Fashion social networks are Web sites where members post pictures of their latest looks, share opinions on fashion trends, join virtual fashion groups and make friends with budding fashionistas from around the world. Fashion social networks can be standalone sites like Share Your Look or StyleHive or exist as a niche within a larger social networking site like MySpace Fashion.
Fashion social networks are an online retailer's dream come true. According to Internet traffic analysts at ComScore, the more time people spend on social networks, the more likely they are to shop at online stores for clothing, music, luxury items and electronics. Of the 61.2 million people who visited online retailers in August 2007, nearly 25 percent were labeled "heavy" social network users [source: Clickz].
ComScore found an especially lucrative connection between online clothing retailers and heavy social network users. Over half of the August 2007 visitors to brand name sites like Alloy and Hollister were heavy social network users [source: ComScore].
A fashion social networking site like FashMatch is meant to capitalize on the strong correlation between social network users and online shoppers. On FashMatch, members can choose tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes and accessories from dozens of brand-name retailers and create their own match (outfit) to share with other members. Members rank each other's matches, collect fans (friends) and proudly advertise their favorite brands. It's word-of-mouth marketing at its finest, with links to buy!
Other fashion social networking sites, like the Australian-focused Fashionising are geared more toward fashion professionals. Visitors to Fashionising can register as a designer, model, stylist, photographer, etc. Another site, ModelsHotel is a highly exclusive fashion social network just for models.
Some common features of fashion social networks are the ability to organize looks by recent posts, most viewed, highest ranked, etc. Most allow you to search for styles using tags like "black," "shirt," "sexy" and so on. All of them allow you to search out and make friends with other users, becoming a "fan" or "follower" of someone else's fashion ideas. Many include wishlists for items that members would love to have in their closet and even the ability to post styles on social bookmarking sites like Digg and del.icio.us.
For lots more information about social networks and related topics, check out the links on the next page.