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September 27 2013

Ashton Kutcher-Backed Startup Fashism Shuts Down

Fashism, a website and mobile app that lets users solicit community feedback on style, announced that it is officially closing down on Friday, making it the latest casualty in a tough year for social media-focused fashion startups.

The New York-based company was founded in 2009 and attracted a community of fashion-interested American teenagers looking for feedback on the outfits they were putting together for school. In late 2010, it raised $1 million in Series A funding from a number of high-profile investors, including actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, Project Runway judge Nina Garcia and Highline Venture Partners Read more...

More about Fashion, Startups, Ecommerce, Fashism, and Business

May 14 2011

Get Real-Time Fashion Advice Before You Go Out [APP]

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Go Try It On

Quick Pitch: Crowdsourced advice on your look, before you go out.

Genius Idea: Go Try It On is a website and iPhone app [iTunes link] that enables users to get real-time feedback on their outfits before they make a purchase or leave their bedrooms.

The site, which launched in March 2010, attracts 80,000 unique visitors per month, 30% of which are from outside the U.S. More than 250,000 have downloaded the iPhone app, about half of which are active users, founder and CEO Marissa Evans claims.

Both the website and app have a sleek, easy-to-use interface. Users can upload photos from their desktops or iPhones, or snap one on the spot with a webcam, and ask the community (or, if they prefer, a private set of friends) to approve a particular look or help them choose the best of three options.

The site’s most active users tend to be young women in their teens and early twenties; 20% of registered users are men, Evans, a graduate of Harvard Business School, says.

If Go Try It On sounds a lot like another startup we’ve covered, you’re not alone. When asked how the startup differed from Fashism, Evans said that Go Try It On was making a greater investment in data and analytics.

Soon, Go Try It On will begin displaying that data in a way that is useful to members. The site will notify a user if she tends to get good feedback when she wears white skinny jeans, for instance, and send her product suggestions to further expand that look — a service that might prove useful both to the user and the startup, should it generate affiliate revenues from the suggestions it serves.

Evans also believes that users are “about 10 times more engaged.” While I wouldn’t place any bets on that number, I will say that the community is certainly very active. Within an hour of uploading a photo on a Friday afternoon, I received 23 votes and 2 comments on my look. The feedback wasn’t particularly insightful, but it did up my confidence about a recent dress purchase.

Go Try It On currently has a full-time staff of five, including the three founders. The startup raised a seed round of funding last fall from Index Ventures.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: fashion, fashism, Go Try it On, startup

For more Startups coverage:

March 31 2011

Get On-the-Go Style Advice With Fashism’s Upgraded iPhone App

Social shopping site Fashism released a stylish, albeit somewhat faulty new version of its iPhone app this week.

The app is designed to help users solicit and give real-time feedback to Fashism’s fashion-conscious community on the go. Many users often snap photos of themselves before heading out to school or work, or while trying on clothes in a dressing room, and upload them to Fashism with their iPhones. Users can browse all looks by recency, as well as follow (and be followed by) specific users.

The New York-based startup has cleaned up the app’s interface and added several new features. The app now takes advantage of the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to help users explore looks captured in nearby stores, creating a portable catalog of sorts. Users can do this by browsing a list of nearby locations, selecting pins on a map, or through an augmented reality feature that, in theory, should let users explore uploaded looks in nearby stores by rotating their phones 360 degrees.

In tests, the augmented reality feature was very glitchy; the app also crashed repeatedly when I tried to follow other users (another new feature). Otherwise, the app was functional and largely user-friendly.

In future app updates, I’d like to see a few things:

  • The integration of the first few comments directly into the newfeed, a la Instagram. At present, users have to click through to view comments.
  • The ability to find out which of my friends are already on Fashism by connecting the app to my Facebook, Twitter and Gmail accounts.
  • The option to tab between updates from everyone, updates only from people I’m following, and updates from nearby users in my newsfeed.
  • The ability to edit the text that accompanies uploads cross-shared to Facebook and Twitter. Currently, all tweets are prefaced with the words “Fashion Emergency,” (see below) which my followers don’t particularly appreciate.
  • The ability to share uploads to Tumblr. Currently, users can only share uploads to Fashism, Facebook and Twitter.
  • The option to share uploads privately with a few friends (something competitor Pose enables seamlessly), rather than the entire Fashism network.

In sum, the update brings a lot of great features to an already strong — and certainly very fun to use — app, but some tweaks are necessary.

More About: fashion, fashism, pose

For more Mobile coverage:

February 17 2011

Indie Designers Tap Into Digital Technology for Fashion Week

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Staging a runway show at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week is a costly privilege available to few designers who are not at the helm of established national or global brands.

Elsewhere in New York, however — in art galleries, restaurants, basements, garages, hotels and studios — young designers are cramming friends, retailers and whatever press they can get to see their own, more budget-friendly presentations. And several of them are incorporating digital technology to expand their audience beyond those in the room, just as larger brands have partnered with Livestream and YouTube to stream their shows live online.

We learned about two particularly creative uses this season. Earlier this week, we wrote about how young design label Timo Weiland hosted an after-party with mobile startup Fashism to engage a digital audience with the collection. Party guests were invited to try on clothes, some of which had debuted only hours earlier, and upload photos of themselves wearing those pieces straight to Fashism and, by proxy, Twitter, for real-time feedback.

Perhaps more inventively, designer and former Project Runway contestant Althea Harper partnered with live-streaming platform Watchitoo to engage with fans during her New York Fashion Week show last Friday.

For Harper, it was important not to “just film an event other people are at,” but to stage a show that put the digital audience first.

“I have a great fanbase coming from Project Runway, but a lot of people don’t live in New York,” Harper explained in an interview with Mashable. “I wanted to let them get in on the excitement, and to be able to interact more with them,” she said.

Throughout the event, which was hosted at Gallery Nine in Soho, Harper took questions via Twitter and Watchitoo’s chat widget, and in turn interviewed members of her team. Physical attendees became the actual lookers-on during those interviews, watching Harper answer questions behind a tangle of camera equipment, although they had a much better view of the 12 models displaying the collection.

Check out the live stream above to see Harper take questions during the show, and browse the gallery below for some behind-the-scenes shots.

Guests wait for the start of the show.

Attendees examine makeup used in the show.

The event's host, a personal friend of Harper's, addresses the online audience ahead of the show.

The live stream host speaks with the Watchitoo team.

Designer Althea Harper with models.

Designer Althea Harper with models.

Designer Althea Harper with models.

Designer Althea Harper with models.

Several images courtesy of Watchitoo

More About: althea harper, fashion, fashion week, fashism, new york fashion week, nyfw, twitter, watchitoo

For more Social Media coverage:

February 15 2011

Fashism Goes to Fashion Week [PICS]

Design label Timo Weiland and Fashism, a mobile startup that recently raised $1 million from a round of prominent investors, including Ashton Kutcher, co-hosted a tech-infused party at the Soho Trump Hotel in New York City Sunday evening.

Attendees were able to try on and photograph themselves wearing pieces from both the Spring and Fall 2011 collections, the latter of which had been presented on stage at Lincoln Center just hours earlier. Photos were posted directly to Fashism, and Fashism users were able to view and share their opinions about the looks on fashism.com and through the Fashism iPhone application [iTunes link].

It was one of several initiatives the startup hosted over Fashion Week to spread awareness among the fashion industry elite. Last week, Fashism co-founders Brooke Mooreland and Ashley Gramata gave a demo of the upcoming version of their app to dozens of rapt fashion bloggers (and thousands of others online) at the Lucky Fashion and Beauty Blogger Conference. THe duo also ran a startup workshop at the Bloglovin’ Evolving Influence Conference.

It was also a great opportunity for Timo Weiland, an up-and-coming label that is only just beginning to attract broader mainstream attention.

Designers Alan Eckstein and Timo Weiland.

Images courtesy of Fashism

More About: fashion week, fashism, iphone app, new york fashion week, nyfw, timo weiland

For more Startups coverage:

January 10 2011

4 Online Platforms for Personalized Style Advice

Fashion crimes are among the most preventable, especially given the array of magazines, blogs and sales clerks that dole out advice on a (usually) free basis. Even a quick poll of friends can prevent you from making bold choices that are less fit for a runway than a What Not To Wear casting nomination.

A number of online and mobile resources have launched in the past two years that make soliciting advice for fashion decisions even easier. Unlike reading a blog or a magazine, the advice that you get from these communities relates directly to the outfit or item that you’ve posted for comment. Whether you’re looking for advice from pros, strangers, or your friends, these four digital communities can give you a sounding board.

1. Glamour Ask a Stylist


Glamour magazine’s free styling iPhone app solicits advice from professional stylists. Just snap a picture and submit it to a professional stylist who responds within minutes. There’s also an option to send two photos to ask for a stylist’s vote. Responses usually focus on positive suggestions like what to wear or add to an outfit rather than criticism.

When the app was released in April there were a handful of stylists that you could choose to send your questions to based on your taste. Now there are only two, but Glamour has added options to share your fashion dilemma through Facebook or to post it for community comment. When I tried it, the stylist, who responded within five minutes, was more reliable than the community, which has yet to make one comment on my post.

2. Fashism


When you just need to know if an outfit looks weird or get an honest second opinion, the community on Fashism’s site and iPhone app can help you. Since people can vote quickly with an “I like it” or an “I hate it” arrow, you get a feel for general opinion even if most people don’t leave comments. There’s also an option to upload two photos and ask which is better.

Comments are generally encouraging and similar to the responses you might get if you asked a friend for advice, but the community does speak up (generally politely) when something doesn’t work. There’s also a good amount of interaction around each post, so you won’t feel like you’re waiting for a response.

3. Go Try It On

The big difference between Fashism and Go Try It On is the ability to ask your friends privately about your look by tweeting out a link. Other than that, the two sites are fairly similar concepts, right down to an option to upload multiple outfits to gauge which works best.

4. Honestly Now

Honestly Now is an invite-only community for any kind of advice (though many posts focus on fashion). An option to restrict certain questions and photos to just your friends on the site gives the platform more privacy options than other sites, and a community of professionals with special profiles on the site give advice with some experience behind it. “Hearting” pros puts your questions in their Twitter-like feed and it makes it more likely that they’ll comment on your questions.

Everyone’s vote on your question is anonymous, and only pros can comment (the final version will include options for friends to send private messages). This creates an environment likely to solicit an honest response to your question that doesn’t sting. It also makes voting quick and a bit addicting — you only see how others voted on a question after you’re looking at the next poll.

Have a fashion quandary? Tried one of the platforms above? Have a recommendation of your own? Let us know in the comments below.

More Fashion Resources from Mashable:

- Why the Fashion Industry Is Betting Big on Branded Online Content
- 7 Stellar Examples of Branded Content from the Fashion Industry
- How the Web Is Changing Fashion Marketing in 2010
- How the Fashion Industry is Embracing Social Media
- How Social Media Has Changed Fashion Week

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, sjlocke

More About: fashion, fashism, glamour, Go Try it On, Honestly Now, List, Lists, mobile apps, shopping, social media

For more Social Media coverage:

November 19 2010

Fashism Raises $1 Million From Ashton Kutcher, Ron Conway & Others

Social shopping site and mobile application Fashism, which we profiled about a year ago, announced Friday that it has raised $1 million in a Series A round of fundraising from actor-couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, Highline Venture Partners, Ron Conway’s SV Angel and two others.

It certainly explains why Fashism’s app appeared on a recent screenshot of Ashton Kutcher’s iPhone, alongside the apps of other startups he has recently invested in, such as Flipboard and Hipmunk.

Launched during New York Fashion Week in September, Fashism enables users to upload photos, and solicit style advice and feedback from the site’s community via Fashism’s web site and iPhone application [iTunes link]. “Does this work?” and “Too much?” are frequent questions posted to the site.

What’s novel about the financing is not the number — especially when many other startups have raised three or six times that in a Series A round — but who invested in the company; Nina Garcia is not a name you typically see on a list of startup investors.

Until now, the New York-based startup had been entirely self-funded. Fashism plans to use the funds to scale its web and mobile applications. The site has about 40,000 registered users and gets roughly 1 million page views per month. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley and designer Steven Alan will serve as advisers to the company.

[via The New York Times]

More About: ashton kutcher, demi moore, fashion, fashism, highline venture partners, nina garcia, ron conway, series a, sv angel

For more Startups coverage:

December 17 2009

Fashism Saves You From Fashion Faux Pas in Real-Time

This post is part of Mashable’s Spark of Genius series, which highlights a unique feature of startups. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here. The series is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark.

fashism-smName: Fashism

Quick Pitch: Fashism is a place to get advice on your style. Anytime. Anywhere. Users submit questions and the community votes and gives constructive feedback. Crowdsourcing for your style advice.

Genius Idea: Launched during Fashion Week in September, Fashism (love the name) is a way for individuals to use the Internet for style advice and feedback. Does this top make me look fat? Do these boots work with this jacket? Should I get this hat or this hat? By posting photos and asking questions you can get instant fashion feedback.

Fashism has a really simple premise. After you sign up (which is an easy, non-evasive process), you can upload a photo and ask a question. Visitors to the site can answer “yes” or “no” (or choice a or choice b), in a manner similar to “Hot or Not” and the like. Based on how people vote, you can instantly see the percentage of yeas and nays.


Users can also comment on your photo if they want to add additional feedback. Users are awarded points for offering helpful feedback, and you can view the hottest looks and the most discussed pictures.

Admittedly, Fashism is designed to appeal to the more fashion-conscious user, but the look of the site, its ease of use and the irreverent sense of humor are all good things. The concept itself is actually pretty strong — not everyone has a built-in network of Tim Gunn-types, and some of us prefer to get advice from strangers or other fashion fans (who might be more truthful).

Fashism also integrates with Twitter, allowing users to connect their account to the service using OAuth and automatically tweet links to any of their Fashism uploads. Twitter integration is great but we think this idea would really pop with a Facebook connection. Even just having the ability to share a link directly on your wall could be really handy.

Do you ever use the Internet to get fashion advice? Let us know!

Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark

BizSpark is a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

Entrepreneurs can take advantage of the Azure Services platform for their website hosting and storage needs. Microsoft recently announced the “new CloudApp()” contest – use the Azure Services Platform for hosting your .NET or PHP app, and you could be the lucky winner of a USD 5000* (please see website for official rules and guidelines).”

Reviews: Facebook, PHP, Twitter

Tags: crowdsourcing, fashion, fashism, twitter

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