Online fashion marketplace Bellaga launched Thursday, a site that connects shoppers to independent fashion designers with Bellaga-based boutiques. While sites like Etsy give anyone with a crochet hook or a silkscreen the opportun

ity to make a little cash on the side for indulging in their hobby, Bellaga is for serious seamsters only.

For designers and shoppers alike, the site is 100% percent free for the time being, says co-founder and systems lead George Shammas. The Brooklyn-based site will eventually adopt a sales commission business model. The shopping cart is powered by the Amazon Payments system, so Bellaga is US-based only for now. Sellers only need an Amazon Payments Business account, and when an item sells, a seven percent transaction fee is charged [updated: since Bellaga is not yet charging, only the Amazon minimum of three percent is currently charged per sale].

For now Bellaga wants more styles and more members. With only about 45 pieces and seven designers at last count, they have yet to reach one-stop-shopping status, but the perks for indie labels are enticing - featured designers get top billing on the homepage, and each brand gets their own shop analytics - and according to Shammas, that's "[s]omething no other marketplace on the Internet gives you."

The focus of the site is to create dialogue between seller and buyer, as the Bellaga launch blog post explains. "The direct connection between buyer and seller on this platform creates a level of communication that accentuates the style, exposure, precise comprehension and attention to details that may otherwise be lost in an online environment." Bellaga's success will be due to its focus on the individuals that will make up its community - creating an ideal interface for fashion-lovers, giving powerful tools to the creatives, and encourage conversation between these groups. "The boutique approach allows sellers and buyers alike to have a place to deliver and discover unique fashion and style that may otherwise go through a lengthy process to reach consumers directly."