Lookbook.nu: Digg for Fashion Insiders (adapted from readwriteweb.com)

>> Monday, June 08, 2009

lookbook_sartorialist_jun09.jpgOnly four years after he quit his job and started The Sartorialist, fashion blogger Scott Schuman writes a monthly column for GQ, has been honored by Time Magazine, and more importantly, has gained the adoration and respect of millions of bleeding edge hipsters. Schuman's photography has inspired legions of salivating indie fashion fanatics, and many who've witnessed the mainstream outing of street fashion covet the simpler and less-ostentatious times. Yes folks, someone let the clowns on the bus and now wherever fashion goes, it looks like a drunk circus. Lookbook.nu is one site re-establishing exclusivity and celebrating fashion insiders.

lookbook_sartorialist_jun09a.jpgWhile Etsy managed to raise funding and mass appeal in 2008, the fact of the matter is that many of us (myself included) are barely fit to dress ourselves. Giving us free reign to create clothing for others can have disastrous results. Sites like Look at this F!@#ing Hipster and the Burg's Hip or Dangerous are just two examples of the indie street fashion backlash.

As a welcome middle ground, couple Yuri Lee and Jason Su launched Lookbook.nu out of their SOMA-district San Francisco apartment as an invite-only Digg for fashion. Users upload full body looks and members vote on their favorites. Similar to Fashion Riot and StyleMob, members catalogue the different articles of clothing they're wearing and in some cases, even where they've purchased them. For those of us who need help, it means we've got a dress-by-numbers to usher us into this decade. Once we've earned our fashion wings, we can post our own looks and hope to get noticed by Lookbook's 40,000 members. lookbook_sartorialist_jun09b.jpgGetting noticed is actually easier than it seems. Lookbook's voting system allows users to "hype" each other. A hype is similar to clicking on a Digg button; however, the fashion site also offers members a chance to award one heart to their favorite look of the day. This 18-year-old Columbian student has 1004 hypes, almost 200 comments and has stolen 64 hearts. It appears that Andres E.'s "Sweet Sugar" look is the smoking new fashion hotness.

From the Andes to the Rockies, Lookbook might just be the destination for budding photographers and models to gain respect from a discerning fashion audience. And unlike the old fashion guard, discerning doesn't equate to cruelty. Don't be discouraged by the invite code. Commenters focus on constructive feedback, and because the site is not edited, it's a good mechanism to discourage bots, spammers and our moms from infiltrating our wardrobe decisions. In terms of social media tools, Lookbook has 15 sleek badges, a variety of blog widget configurations, 27,000 fans in Facebook and a decent Twitter presence with thousands sharing their looks upon upload. The duo recently brought in friend Andy Chen to help them add additional functionality and the team is currently working on mobile features. To check out the service request an invite at Lookbook.nu/apply .