It is been estimated that the number of global smartphone users will reach 3.5 million by the end of 2020, and this rise has seen a corresponding rise in digital app users. For many, apps have changed the way users interact with the world and each other, and for the most part, provide some benefit or ease to their day-to-day lives. Retail apps are particularly popular, but what is all the more interesting is the rise of fashion styling apps, on both iOS and Android. Mobile apps have infiltrated the fashion industry and consumerism.
Wardrobe and outfit planning apps have infiltrated the consumer and app market. Countless apps use algorithms similar to what we first saw in Clueless’ Cher’s virtual closet – matching clothing with accessories, creating numerous combinations and keep track of all your past worn outfits. Tech, or more specifically A-I, has seen a recent marriage to fashion, changing the scene in which fashion lovers can discover the latest trends or alternatively, make efforts to become more eco-conscious.
This article has outlined the 8 best fashion styling apps on the market, and why you should get downloading them ASAP.
1 – Drest
Company name – Drest
Founder – Lucy Yeomans
Website – https://www.drest.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/drest/?hl=en
Drest, launched in October 2019, defines itself on the iOS App Store as a “luxury fashion styling game”. Similar to the notions of the classic paper doll game and 00’s site ‘Stardoll’, users can style the lifelike avatars in the world’s leading fashion brands. Not only can users create styles themselves, but they can also explore looks created by leading fashion stylists. It is thus no wonder that the app has been deemed by fashion worshippers as the modern, app-version of ‘Stardoll’, a site that was once adored by young and budding fashion stylists. Drest currently has fifteen lifelike avatars, available for users to dress and cast in the photoshoot challenges. The app plans to launch Supermodel avatars into the gameplay this December. This is so that users can style their favourite celebrities in exactly how they would love for them to be dressed, allowing them to live out their red-carpet fantasies.
The self-created looks can be shared with the Drest stylist community, and even voted for, accounting towards real-life awards and recognition. The digital fashion assortment is provided for by Farfetch. The pieces are also linked to their appropriate shopping platform so that users can be taken directly to the Farfetch app. The app also partners directly with brands such as Christian Louboutin too. Last October, Drest announced a worldwide launch partnership with high-end designer Gucci. The fashion house introduced model Unia Pakhomova as an avatar on the app, so users could only cast and style her with exclusive Gucci pieces. The app additionally launches regular dedicated challenges based around Gucci’s global campaigns.
Drest, founded by industry expert Lucy Yeomans, who previously worked as Editor-in-Chief at both NET-A-PORTER’s magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, has listened to exactly what users want. According to prior research, 33-year-old women are the most avid gaming app users around – and this is exactly Drest’s target market. It is thus no surprise that Drest has received raving reviews from aspiring fashion designers and stylists on the iOS App Store, deemed by one user as an “isolation saviour … currently using it to prove those Gucci loafers would go with everything”. With e-commerce rising rapidly, it would certainly be of interest to see how much Drest accounts for Farfetch’s total proportion of sales.
2 – 21 Buttons
Company name – 21 Buttons
Founders – Marc Soler and Jaime Farres
Website – https://www.21buttons.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/21buttons_uk/?hl=en
21 Buttons is the ultimate hybrid of social networking and fashion. Founded in 2015 by two former McKinsey consultants, Marc Soler and Jaime Farres, 21 Buttons is essentially a fashion database in the form of an app. Influencers can link their clothing pieces from their photos to a link where it can be purchased on their 21 Buttons page. It has been likened to the Pinterest of fashion.
21 Buttons is particularly popular among influencers and those with a high following. 21 Buttons generates revenue via these affiliate commission links, and shares it through payment with the users. So essentially, those with greater followings lead to more link-clicks, and thus earn greater profits through the app. Favourite looks can additionally be stored and saved on the user’s profile on the app for future reference or inspiration.
21 Buttons is unique in that it refers to itself as a “social shopping app”. It is more than just a styling app, and more than a simple shopping app. It is the ultimate fashion social network, the perfect mix of e-commerce and social networking. Since its establishment, 21 Buttons has seen over 10 million downloads and growth to a team of 35.
3 – Stitch Fix
Company name – Stitch Fix
Founder – Katrina Lake
Website – https://www.stitchfix.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/stitchfix/?hl=en
Stitch Fix is an online styling service that now exists in the form of a smartphone app as well as online. It was founded in 2011 by Katrina Lake and has seen over 3.4 users flock to the service. Originally catering to only women, Lake designed the service to blend the personalised element of in-person styling together with algorithms to digitally style and cater to users’ fashion wants and needs. The service has since become more inclusive, catering for men and now plus-sizes too.
The app endorses a client-focused shopping experience. The user shares their style, size and price range with a designated online app stylist who together takes this information and combines it with Stitch Fix’s algorithms to create the perfect look. What differs Stitch Fix from other styling apps on the market is that the digital app experience leads to a physical result – a personalised ‘Fix delivery’. The user can try on the selected pieces at home and decide what to keep, with further advice from their stylist of course.
The app suits both those looking to build their dream wardrobe and others just needing a quick refresh. It takes out the hassle of in-person shopping experiences where clients may feel pressured to spend more. Lake’s Stitch Fix is a prime example of where AI technology has been used successfully to infuse e-commerce and consumer loyalty, and has since generated more than $1 billion in sales during 2018.
4 – Save Your Wardrobe
Company name – Save Your Wardrobe
Founder – Hasna Kourda
Website – https://www.saveyourwardrobe.com/
Save Your Wardrobe was founded within the realms of ethical consumerism. Launched by Hasna Kourda in June 2018, the app allows you to reconnect with old or forgotten pieces in your wardrobe. Users make use of the app’s AI technology to digitally log pieces in their wardrobe where the app automatically categorises these. For instance, when on the move users can check their app quickly to see if they already own a brown scarf or a green bag. It is essentially a clothing management app – an interesting development in a world of fast fashion and excess outfits.
Users can choose to either upload their receipts from new purchases, or take photos of their new pieces. This is so that they are automatically logged into their digital app wardrobe. However, the app does not just stop at simply helping their users to remember which pieces they own. The app uses location-based technology to connect users with local donation, selling, alterations and dry cleaning services to additionally renew the lives of their worn-out or no longer loved garments. Save Your Wardrobe further has an ‘Upskill Yourself’ section, where there are video tutorials for users to learn how to make simple repairs to their clothes, such as patching together a pair of ripped jeans.
An estimated 92 million tonnes of waste is generated annually by the fashion industry. While it appears that fat fashion retailers are not exactly contributing in helping to ‘slow the flow’ of production, it has been the work of charities and third-parties like Save Your Wardrobe that have stepped up to the challenge. Kourda’s Save Your Wardrobe takes users one step closer in diverting them away from funding this production, in helping them to make the right, and certainly more sustainable decisions.
5 – R Reflections
Company name – R Reflections
Founder – Rebecca Mabbett
Website – https://www.rreflections.co.uk/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rreflectionsltd/?hl=en
Launched this October, R Reflections is a digital fitting room. The app essentially allows users to view clothing pieces on their body type virtually, before deciding whether to purchase online. Founder Rebecca Mabbett came up with the idea after feeling disappointed with online shopping purchases. They didn’t fit how she wanted them too. Mabbett is certainly not alone in this struggle. With regards to most online fast-fashion retailers, the majority of models are tall and range from size 6-12. This fails to reflect the UK population at large, where the average dress size for women in the UK measures at a size 16.
Users can virtually design the model shape to mirror their measurements and dimensions. They can then drag various outfit pieces onto the virtual mannequin to see how this would fit that figure shape. There is already a pre-loaded selection of clothing pieces, but users are also able to upload items themselves through photos taken or screenshots, allowing for a personalised ‘dressing room style’ experience. The app is still in its first stages. It has launched on the iOS App Store and Mabbett is still working hard to approach retailers who will contribute in uploading their pieces to the app’s software, to save the user from doing so themselves.
The app serves to provide wider benefits for not just the user such as reduced postal costs, but additionally the environment too. By allowing users to virtually try on pieces they would have ordered, this can work to prevent them from making multiple online purchases and shipment orders from fashion retailers, which consequently works to minimise CO2 emissions through postal travel.
6 – Enty
Company name – Enty
Founder – Sophia Matveeva
Website – https://www.enty.app/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/entyapp/
Enty describes itself on the iOS App Store as ‘Your personal stylist in your pocket – whenever and wherever you need her’. That is the beauty of mobile app after all. You can access them from wherever you may, 24/7. Essentially, users of the app can access professional style advice from stylists, as well as other style-conscious users. Enty’s innovation was innovated by the typical predicament – friends sending each other outfit choices and asking for advice. For Matveeva, this would sometimes roll through at the wrong time, when she was in class or a meeting, and she wished that someone else could reply on behalf of her. Another factor to add to this predicament is that quite often enough, friends can be too kind and not honest enough – which isn’t actually truthful or helpful styling advice.
Enty is unique in that it promotes a troll-free environment, unlike most social media networks. Users can post a photo question with options for peers to vote for a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – however, only a professional and objective stylist can write comments. This environment has burgeoned a 90% return rate among members. For professional stylists too, Enty has seen an opportunity to provide bespoke advice and education in the form of an online community. The app currently hosts 124 professionally-trained stylists who can, through their Enty membership, participate in networking opportunities, talks from leading industry experts as well as communal mentorship sessions.
Matveeva talks of Stitch Fix’s Katrina Lake as one of her main influences in the fashion tech industry, and it comes as no surprise that Enty is shortly following suit. The app was first selected for the New Venture Challenge accelerator which helped Matveeva to score that all-important initial funding and investment. Since then, it has been nominated for Start Up Program of 2017 at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and has seen thousands of users flock to its in-app stylist services.
7 – 30 Wears
Company name – 30 Wears
Founders – Mike Timofiiv and Tina Rogers
Website – https://30wears.app
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/30_wears/?hl=en
Vivienne Westwood famously once said that we should “Buy less, choose well and make it last”. The #30WearsChallenge, originally started by Olivia Firth and Lucy Siegle, encapsulates this statement quite aptly. The challenge adopts a similar premise of the popular notion of working out ‘cost per wear’, which is where shoppers evaluate they would get several wears out of a costly piece, to make it ‘worth’ the small investment. However, the 30 Wear Challenge does not revolve around the financial strains of shopping as much, but focuses re-engagement with the environmental repercussions of new clothing purchases. It suggests asking yourself ‘Will I wear this item 30 times?’ when making a purchase. In the UK, an average piece in one’s wardrobe is only worn up to 14 times. The idea that a piece should be timeless can haunt fashion devotees, especially loves of fast fashion trends. But the challenge encourages you to be creative, style the piece in 30 different ways for example.
Now, to Timofiiv and Roger’s app – 30 Wears. The founders believe an app can help spread the message of the #30WearsChallenge. The app works to allow users to log each time they wear a piece from their wardrobe, and track this to build it up to at least 30 wears. Users can take or upload a photo from their camera roll on the go, and sync this to the app’s digital calendar. The app also updates fashion facts concerning the environment and sustainability regularly, to help inform users and encourage them to complete the challenge. The startup is still in its early stages, but its message is clear and it will carry far.
8 – Stylebook
Company name – Stylebook
Founders – Jess Atkins and Bill Atkins
Website – https://www.stylebookapp.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/stylebookapp/?hl=en
Stylebook is a wardrobe management and outfit planner app founded by husband and wife team, Jess and Bill Atkins. Jess was inspired by her intern experience within Vogue’s fashion cupboard and saw an opportunity to development an easy-to-access wardrobe management system. The app allows users to upload their pieces onto a visual inventory. Other functions include a searchable calendar, customisable packing lists for trips and statistics about your dressing habits using technology from your digital logs. The app additionally allows you to crop items in their photographs, so that they can be matched together on a digital mannequin to test and plan outfit choices.
Some of the prime features (out of 90) of Stylebook include Style Stats, which allow users to see what they wear the most, and least, as well as Style Expertise where users have access to interviews with top fashion insiders and workshops. Stylebook has built up a loyal following of paid app users, with an approximate annual revenue of $1.4 million. The app has evolved since its original generation of just catering to women, and now has a specific version of Stylebook for men too.