It’s been an appy year for fashion-lovers, with some of the biggest digital hits of recent years – Tinder, Shazam, Pinterest, and so on – turned into tools to help us hunt out the best frocks and keep one eye on the sales.
This was the year that we were finally spared the embarrassment of chasing people down the street to ask where their shoes are from, as a clutch of new visual recognition tools such as ASAP54 and FindSimilar by Cortexica arrived to help us track down our objects of desire online, or match them with the best lookalikes.
We’ve also seen the rise of shoppable social media. Brands like Nordstrom, Gap and Target have adopted Like2Buy as a neat way to side-step Instagram’s no-links rule, while ASOS’s #asseenonme campaign uses the same principle to link up user-generated images with their outfits to buy online.
Then there are the next generation of fashion curation sites like Lyst and Grabble, continuing what Pinterest started with cleverly tailored services to help us discover new brands, save our shopping lists and alert us when the good stuff goes on sale. Mallzee’s ‘Tinder for clothes’ approach made swiping the new scrolling, and turned shopping into the kind of activity that can fill three minutes at the bus stop as well as an evening on the sofa (or, y’know, in actual shops).
Beyond the startups, established brands have cottoned on to the potential of digital and we’re seeing more and more fashion houses attempting to use social media as something more exciting than just free window dressing. Always ahead of the pack, Topshop blazed a trail with its virtual reality fashion windows and catwalk previews on Facebook during London Fashion Weeks AW14 and SS15, and Burberry whipped out every tool in their social arsenal to promote their runway looks through Vines, GIFs, hyperlapse, streaming and Twitter’s brand new ‘buy’ button. Not to mention Instagram’s favourite weapon – Cara Delevingne.