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October 24, 2008 2:23 PM

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Fashionable networks

Fashion brands may have been slow to discover e-commerce, but they aren't dragging their Louboutins when it comes to social networking....

Fashion brands may have been slow to discover e-commerce, but they aren't dragging their Louboutins when it comes to social networking. Not only do many advertise or have their own pages or widgets on social networks, some are creating their own communities, such as Wet Seal, Juicy Couture and St. John.

Thanks to these experiments and some new independent sites, such as Chictopia and Closet Couture, we are just beginning to glimpse some of the more commercial possibilities for fashion social networks. It's part of a much bigger trend called social media, and the implications are profound. The Internet makes it possible for the many to speak to the many. It's like traditional publishing, but it's two way, and anyone can do it. To my way of thinking, it's the most natural thing in the world.

Everyone has the ability to publish, create, converse, collaborate and connect with others in far-flung places. What we once thought of as personal, such as our favorite music or the party we went to last night, is now public.

That includes our closets. I for one am excited about getting photos of my clothes up on Closet Couture and seeing what others have in theirs (the good and the bad). Apparently many young women fantasize about starring in their own fashion magazine photo spreads, because they're snapping pictures of themselves in creative ensembles and posting them online. So far, at least, the quality is rising to the top, and many looks can be seen that mix vintage, fast fashion, contemporary and the occasional designer label, from Margiela to YSL.
The result is as stimulating as standing on any street corner in New York, Tokyo or Paris. The only difference is that it's a lot more crowded, and the crowd is young, female and from all over the globe.
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