A week ago, social networking site MySpace launched the MySpace Fashion Channel. Somewhat similar to MySpace’s devoted mini-communities for music, this new initiative aims to create a new community for fashion lovers. Features include:
1. The Fit – video diaries which give viewers a taste of a celebrity’s closet or “fashion lives”. The first piece features a French girl-rockers The Plasticines. Next up, actress/singer Hilary Duff and Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy.
2. Featured designer – information on (what appears to be at the moment) up-and-coming designers which link to their MySpace.
3. Featured profile – more information on the celebrities in The Fit. This also links to their MySpace.
4. InStyle fashion feed – The print and online style magazine has partnered with MySpace to offer users a fashion frenzy feed via InStyle’s site. This is called InStyle News.
5. MySpace Muse – Culled from “Who What Wear Daily”, certain trendsetters will be chosen and featured here.
The value for MySpace Fashion Channel?
1. The opportunity for designers to receive direct feedback and potentially attract new fans. This is especially important for the up-and-coming designers. However, when I clicked on this week’s designer, I was disappointed to see a dull MySpace. His MySpace does show his designs, but there’s no bio and nowhere that I can see that tells me where I can find his product. So there was a big disconnect for me.
2. The director of strategic partnerships for MySpace says it gives designers a direct line of communication to the consumer…[and that] direct line of communication is vitally important to fashion brands at a time where consumers crave a personal connection with designers and labels.” Great, but again, if a designer doesn’t take the time to tell his audience who he is, what inspires him, what his vision is, etc. and fails to communicate buying options, how is this connecting with the consumer?
3. If MySpace Fashion proves popular (how will this be determined? site visits, growth in group members for designers/celebrities featured?), they could be seen as cool again, giving a core set of fashion fans something to rally around and want to experience over and over. Building MySpace beyond a general social networking site where people can keep in touch with one another (and stalk) is smart and strategic if they want to stay relevant with consumers.
However, I see a few potential trouble spots with what MySpace is trying to do:
1. Minimal true fashion content
- As mentioned earlier, this week’s designer says zilch about himself or his apparel.
- The Plasticines don’t say anything about fashion, except in the video clip for NYLON studios. Even then, all we see is a lame stylist asking each band member what she likes and he stands there going “uh huh, that’d look cute, ok try it on.” Stylist? My mom could have done better.
- Why not shoot each girl in her favorite outfit and show us that? Better yet, tell us where we can buy it, or get pieces like it.
2. Technical Details Need Tweaks
- The first Fashion Video features Paris Hilton (prompted eye-rolling here) and the clip was crappy. I don’t think it’s my laptop (I have a Mac) or my connection (wi–fi). The clip was dark, splotchy and the audio wasn’t consistent.
- The InStyle News requires users to scroll up/down and left/right in order to view the content within the box. Users can click to InStyle’s site, but even so, something as small as this design inconvenience can quickly deter from a completely user-friendly experience, not to mention a crisp-looking site.
- When I click on Taida, the current MySpace Muse, I’m linked to WhoWhatWearDaily.com’s MySpace. If I’m told to “click here” for more info. on Taida, why am I not getting it? Again, disconnect.
3. Who is their ideal target?
MySpace will feature streaming video and recaps on New York’s Fashion Week later this month. Kinda cool, because if you really love fashion, you want the behind-the-scenes experience. All kinds of designers will be at NYFW – unknowns, perennial faves, those who are more Barneys and those who are more Fred Segal.
- Does MySpace Fashion plan on featuring complete fashion newcomers, hot-at-the-moments (Juicy Couture), young & hip (Stella McCartney), or classic & expensive (Narciso Rodriguez)?
- Who does MySpace envision they’ll attract? Do they want to be like People, Marie Claire, or are they aiming more for TeenVogue, but slightly more accessible? Or, none of the above?
I think MySpace could be going in the right direction, or at least they’re heading in the general area. I’ll be interested to hear about their successes, or user experience feedback, once this takes off and has time to connect with MySpacers.