Apps are like mushrooms: they just seem to keep popping up everywhere and all the time, in all sizes and shapes – but not all are good. Okay, perhaps not my finest metaphor, but you get the point. We live in an information-saturated side of the world, and in the ocean of apps that we are drowning in, there is always something that will cater to your needs – sometimes it will even create a need you never thought you had.
One particular app has been recently making an appearance more and more often in my circle of social media and technological gadgets, an app that claims “will change the way we get dressed forever”: Villoid. Alexa Chung has been raving about it on her Instagram and various socials for a while, with her distinctively bubbly and quirky voice, so my naturally curious and nosy had to find how what the deal what.
Elle UK Magazine, who reveleaded the launch of the new app, described it as “like Instagram for fashion, but with a buy button”, and similarities to Pinterest, one of my all-time favourite platforms, have also been pointed out. From my point of view, however, the main competitor (and predecessor) of this new app would no doubt be Polyvore.
Villoid is essentially a social fashion app that allows you to create “boards” (thus the link to Pinterest, which in my opinion ends here) to, essentially, put an outfit together, with a principle not so different than your classic Polyvore sets, only more squared and Instagram-inspired. Board can be used to experiment with different styles or perhaps try and recreate a celebrity’s outfit or a street style you snapped.
You can pick your items from a huge database and each piece of clothing in a board can be clicked on and purchased directly from the app. But the app isn’t limited to the shopping experience, as it is grounded on a social media-like setting in which you can follow other users to see the boards they create on your feed, and even brands such as Miu Miu, ASOS and Acne have created their own profiles so that you can keep up to date with their latest styles.
“I suppose that scene in Clueless where the computer puts an outfit together from Cher’s wardrobe really stayed with me,” said Chung to Glamour Magazine. “Clothes are fun, making mistakes is fun, being inspired is fun. Villoid celebrates the process of getting dressed and showing your mates.”
It turns out this app isn’t as new as they make it sound. It was originally released under the name SoBazaar by Norwegian e-commerce interpreneur Jeanette Dyhre Kvisvik. After settling the app in Norway, Kvisvik contacted Chung to help her launch globally. By her own admission, Chung didn’t know anything about making apps and the technical mechanisms behind social media: “I found the social platforms I was on limiting in terms of expressing my involvement with and insatiable appetite for fashion by way of street style,” she said. “I had started thinking about how to blend all of these elements in an app format but didn’t have the foggiest about how to proceed with making it a reality.” However that didn’t necessarily stifle the success of the app as her major contribution was her huge following on Instagram and, really, her face.
“So many downloaded the app the minute Alexa announced her ‘secret project’ last week that the app was crashing,” said Kvisvik. “Social media stars are more important to young people than movie stars. Community trumps the elite. It is in this reality Villoid comes in, merging social media and community thinking with e-commerce. The world is changing, and the market places are changing with it, and we try to be at the very forefront of that development.”
Villoid is currently available in the App store for iOS and an Android version should be released by early 2016.