The shows just wrapped, and as with every season, the fashion-followers get excited about spring’s new looks just as fall is setting in, “Designers were effectively getting people interested in their items and then the consumer would kind of forget about them for four or five months,” says Chris Morton, CEO of Lyst.com, a new social shopping site where users can follow their friends and favorite retailers, share looks and then click to buy directly. “When I was going to shows, I found that people were making notes for themselves in their calendars saying, ‘Aright, beginning of January, let’s check for this particular dress or skirt.’ I don’t think that’s a very sensible way of remembering.”
Thankfully, Lyst.com just rolled out Runway Tracking for the Spring 2012 collections. Within hours of the shows, images of each look were uploaded to Lyst.com and users could simply click to add individual items to their individual lists. When that item hits stores, users will get a notification and can click to buy—no handwritten calendar notes necessary.
And the user doesn’t need to comb through every show—they can also rely on the network of Lyst users for recommendations; if a friend or store a user follows (Harrods, Bergdorf’s, Net-a-Porter, among others, use Lyst) adds anything to their lists, it shows up on the user’s feed too. “It’s really kind of like Twitter,” says Morton. “But instead of sending and receiving short messages, you share and receive products that you love or think are really cool.”
Oddly enough, this digital platform mirrors the dynamic of the world’s largest real-life dressing room: if enough people add the Alexander Wang skirt on one user’s list to their own lists, it’s the digital equivalent of a glowing compliment while they’re trying it on. “It’s reinforcement, social validation,” says Morton. “A lot of times, that sort of validation leads to purchase. That’s something we didn’t expect, but have been seeing a lot of.”
It’s also an added bonus for retailers (Lyst.com works with hundreds, from The Row to Ralph Lauren), who can get a snapshot, months ahead, of how certain pieces might fare in the marketplace. And with users numbering in the hundreds of thousands, and doubling before fashion week, there’s a strong pool from which to draw. Morton recalls a golden jacket from a few seasons back that caused a frenzy of excitement after its debut on the runway, but was never actually produced. Only after there was outcry over the item’s absence did the designer go back and make it. “Hopefully, with Runway Tracking, that mistake wouldn’t have been made,” says Morton.