Here's an interesting new business model from American Giant
I like the idea of cutting out the middlemen, doing the work locally, and paying factory workers a decent wage. I love the idea of designing clothes from an engineering perspective and making them to last.
Unfortunately the online-only model is a dealbreaker for me when it comes to clothes and most other products. If they had a storefront, I could watch for one and try on the clothes. But most things, I won't buy unless I can touch them, unless it's an exact duplicate of something I've already handled. That's because few products meet even my minimum standards of performance ("Will it get the job done? Is it non-hazardous?"). The only things somewhat less subject to that barrier are things I can test equally well online, such as text or images, which is why crowdfunding works well for me.
I'm concerned about the trend of commerce shifting to cyberspace, because for me, that usually puts things out of my range. I don't like the way society is becoming less participatory. Take bookstores -- I've seen the industry go from a zillion small individual stores plus a few chains, to the era of chain stores and the marvelous megastores, to the fucking book desert we have now where the nearest bookstore is an hour away from me with a shitty little magazine section, almost no music, a shrinking collection of books, and a massive ereader booth right in front of the door. To me this doesn't say "Come in and fall in love with some books!" It says "Buy our gadget and go home and read ebooks." Fuck it. If I'm going to read on a screen, I'll support bite-sized crowdfunding. If I'm going to pay for a paper book, I want to hold it in my hands first, and I'd like to have a nice place to browse the shelves.