The sites have a similar m.o.- designer hopefuls can submit designs and the public can vote on which pieces will move from sketches to production. Then they hope you’ll put your dollars where your votes are and buy the finished pieces. Between the two Garmz is much easier to navigate and appears to have a lot more submitting and voting going on. However Fabricly is based in the U.S. and Garmz is based in Austria, so shipping costs will vary substantially.
Neither company looks like a great business model for a designer hoping to make a living from their craft since only a small fraction of revenue actually makes it back to them. But if there’s no other way to get a piece into production and for sale to the public it might be the best option available, at least in the beginning. For that reason I plan on checking back to to see if any interesting designs pop up.
What about those looking to buy the latest looks from new design talent? If a lot of designers start submitting sketches (a la Threadless), it could get good. For now, though, the offerings seem a little too expensive and a little too unremarkable to motivate a purchase. For either site to succeed I think they’ll need a way to organize the designs by aesthetic and talent. Right now it feels a little like searching through a T.J. Maxx and it’s easy to get turned off after seeing a few really amateur sketches or bridesmaid dress look-alikes.