style

2013 is the breakout year for the digital closet. And that’s very good news for pretty much everyone in the fashion industry, whether you’re a brand, a retailer, a publisher, or a consumer.

If this is surprising to you, I can tell you, we’ve seen this movie before…

We’ve seen it in the early days of online retail. As recently as 2009, a lot of people were asking, “Why the heck would people shop for clothes online? What about fit? What about returns? People want to go into the store and touch the product, not order based on some picture online!”

These are fair questions. We still haven’t solved these friction points. And yet, Women’s Wear Daily reports that 72% of consumers shop for clothes online. Why did online retail take off? Because when you connect the storefront to the power and convenience of web and mobile, you unlock a whole new set of benefits that outweigh the friction for many consumers.

Similarly, when brands first started flirting with social media, a lot of people said, “Why would people want a brand talking to them 140 characters at a time?” They called it gimmicky and niche, and said it would cheapen the brand. And yet we’ve seen social media turn into the primary voice for many major players.

The rise of digital closets is a similar story for the similar reason: when you connect the closet to web and mobile, you can suddenly do some incredibly powerful things – with data, with retail, with recommendations – that were simply not possible before. At Stylitics, we’ve seen this first-hand. Digital styling for a fraction of the price. Personalized recommendations based on what you actually wore and bought, across brands. Creating your packing list with items in your closet…and your boyfriend’s closet…while sitting in a meeting. All these things are either live today or will be live before the summer.

The key to taking this completely mainstream is making it really easy for people to put their closets online. So, Stylitics is working with top brands and retailers on a technology we’ve developed called Closet Connect, launching in a few weeks. Closet Connect lets people pull in all their past purchases from across retailers into their digital closet, at one time and in a few seconds.  After that, every purchase you make from participating retailers is automatically synced to your closet online. It’s free for consumers and for retailers, and we think it’s going to change the industry!

Rohan Deuskar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Stylitics. He will speak at Decoded Fashion Forum on new approaches to forecasting trends. Follow him at @rohand

coco social media

Coco Rocha is a role model for social media, but also a teacher, leading classes on social media best practices for other fashion models. She shares her top three tips with us, lessons that work for tech founders, fashion designers, retailers and individuals who love and work with style, fashion and e-commerce.

  1. Don’t have just anyone run your social media. I think it’s insane when brands or celebrities relegate their social media to an intern or someone who does not know them well. Personally, even though I have a great PR team, no one except my husband and I touch any of my 10 social media accounts. It’s a lot of work, but I know that my brand, my image and my voice are authentic to me.
  2. Be consistent. Your audience wants to hear from you regularly but not too regularly. Don’t over share. People have no problem clicking “unfollow” if they feel you’re over saturating their feed. For 3 years now, I have seen people use Tumblr the way they should be using Pinterest. I also see people copying content far too much. Be original and invent content, don’t just copy and paste it.
  3. If you’re going to post pictures, be really selective about it. If I’m capturing a sunset I’ll take at least 10 pictures, I’ll then filter them using other apps, enhance them, then I really pick the best image of perhaps 30. No one wants to follow someone who does not take pride in composing an aesthetically beautiful picture. No random snap shots–treat every upload as if it was a work of art.

Coco will be speaking on the future of fashion and technology at Decoded Fashion Forum on Feb. 14. Read her thoughts on social media here, and follow her on Twitter @cocorocha.