Whitney Port is asking her fans for cash to produce the first fan-funded catwalk show.
It appears the reality-star-turned-designer can’t afford to fund the New York Fashion Week catwalk show for her label Whitney Eve in September, so she is using a crowd funding site to make a plea for donations.
The hefty £32,092 ($50,000) fee will cover hiring the catwalk space, paying a production company, models, a DJ and stylist.
In a statement on the fundraising page Port says she has chosen this method so she can share her art in a way that educates and involves her supporters.
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“Having come off a successful show at New York Fashion Week last season, the time has come to show again but in a way that has never been done before. I want to provide my fans with a behind-the-scenes experience on how a runway show of this caliber is designed, developed, and executed,” she explained.
Fans can contribute to the Whitney Eve label with donations ranging between one dollar and $450 and in an exchange Port is offering ‘perks’.
For example a minimal $1 donation you get a special thank you from Port on her Facebook page and for $30 fans will receive a Whitney Eve gift card and personal tweet from the designer.
Higher up on the scale,$250 will give you behind-the-scenes access to the fashion designer’s NYC headquarters to witness the preparations for the show that include model fittings and rehearsals. The highest donation of $450 will get you a coveted front row seat to the fashion show in September.
Whitney Eve made its New York Fashion Week debut in February at Lincoln Centre’s venue Studio, in a mid-size space that rents for £19,255 ($30,000).
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To cover this expense, most young designers request a bank loan, or borrow money from family and friends, while some seek sponsorship from a major beauty or fashion brand.
Presumably not being hard up herself, Port has already received criticism online for her idea. Jezebel pointed out that the she seems an unlikely candidate for charity.
Port shot to fame in MTV’s reality show The Hills and went on to feature in her own spin-off The City. She endorses John Frieda hair products, previously had a book deal and is now a judge on Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model.
Jezebel wrote: “Port is essentially seeking a $50,000 investment for her small business. Only she’s calling it a donation, as if her fashion line were a charity.”
“Why isn’t she seeking funding from individuals and institutions that understand the risks inherent in this type of investment and who are savvy enough to negotiate for an ownership stake?”
The campaign will only receive the donated funds if at least £32,092 ($50,000) is raised by Mon Sep 10 at 11.59pm, there are 39 days to go and so far she has raised £1,688 ($2,631).
Would you donate to a designer whose ethos you believe in, or do you find the whole idea in bad taste?