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Trendabl, a new iPhone app launching today, aims to create a social network similar to Instagram and Twitter that’s tailored specifically to fashion. Developed by founder and chief executive officer Jon Alagem, along with two silent investors, Trendabl is a photo-sharing platform on which users take a picture or upload an image from their library and post it to the Trendabl network, tagging it according to label, price, retail availability and so forth.
Anyone can join, but Alagem sees it as a tool for brands, retailers and celebrities from which he’s assembled an impressive launch group, including Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Barneys New York, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Current/Elliott, Harley Viera-Newton and Brad Goreski. Ostensibly, brands and celebrities will use it to credit their looks and promote their own merchandise.
This story first appeared in the March 26, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The easiest way to think about it is Instagram, but for fashion,” said Alagem, who’s originally from Los Angeles and left his job at a hedge fund to work full-time on Trendabl. “A user will be able to take a picture and apply a filter to it, then they can either post it right away to their friends or they can add more information.”
So if someone posts a picture of a dress, he or she can add its category, price, store or color, and can also choose to post it to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. There’s a re-post (similar to re-tweeting in Twitter parlance) option, and images are searchable by category, i.e. all Givenchy dresses, or dresses available at Barneys. Users can “like” things and comment on them, while there’s also a “popular” function to show the images that have gained the most traction. Trendabl uses the location technology operated by Foursquare, so the app will recognize a user’s location. Like Twitter and Instagram, users follow whomever they like, whether friends or celebrities or brands.
As far as competition goes, Alagem mentioned Pose, which encourages users to upload their outfit of the day. There’s also Fashism on which people post a photo of their look and ask if others like it. “A lot of these apps just create content and put it out there,” said Alagem. “We’re going out there and getting a lot of brands, celebrities, designers, bloggers, etc., and getting them to come on and be a part of this.”
Nicky Hilton is a confirmed member, as is Whitney Port, and the contemporary lines Equipment and Joie. But the Olsens are the biggest coup. “Ashley and I are excited to work with Trendabl, what we believe will be a dynamic social networking platform for the fashion world,” said Mary-Kate Olsen. “Trendabl will change the way people share and discover fashion.”
The Trendabl app, which is free and available through iTunes, has been in beta since Jan. 30. Alagem has plans to adopt it for other smartphones, but so far the iPhone app is the first of three phases Alagem has planned for Trendabl, the second being a Web site, and the third, e-commerce — which he notes is still a ways away.