It’s happened to the best of us. You’re walking down the street, minding your own business when, BAM! There it is: the outfit of your dreams. Where did she get that skirt? How long ago did he purchase that watch? Is it still for sale? By the time you’re done reeling, your style muse is gone and only your unanswered questions remain.
Kate Bosworth knows how you feel. The actress is teaming up with an American Rag Cie retail chain co-owner to launch a fashion app called Style Thief founded by Samantha Russ.
The idea behind this ingenious app is to eradicate that gnawing ‘the one that got away’ feeling you get when you can’t run across the street fast enough to ask, “Where did you get that?” The app’s tag line is ‘Snap & Steal’ and the program aims to enable users to do just that. By taking a photo of a person or fashion item, you can then search for and buy the item in “a couple of clicks.”
“Everyone has fashion envy,” Bosworth told Women’s Wear Daily. “Everyone can relate to that feeling of looking at an editorial, for example—or a friend, or the runway, for that matter—wanting to steal something exactly as you’re seeing it, or something similar.”
While this app sounds like everyone’s sartorial savior, there are a few hoops through which a user must jump before being able to point, shoot, click and own a dream ensemble. WWD reports that the app sometimes forces users to register and buy something on another website before being able to move forward with their own ambitions, as apps and websites often do to gain revenue. There’s also the challenge of getting a clear, color-correct photo.
Bosworth will serve as the Style Thief chief marketing officer while her husband, director Michael Polish, was named the app’s chief creative officer. Her involvement, the app creators hope, will help Style Thief's personable marketing campaign outshine its competitors Style-Eyes, ASAP54, Snap Fashion and Styloot, all of which have similar functions.
Social media sharing sites like Tumblr and Instagram, where users have garnered national recognition based solely on their sense of style, have encouraged and altered online shopping. Start-up, “Instagram boutiques” are one example of the platform’s influence on fashion. Many of these boutiques, like the one by celebrity stylist Olari Swank called Swank Blue, simply curate trendier looks from around the web and offer them on one outlet. A culture of what Bosworth aptly named "fashion envy" has exploded with many new companies and stylists owing their popularity to it.
Local Ikire Jones designer, Walé Oyéjidé, said social media played a role in the national recognition his company has garnered. "Tumblr was a huge thing. There was a groundswell of basically word-of-mouth," he said. Though the Internet can create buzz, Oyéjidé said, it's still important to make personal, real world connections.
Style Thief further personifies virtual curation by allowing users to skip the aimless online search and target specific, desired looks in real life.
A beta version (the final testing stage) of Style Thief was launched last November and is currently available for iPhone users in the U.S. Within the next two months, the app is expected to launch in European countries like Germany and the U.K.
“Our intention is to be a tool for consumers to find something and ultimately purchase,” said Bosworth.