Fashion is moving to a digital industry as e-commerce skyrockets past brick-and-mortar (why brave the crowds of Black Friday when you can hit up Cyber Monday from your couch?), and brands are increasingly looking for novel ways to help consumers discover their newest styles. At the same time, as it becomes easier than ever for fans to follow their favorite celebrities on social media, they want to feel connected with them in every way possible — including mimicking the outfits they’re sporting.
Looklive, a Y Combinator graduate company, streamlines the whole process. Their technology provides users with an efficient way to follow celebrities’ styles, determine exactly what their wearing, and get it themselves, within just a few clicks.
The platform displays hundreds of celebrities and influencers and, more importantly, their outfits. Looklive employs image analysis and data analytics to match photos to actual items of clothing in e-commerce shops.
For example, say you want to explore “Rihanna Leaving New York In Style.” The platform expands details on everything she’s wearing, from her jacket to sunglasses to boots. It shows you the actual item of clothing — which, considering these are top #celebs, are often priced a little out of the average shopper’s range — as well as a more moderately-priced “similar” option. Want to buy something? The platform takes you straight to the brand’s website.
You can browse related looks on the same celebrity or related influencers with similar style, and even follow your favorites to ensure you never miss their next look. Justin Bieber has over 31 thousand followers; Drake has over 24 thousand.
Though it seems simple, co-founder Scooter Taylor says the potential to streamline the process of “fashion identification” based off of cultural influencers lends itself to immediate buy-in from brands.
“We have the potential to change the way people shop for clothes. Really, they’re already shopping this way, but the steps to get from seeing something, to actually buying it is so disconnected,” says Taylor. “We’re shortening those steps all the way. We have this strong belief that culture is the driving force behind retail. If we stay close to that, the impact we’ll make will be huge.”
Image recognition itself is not new — there are apps that allow you to find products from an uploaded or snapped photo. Direct-to-buy products that connect to social media influencers — LIKEtoKNOW.it is one of the most popular on the highly-visual blogger-friendly Instagram — are also now commonplace.
But Looklive has combined all those features into one user-friendly and intuitive platform, allowing users to search both on desktop and mobile (the app is available on iOS). It meets shoppers where they are.
It’s obvious the platform is resonating — Looklive has reached over a million users with zero marketing spend and in 2016, powered over $1 million in sales. What’s more, over half of the site’s first-time users make a purchase.
Taylor says a few of the influencers they promote have begun to connect directly with the platform, but most of the traffic is driven by organic search and word-of-mouth.
“We’re the number 1 or number 2 result for things like ‘Justin Bieber fashion’ or ‘Drake fashion’,” says Taylor.
Brands can also have a presence and be followed on Looklive. Adidas, Nike, and H&M are some of the most-followed, but high-end brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are up there as well. Users can easily sort which of their favorite influencers have been snapped wearing items from that particular brand.
Looklive makes money through those clicked affiliate links, as well as one-off partnerships with specific brands or influencers. Taylor also says they’re working on a B2B product, a widget which will allow digital publishers to embed the technology into their own websites to use for their own photos. That will roll out in early 2018.
Out of the top 10 most-followed influencers on the platform only two are female, indicating a male-dominated user base. In fact, the platform was first launched to provide fashion discovery solely for men, stepping into a space that formerly had been mostly geared for a female audience.
It also used to be an entirely different company altogether. The startup began with the name Curateurs, though the general concept was the same. While in the YC accelerator program, the Curateurs team connected with the founders of a company called Looklive, which had the technology they wanted but was essentially defunct.
Curateurs purchased the technology and liked the name enough to keep it.
Now, the team is heads down getting more influencers, brands, and products onto the platform, refining the technology, and building their team.
“We’re excited for the evolution of the product. We look back a year ago to where were, and what we were thinking about and we sometimes laugh, because it’s so much bigger now,” says Taylor. “As we expand the team, with talented and diverse perspectives, we’ll be even further.”