There was a great article about fashion website Polyvore in the NY Times:
Site Wins Fashion Fans By Letting Them Design
I believe that user-controlled fashion websites like Polyvore are the key to the future of the fashion industry. The user-friendly nature of a website and the attractiveness of the images are the new display windows for shopping. Buyers can spend hours surfing the internet and viewing hundreds of different options for merchandise without maneuvering through crowds to get to a store. With lines and limited availability of merchandise at a store competing with free shipping and returns, the idea of shopping in the comfort of your own home seems quite attractive.
There are many advantages to shopping online and I think that there are great opportunities for creativity in this area that need to be explored. Polyvore is one of the first sites that I have seen that pushes the boundaries of internet shopping.
One of the biggest changes in our culture over the last few years has been the infiltration of social networking. There is a voyeuristic aspect of Twitter and Facebook users wanting to share every aspect of their lives. Paired with this has also been a growth in personal blogs, many of them related to fashion. Women of all ages use a personal fashion blog as a way to express themselves by posting self portraits in their favorite outfits and links to items they covet. With a decrease in purchasing over the last few years, these blogs provide an outlet for sharing ideas about fashion when prices are still unaffordable. Right now these two ideas have co-existed, but not entirely been joined. I believe that there is a great opportunity to explore the ways that fashion blogs, social networking, and online shopping can be melded together in a new way that makes finding out what people are wearing so much easier.
If women want to Tweet about their activities throughout the day, maybe they also want an opportunity to open up their closets and share all that is inside. Maybe we should be able to flip through digital versions of closets and put outfits together so our friends can see how we wear our favorite pieces. I also see opportunities for categorizing so we can figure out what our favorite brands are and what area of our closet is lacking. If you can't afford something, maybe you can hold onto an image of it for awhile until you decide that it will fit with the rest of your clothes.
There are so many opportunities that Polyvore has created by starting with a digital database for browsing fashionable merchandise and expressing your ideas about style. Fashion is an art form. It is one of the ways that people take inspiration in our culture and interpret it in a way that makes a visual expression. If you offer more ways to combine technological advances in our society with personal expression then you will be looking towards the future of the fashion industry.