More on Technology, Fashion, and the Future of Shopping: StyleFeeder
September 5, 2007
Thanks to my compilation of all the fashion and shopping web 2.0-type sites I could find, I got plenty of emails from people involved in fashion, technology, and marketing. One of the most interesting was from the PR rep for a new site called StyleFeeder. It encompasses bookmarking/social shopping, reviews and recommendations, lets you follow people who share your tastes (your “Style Twins”, and you can even subscribe to their feeds), and has a customized personal shopper that users can employ. To quote the very interesting StyleFeeder Tech blog, their “focus is on helping you discover products serendipitously, without asking you to describe exactly what you want.”
Although at first I’ll admit I thought “isn’t that just Style Hive with a clever opening page?” (if you go sign up, you have to click on images that appeal to you and it shows you others based on what you select). However, there’s much to it than that – not only you can look at other profiles and see if you share their taste, Style Feeder introduces your Style Twins though a collaborative filtering algorithm – to quote Wikipedia, this is “the method of making automatic predictions (filtering) about the interests of a user by collecting taste information from many users (collaborating)”. Need an example? Those Amazon “also recommended” lists you get when you view an item is a result of collaborative filtering – they compare your purchase history with users who’ve bought the same or similiar items (and how they’ve rated them).
Yes, there are collaborative filtering search engines and systems, but “one thing that really sets StyleFeeder apart from other “social shopping” sites is its unique recommmendation engine that was developed by an MIT PhD (and there’s some seriously smart people involved). The engine is 100% personalized and bases recommendations on your interests, product ratings, and personal information in real-time updates (it is constantly updated based on each users’ latest item ratings so the more you use it, the closer it comes to hit the mark with your personal style in its search results, which search the entire web!)”, according to PR rep who emailed me.
Not content to simply take his word for it (nothing personal – journalists are skeptics like that), I signed up for the site so I could try it for myself, and although it takes a while to save enough items so the system can get an idea of your taste, I could see how all will come together nicely once I’ve been using it for a while (you can download a toolbar and it’s easy to save stuff while you’re browsing normally). It’s worth checking out if you do a lot of shopping online and you want to narrow the field, or if you just want to find people with similiar tastes to get advice from – and who doesn’t?
Two more random, yet related things – their blog is called “The StyleFeeder Tech Blog…How Nerds Invaded Fashion Space”. As a fellow nerd who appreciates fashion, I found that highly amusing and awesome. The other thing is the founder’s wife’s stunning blog – La Tartine Gourmande. Her photography is simply amazing.