Patrick Robinson’s Post-Gap Comeback Begins

Virginia Smith and Patrick Robinson. Photo: Kristen Somody Whalen/KSW 2012

After getting fired from the Gap in May 2011, Patrick Robinson did what most people wish they could do when they're fed up with work: He got the hell out of Dodge and relaxed for a while, backpacking through Yellowstone and ogling wildlife, according to today's Times. Now he's finally getting back in the game with a new line of sportswear called Paskho, an ancient Greek word for "passion." He describes the label as "Cool, sexy, urban clothes designed for pursuing your passions."

But the most interesting part about this new venture is that Robinson, who's also married to Vogue's Virginia Smith, doesn't have any big financial backers. Instead, he's using Kickstarter, a website that allows entrepreneurs to raise funds from whoever feels like pitching in (there's a $1 minimum per contributor). He's offering incentives, of course — for $2,000, you can work out and have dinner with him, for example. And it's working: His Kickstarter page has only been live for one day, and he's already raised $11,085 of the $50,000 he needs by April 12 if he wants to stay on schedule for his first shipment, planned for July. He currently has 45 backers. As I typed that last sentence, a 46th backer added $50.

Robinson's Kickstarter page also shows photos of his nineteen designs — slouchy cotton shirts, cargo shorts, soft henleys, and khaki pants — and solicits feedback, which is another part of why he likes this business model. “I wanted to have a direct connection with the customer,” Robinson told the Times. “I am only going to show the prototypes, which will only get made if people pre-order them.” And by cutting out the middleman retail model, he says he can keep his prices competitive and stay in better touch with consumers' needs. Your move, Gap.