By  on September 2, 2014

Saks Fifth Avenue is letting its customers take center stage during New York Fashion Week.

On Thursday, the store will unveil what it is calling a “user-generated content hub” on its Web site under the #SaksStyle tag. The hub, which was created in partnership with Curalate, is designed to highlight products purchased from the retailer’s stores and online.

The retailer will collect photos from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr and share them on the site. The images will be updated daily, and visitors can sort through them based on specific product categories, such as handbags or shoes. “Likes” and comments are encouraged, and the looks will be shopable. Qianna Smith, Saks’ director of social media, said the store will identify the product worn by the people in the photos and provide a link to that exact product or a close replica on its Web site. “If we can’t find that exact Stella McCartney black dress,” Smith said, as an example, “we’ll link to something similar.”

Although this might seem like a big project, Smith said the store is “deeply familiar with our product,” so identifying the items is very doable.

This initiative is ongoing, but, during fashion week only, Saks will have four street-style photographers hit the streets in New York, London, Milan and Paris to “capture the most style-savvy women,” Smith said. These looks, too, will link to Saks’ Web site so customers can immediately purchase the product.

Within stores, all fitting rooms in the women’s ready-to-wear and contemporary departments will sport vinyl decals encouraging customers to snap photos and link to the site.

The goal, according to the retailer, is to create a sense of community among its customers and encourage them to participate in social media.

“We are creating a community [in which] our most style-savvy customers can engage, shop looks within the photos on saks.com and be inspired by the fashion point of view of others,” Smith said. “Our goal is to connect customers with similar interests in the most dynamic way possible, which meant breaking new ground by encompassing four of the most prominent social networks into one cohesive hashtag-photo-sharing experience.”

Kathleen Ruiz, senior vice president of marketing and public relations, said the site also provides the store with “instant insight as to what [customers] are buying and loving.”

Part of the initiative includes a video that features models and social influencers Bonnie Chen and Naty Chabanenko, who have a combined social following of nearly 22,000.

Last week, Saks teamed with Curalate, a Philadelphia-based marketing and analytics company, to create Like2buy, a shopable link that allows customers to click on featured product and be directed to the store’s e-commerce site to purchase it. The initiative is being tagged #instashop. Nordstrom and Target offer similar initiatives.

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