“StyleCaster is not a social network,” says Ari Goldberg, ceo of StyleCaster.com. “This is not Facebook. It’s not MySpace.” Maybe not, but the new Web site is an online network, one in which users connect over fashion. However, Goldberg prefers to bill it as “the Web’s first personal style discovery platform” and “the Web’s first influence network.”
What exactly that means will be hard to tell until the site goes into private beta testing next month before it is officially launched in January. But according to Goldberg, a former vice president of strategy and business development for LeBron James’ LRMR Marketing company, who founded StyleCaster with chief financial officer Albert Azout, the site is first and foremost an online personal styling service. It’s also a user network that features blogs, articles and merchandise styled by its own staff.
And it was inspired by the weather. “Every day, everybody we know wakes up and checks weather.com or WeatherBug or AccuWeather to find out what the temperature is,” says Goldberg. “What do I wear? How come nobody gives me an outfit recommendation?” That thought, coupled with another project he and Azout had in the works, Sociocast, a patented technology developed by Azout that measures a user’s clicks to filter content to the individual, resulted in StyleCaster, which is privately funded by Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder of Quicken Loans and majority owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. The site is run by about 15 full-time staff members, including several former Elle and Lucky editors, and is the first channel run on Sociocast’s technology, here, utilized in a fashion, beauty and lifestyle context. It also features a local weather forecast.
Here’s how it works: Users start with a registration process, which requires them to disclose their name, sex, age, location and occupation, and make selections from a series of outfits and products. The Sociocast technology takes that information and creates a “memory” for each user, which is continually updated as he or she navigates the site. That information decides what kind of content each user sees, whether it’s merchandise styled and photographed by the StyleCaster staff, news or other members’ information. The latter makes up StyleCaster’s network component. Rather than the profile pages seen on Facebook or MySpace, StyleCaster users have “presence” pages, which contain examples of their personal style. Some of that content consists of photos uploaded by the user, but much of it is generated by the Sociocast technology. If the program thinks that your style matches up with someone else’s, you can “influence,” or in the language of Facebook, “friend” each other, which is what Goldberg claims differentiates StyleCaster from other networking sites. “Social networks as we know them are based on friendship,” he says. “The problem is, when you’re recommending something for someone, your friends aren’t the best basis to go off of.…What matters in this social space is expertise, knowledge, adoption and influence.” Of course, the average user may not want to be influenced by another user. And while he did not disclose names, Goldberg says he will enlist celebrity stylists and personalities to up StyleCaster’s influence quotient.
“Our goal,” says Goldberg, “is to make the StyleCaster experience as intuitive and as passive as possible.” To forecast an outfit each day, a selection of three 3-D looks are displayed on each user’s page, a scenario that recalls a scene from 1995’s “Clueless,” during which Cher (Alicia Silverstone) allows her computer to select what she wears for the day. It could be very useful if the merch StyleCaster offers is already in the user’s closet. If not, that’s part of the plan, too. StyleCaster is an advertising-driven site, and Goldberg hopes to partner with retailers and designer houses. “We don’t sell product,” he says. “We’re what’s called a lead generator. Any product you see on the system, my goal is to lead you as close to that product as possible.” And if the Sociocast technology works, it will bring the product close to its target audience. Goldberg is banking on it. “I don’t believe the future of the Web is shoot-the-monkey ads,” he says. “We’re talking about sponsored recommendations, sponsored outfits, sponsored products, sponsored events, advertorials. An outfit could very easily be Marc Jacobs head-to-toe.
“In a sense, for the brand, that’s advertising,” adds Goldberg. “For the consumer, it’s just new content. That’s the perfect marriage.”
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye