I love making mood boards, but cutting up my pretty magazines breaks my heart. Cue my latest online crush, Polyvore.
Polyvore is an interactive online platform that allows users to envision and create collages of fashion product images sourced from various online stores. These collages are then shared through Twitter, Facebook and amongst members of the Polyvore community. Each image is labelled with the name of the product and attached price plus is hyperlinked to the online store.
Polyvore lets me play fashion editor … I carefully edit my collections, selecting from a plethora of designer products (typically I browse jackets first, shoes second) and mixing with high street denim and accessories. Building an outfit can take me minutes, hours or days.
By encouraging users to assemble their own look books based on their product selection and personal style, Polyvore has crafted the ultimate marketing tool for fashion brands. There is no better way to encourage a consumer to become a brand advocate then enabling them to own a piece of your brand, whether it be in the real or virtual conscious. Establishing a presence in the collective of their mental ‘must have’ list is subtle brand building at its best
Julien Macdonald Gem-embellished suede jacket, Alexander Wang cropped sweatpants, Daydream Collar necklace, Yves Saint Laurent Divine platforms, Proenza Schouler studded leather boots, sass & bide embellished dress, Marni studded bone ring.
Allowing Polyvore to use images rather freely has stirred up some debate regarding copyright and intellectual property and there is merit to the argument that brands who feature on Polyvore lose a degree of control over their messaging. However, by allowing consumers to merchandise fashion products without the constraint or rigidity that retail store platforms impose on consumers creates opportunities for high end labels to be alligned with high street brands; creating a language that makes sense to the new order of consumers and making the product seem more attainable and more attractive.
Not just a medium for high street labels, Net-a-Porter was quick to harness the viral power of Polyvore when it hosted the Runway Reporter competition two years ago. Online fashionistas were charged with creating their own look using a minimum of four pieces from the Net-a-Porter catalogue. The competition generated over 2000 entries, with the majority of those shared by proud stylists amongst their own social networks… one can only guess how many direct click throughs and sales can be attributed, not to mention the increase in database membership.
Aside from traffic generation and advertising, Polyvore represents what fashion marketers have been waiting for – a trackable, measurable showcase for their brand. Listen to your consumer collective – look out for trends and patterns in Polyvore posts. Does your product feature, how often and if not, why?
Polyvore could potentially be the perfect social media retail outlet for fashion brands. Fashion is never sold as an item, yet rather as one piece of the wearer’s style signature. Polyvore can get consumers excited about products – the perfect balance of social engagement and aspirational discussion.