“Polyvore’s mission is to democratize fashion,” said Polyvore director Katherine McClymonds.

This story first appeared in the June 9, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Web site’s more than six million users create, share and vote on virtual fashion collages created from images culled from around the Web. “They’re not necessarily waiting for [a] magazine to come out to tell them what’s in style or what’s in fashion. They’re able to form their own opinion and share it,” said McClymonds.




Fashion brands first heard of Polyvore when they noticed an unusual amount of traffic coming from the site. Since then, many brands have held contests on Polyvore to boost awareness of their brand and styles.

When Coach held a holiday contest around the theme of “How do you sparkle?” the brand received 3,692 entries in seven days.

The entries received 103,379 “likes,” 13,006 comments, 204,656 page views and 13,006 comments.

Coach posted the 15 most popular compositions, or “sets,” on Facebook. More than 23,300 voters picked the final winners on Facebook.

A month later, Diane von Furstenberg used a contest on Polyvore to identify the most popular items in its fall lineup. An opal platform shoe was used more often than any other item in the line, so the company ordered more of it, figuring demand at retail would be strong.

McClymonds compared different forms of marketing to dating. Social media is like driving a girl home after the prom because it lets you have a one-on-one conversation. Also important is to get a second date. “You want to engage her, you want to be authentic and eventually you want to get brand advocacy,” she said.

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