If you are looking for fashion advice, there’s an app for that. Indeed, the digital revolution was clearly a shift that the fashion industry readily embraced. The industry is interactive, emotional and driven by passionate users; being “viral” is part of its DNA.
Be it fashion blogs, curated lists, sale offers or shopping advisors, you have an incredible number of websites offering their services for something that is more important to many of us then we want to admit, men included. But in all this abundance it is clear that fashion lends itself to curation tools. Websites are popping up all over to try to help make sense of it all with services such as Lyst that will help you follow your favorite designers and styles.
“We’ve created a communication channel for designers, boutiques and publishers to share products they designed, bought or discovered directly with their fans — this channel exists primarily to drive sales,” said Chris Morton, the CEO of Lyst.
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Finding what you love is a great pleasure that you can experience when you go to the store to finally get the scarf you have been dreaming about. Trying to reproduce that same experience online makes sense. But there is also this great feeling of the casual “impulse purchase” you were not planning. This is the beauty and danger of fashion discovery that takes you by surprise. The new French fashion website, Where To Get It’s mission is clearly defined in their name but they also want to invite you to explore another aspect of fashion, inspiration.
As Nicolas Metzke, the company’s CEO explains, “We want to be the place for inspiration as well as the place to find your favorite pieces.” Indeed, when you arrive on Where To Get It’s site, you find the most recent and popular “quests” with a simple and very instinctive question: “Where to get this jacket?” or “Where to get this dress” accompanied by a picture of Blair Waldorf (a trend setting character from the hit TV show Gossip Girl) or a photo from a magazine.
“We wanted to be the Quora of fashionatas, to create a well informed and passionate community who give good shopping tips, taking into account that not only fashion bloggers want to find great pieces or nice looks that they see in a magazine or on TV,” he says.
The team tested the first version for three months until the end of April 2011, supported by a community of bloggers ready to give tips and answers to the requests. They leveraged a community their team had built with their first website hypeed, which is clearly more designed for a professional audience or very passionate amateurs.
Where To Get It was a shift to open the services to a larger audience and answer a question that many of us without reading any fashion news ask ourselves: “That jacket Charlize Theron is wearing would look great on me, but where can I buy something like that?”
Nicolas Metzke says that for the moment the questions do not mainly focus on shows and celebrities but it could be a direction they embrace down the road. “Many websites are already taking the direction of curated lists. We will soon have a version where you will find even more personalization: your personal quests, the ability to follow users you think have good shopping tips.”
That’s the biggest temptation with fashion: trying to do everything. Trying to be your favorite fashion magazine, your ideal closet with a personalized shopping list and more. But Where to Get It is keeping it simple. The site is a place to explore your favorite looks from your favorite TV shows while dreaming in front of very well curated pictures of celebrities carrying that bag you would love to be able to afford.
As Metzke says, “Vogue France, who advises us, explains very well that the celebrity looks are what people love to watch the most and it’s a great medium for retailers as well. We have to see if we go even more in this direction while working on the interface and different process of gamification like badges and special offers when you actually give good shopping tips”.
Fashion is a very cultural thing but celebrities have the power to globalize certain trends, an idea Metzke has built his business on. The French touch gives this startup a certain cultural legitimacy. The small team based in Paris is comprised of four people. There, Metzke co-founded the startup with their talented young designer and CTO, who comes from the music industry, Romain Moyne, and Gilles Babinet who sits on the board, a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Musiwave and Hypeed and was recently nominated as the first President of the French National Digital Council (Conseil national du numérique – CNN), which was created to advise the French government on digital issues. To keep up on the latest trends Where to Get It rely on a well known fashion blogger Marion Slanelle.
Contrary to the music industry, both sides of the table seem to agree that the digital move is a great opportunity as retailers are already talking with the Where To Get It Team and the consumers are already very active. 50% of quests are treated in less than 3 hours, 85% of them find an answer with an average of 3 shopping tips featuring more than 800 shops. “60% of our growing community comes to the website without a specific idea. We want to encourage discovery even more.” The interface has to reflect this bet with an invitation to travel from a wonderful picture to another one like a “Foodspotting for style.”
“Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions” said Coco Chanel. No doubt Where To Get It will continue to explore and find its own very quickly based on a promising start.