Unfortunately for those who grew up wanting to be fashion designers, it becomes clear early on that artistic expression requires years of training, talent, and some serious work ethic. So we scrapped our fashion designer dreams and pursued an array of other, safer, talents. Not anymore. Polyvore is for those who love clothes, magazine editorials and creating, but don’t want to quit their day jobs.
Polyvore is an online community that allows users to pick from thousands upon thousands of cutouts of clothing and accessories to create magazine layouts, sets, editorials, and collections. There are templates to make your choices look and feel like a page from your favorite magazine, or from your own designer collection. Users can create complete collections with descriptions about the look and feel of the clothing, the season or line it belongs to, and the inspiration behind the choices. For most of us, this is as close to we’ll ever get to being a runway fashion designer with our collections plastered in magazines.
However, Polyvore takes the idea of high-level collage one step further, by making an interactive online community centered on design. Taking a note from the genius of Tumblr, Polyvore allows you to have followers that view your collections. Users can join groups based on fashion inspiration or ideals and curious users can even ask fashion questions, send them out into the void, and wait for answers.
Polyvore is also very, very good for business. Last year, Coach encouraged website viewers to create a Polyvore set from the Coach collection, and finalists were voted on by Coach’s Facebook fans. Could a site like Polyvore be the missing link in fashion marketing, getting consumers to think about brands all the time?
Polyvore also receives a great amount of funding by featuring the very clothing that is available for creating collections in an online store. Once you make a collection, say a “Back To School” collection for example, you don’t have to tear apart the mall looking for twins of your chosen clothing, you can actually buy the exact items you love. This “Shop” section of the website is particularly helpful for those that may not have a refined fashion taste level, as the clothes chosen are already geared for the fashionably inclined. No more “worst dressed list” for you!
What is truly remarkable about Polyvore is the fusion of so many genres. Project Runway, What Not To Wear, How Do I Look?, HGTV Design Star, Million Dollar Decorators, and all the other fashion and design shows have all proven that people love everything having to do with designing and decorating. Polyvore creates a means of combining everything we love about putting together pretty things and socializing with others who have similar interests.
In the future it’s possible that web platforms such as Polyvore will play a key role in creating college portfolios for budding design students. Not everyone can afford Photoshop and what art schools are truly looking for is a student who shows potential, good taste, and an eye for design. Polyvore can help convey all of these attributes without playing favor to those with a big art budget. It will be interesting to see if this type of platform can leverage itself into the “Facebook” of fashion.