who created it and their image from the users table. To streamline the database interaction, we used Eloquent which is included in the Laravel framework. This allowed for shorter, more concise, efficient, and reliable back-end code. The front end was built using HTML, CSS and Javascript, along with the Bootstrap 4 beta framework.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into some issues with slowness in web hosting. We also had issues with our database because we used an outdated one. Additionally, we had trouble communicating reliably with our database when creating users and posts. Re-organizing our tables and simplifying our back-end helped to provide the needed reliability and speed. Lastly, coming up with an original, concrete idea was pretty hard because (not surprisingly), a lot of stuff has been done before! Overall, we are happy we got the idea that we did.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of finally getting the database to work, coming up with a very solid and tangible idea, and overall having a good website look and feel. We wanted our site to look professional and elegant and we believe we achieved that in this project.

What we learned

We learned that small problems can be hard to deal with, because a small problem can become a big problem if it isn't treated properly. We also learned that we actually have to put a lot of thought into our ideas, and the demographic that it is being catered towards. Doing something objectively good but not practical is not the best way to go about making a business. We wanted to make something both great, and realistic! We believe our site is both a sound and practical idea addressing a gap in the fashion community- and we are proud of that.

What's next for Fashion Connect

We believe building out a user base with actual people and actual designers would be a great way to start. Our website is user-based, which means it needs a lot of interaction to work. Hiring a good promotion and marketing team would be a good way to start improving on this respect. To cover our overhead, we would also have to start with a few purchasable products from selected local designers to ensure there is funding throughout the first month. Additionally, fleshing up the back-end of the site would be a next step. There is a lot of opportunity to make Fashion Connect a personalized service that predicts what users would like to see, and make them more interested in buying our products. We can hire more back-end developers for this, and continue to educate ourselves on how to continue to build out the back-end of websites.

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