Fashion Week is coming up in New York, from September 5 - 12th (I’ll be attending; stay tuned for reports). Although nothing compares with the spectacle of watching a runway show in person, a cool online trend-watching tool called Stylesight is possibly the next best thing. I recently spoke with Frank Bober, Stylesight’s CEO, who took me through a demonstration.
If you’re unfamiliar with the four-year-old company, it provides a fee-based service that currently offers more than 2 million images from designer fashion shows around the world, as well as photographs and analytical text by ex-fashion industry executives (now employed by Stylesight) on international street trends and trade events. All images are posted within a day of when they are taken, so they’re fresh; each one is also archived and searchable. In addition, Stylesight has a secure social-networking collaboration tool that allows co-workers to swap notes and engage in online discussions on research projects. In the last week, the company just launched two new features, one on youth culture and another on marketing strategies.
Major corporations are among Stylesight’s clients so far, from ever-trendy budget chain Target, to mainstream department store Macy’s, and lingerie empire Victoria’s Secret. The cost of the service? It ranges from $2,500 to $15,000 for 10 - 20 users, per year. Companies can choose what elements from the Web site it wants to utilize. For example, a section on kids clothing costs $3,000, while every single feature will cost $15,000. Below is a current screenshot from Stylesight’s clever collages, which creatively illustrate trends in colors, themes, and styles. Sure, you could try to cobble together online research on fashion trends by scoping out blogs and style Web sites, as well as take your own digital photos at Fashion Week. But having seen how Stylesight works, and how simple it is to use, it’s easy to see how the fees might pay off in terms of efficiency. And let’s face it, it isn’t so easy to score invites to all of the fashion shows you might want to attend.
What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.