Fashion Community Strutting User-Generated Trends Down the Catwalk

Fashionistas may roll their eyes at the effort, but Polyvore is trying to make designing and merchandising apparel more data driven–and presumably less arbitrary.

To do so, the online fashion community will be crunching user-generated data to roll out analytical tools for designers and retailers. Think Quantcast or Compete, but for the fashion industry.

The beta tool, called Style Analytics, will be free and openly available to anyone on Polyvore’s Web site. It’s expected to launch officially tomorrow afternoon.

The data points are coming from its community of users, who create virtual outfits–or what they call “collages” of clothing–by mixing and matching shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, skirts and accessories from around the Web.

Jess Lee, Polyvore’s co-founder and head of product management, said it will show what’s trending, so brands can make better decisions. Specifically, it shows how consumers associate your brand, for instance, with Abercrombie & Fitch or Juicy Couture.

“The fashion industry, from designing to merchandising and marketing is inefficient and not data driven,” she said. “Our goal is to open it up and make it more democratic and more data driven.”

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has raised about $8.7 million in venture capital since 2007. Each month, its two million registered users create one million collages that generate 140 million page views.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik