StyleHop, a new fashion startup launching today, is looking to help users pick out the best outfits of the season without having to wade through countless user reviews.
The site ranks outfits on a five star scale based on user input. But instead of using a Hot-Or-Notesque stream of outfits to gather ratings, StyleHop offers a series of social games, each of which ask for a few ratings at a time so users don’t get bored. Included among these games is a Price Is Right-style Flash game that asks users to guess how much they think an individual item of clothing costs (between each round users are asked to rate a few outfits). To help instill a competitive atmosphere the site keeps track of how other users fare, which presumably leads players to continue playing the game (and rate more clothes). StyleHop also plans to offer games across popular social networks like Facebook and MySpace, so it can gain a large user base.
Using the data it collects from these games, the site can generate fashion recommendations to members (each outfit is tagged with certain attributes so broad trends can be established). For now the site is primarily concerning itself with college students, allowing users to view general clothing trends at certain universities.
StyleHop President David Reinke says that the company is going to generate a large portion of its revenues through affiliate fees as it directs users to online stores to purchase the items they see on the site. But the majority of StyleHop’s proceeds will come from specialized studies that the company will offer to retailers and designers as part of a premium subscription model. Clothing companies will be able to ask StyleHop to select a sample of users from a specific demographic, who will be invited to participate in studies where they’ll be asked to rate potential product offerings for the upcoming season. In return, participants will receive some form of compensation (like a gift card from the retailer).
There are countless fashion sites on the web, many of which allow users to rate their favorite outfits; examples include Chictopia (covered here) and Sugar Inc’s CelebStyle. StyleHop may have some difficulty differentiating itself at first, but the viral nature of its social games could help the site build up a substantial database of ratings, and its unique monetization model could prove to be very lucrative.