Is it a social gaming app, a shopping aggregator, or a consumer-focused version of the Sims? The iPad-based fashion and design community Stylmee counts as all three. For the general public, the program is centered around a “fashion social game,” in which users create, design, and run a virtual boutique, stocked with completely shop-able products culled from around the web. And the rest of the app’s features take off from there.
Stylmee stands out from its online commerce curation brethren through the high-tech world it invites users to create. Imagine if the brands you followed on Lyst, or the fashion you kept track of on Pinterest, could be coalesced into an entire 3D store experience. Even better, the “store” is run by you — to get started, choose a blank 1000, 2000, or 3000 square foot space and start decorating. Sharing, of course, is a key feature of the app, and players can take a break from building their own virtual boutiques to visit friends’ and other community members’ shops within the Stylmee “city.”
And to keep the city from getting boring, boutique “owners” are in competition with one another. When one member “loves” another’s item, that user receives Stylcash, which is how one’s store “makes” money. To get started, users open a 1000 square foot space, and can make in-app purchases — with real funds — to upgrade to a bigger store. (This may or may not suit your online shopping style. It’s a feature reminiscent of online gaming that’s pretty unrelated to the fashion industry. And after all, Svpply and Pinterest are free, even if they lack a cool 3D storefront component.)
However, putting aside the minor start-up costs — a new storefront is a few dollars, at most — Stylmee has the potential to take off. Its gaming aspect is reflective of the real world — all user boutiques start off in a virtual version of Sydney, Australia, and as they level up, their stores are transplanted to increasingly important global fashion cities. And the app is accessible without opening a virtual store at all, but of course, to fully engage with it, creating a boutique is imperative. What do you think? Would you curate your style and keep track of brands you like via a Sim City-esque online setting? And even more importantly, would your friends?