Fashion marketing is undergoing a quiet revolution at the moment. Traditionally new fashion designers have had to compete with the major corporate labels through magazine advertising, direct mail, events promotions and if the budget is there, television ad campaigns. The Internet has for a long time been a useful tool for introducing sales leads to your clothing range, but until recently, budget dictated your site’s popularity on the net.
Things are rapidly changing, and it is almost all due to the Social Networking phenomenon. You will have no doubt heard of Facebook and MySpace, however over the past couple of years there has been a distinct increase in social community sites that have geared themselves towards the consumer lifestyle market, and in particularly fashion. Many of these online communities run on a democratic principle. Ideally, if enough people vote or bookmark a particular product, say a t-shirt for example, the product and designer’s popularity increases. Within a relatively short time. Using tools such as bookmark sharing and recommendations, a relatively unknown designer can attract an enormous amount of positive publicity.
I have researched and collated a list of the most popular and useful fashion social networks for you to browse at your own leisure. You will find there is a wide variety and scope offered by these fashion-related communities. The larger and more established sites are great for breaking new products in to the fashion consumer market, others will provide invaluable assistance from fellow designers, retailers and manufacturers. Most of whom I am sure will be more than willing to guide you through the next stages of your burgeoning fashion career.
Fashionising.com is dedicated to fashion, this social fashion community offering a news, photo and video service for upcoming and established designers, labels, models and more. Very friendly and welcoming community, mainly professionals in all fields of fashion.
Stylehive.com is an online style portal for people who love and/or work in fashion, design and retail. You can connect with fellow style addicts and share all of your new design discoveries and latest finds together. A trend-setters social-networking club, part pop-culture lab, Stylehive.com is one big ensemble cast of trend-setters creating, discovering and buying the next big thing!
Kaboodle.com is a social shopping network where people discover, recommend and share products. Kaboodle’s excellent range of shopping widgets mean you can begin organizing all your favorite items in shared lists, discovering new things from people with similar style. Easy to find the best prices and discounts on the most popular products. This site offers fashion products amongst many others including gadgets, soft furnishings, art and more.
ThisNext.com focuses its online and social-shopping community more towards the next big trends. Your popular votes count, everyone recommends their favorite up and coming products for others to discover and purchase online. This global community is in the pursuit of cross-cultural shopping habits for the year to come. This site is laden with more branded advertising and e-commerce solutions making it a more attractive media platform for corporate marketing. The system encompasses each product in a process of discovery, consideration, trial and purchase. Fashion is a big favorite here.
StyleFeeder.com is a personal shopping engine that uses a unique matchmaking system to offer daily personal recommendations, just for you. It’s a great way to find new clothes, shoes, in fact anything stylish and keep track of what you’re shopping for online, using visual their bookmark options. Great widgets for incorporating your style-feeds in to your personal blogs or commercial sites. I regularly use this site to promote my own fashion — a great resource for designers.
ShareYourLook.com is a new fashion community for all trends-setters, shoppers and designers, (currently in beta). If you read articles New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, you will probably recognize the co-founder’s name – fashion have appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, fashion journalist Melissa Ceria. The format is easy to use and on the eye: upload photos of you modeling your favorite outfits, and let other members rate your look and leave you comments. Don’t worry, there is a policy of fair and objective criticism, even compliments and most of all useful style tips. The whole site relies on a great blog style tagging process, plus a great feature where you’ll be able to post favourite ‘looks’ to your network of fashion friends. You even get your own styleblog.
OsoYou.com is the UK’s first social networking and fashion website. Focusing more on High Street fashion and all the latest clothing items, plus features on the hottest celebrity styles and a chance to share fashion with your friends via some innovative social networking options.
Avenue7.com should be classed as up and coming. From my research it seems to be aimed at a younger audience. They already use some rather clever programming to help you create your own perfect outfit and also offer fashion scouts. However there are some even more promising features in the pipeline including ‘The Fashion Show’ and ‘Start a Makeover’. This is more of a hot or not direction for the field of fashion social networking, but it’s bright, bold and adventurous and I’ll take a punt it will do well in the future.
StyleMob.com is rather funky looking (though corporate owned) street style community StyleMob offering a service that is part Hot or Not, part fashion magazine and part MySpace.
TeamSugar.com is one of the latest contributions to the market. Backed by the Sugar Network, this series of blogs primarily targets fashion-conscious women. The most popular is PopSugar.com, where celebrity gossip and fashion come together in a hedonistic mix. TeamSugar.com pro-actively promote their content, encouraging their community to form around it. Blog syndication integrates the network — PopSugar.com, DearSugar.com, TeamSugar.com and FabSugar.com, encouraging users to switch sites to see the latest news on each one. Ultra intelligent marketing – helping to boost the popularity of the whole network at the same time. Standard social networking features friends list, leave comments, send messages, write a blog and voting in polls.
This supplemental list offers links to more general/shopping social networks that feature some fashion content, and a few to keep an eye out for in the future:
TheFind.com is the leading shopping search engine to find stores, brands and products, bigger than any other product finder online.
ShopWiki.com is a shopping search engine designed to help consumers find specific products on the Internet with ease. It is the only shopping search engine that combines advanced Web-crawling technology with a consumer-written wiki.
Etsy.com is an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade and only handmade.
Fastmatch.com Very new and more social model, however the site is currently still in beta and the interface needs some serious work.