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The evolution of virtual styling from Polyvore to our days

Once was a wonderful hobby to create community and having fun and today's a job too

The evolution of virtual styling from Polyvore to our days Once was a wonderful hobby to create community and having fun and today's a job too

It’s thanks to Polyvore and the golden times of the internet if virtual styling today is a real occupation for those of made of creating outfits on a white background a source of income. Creating credible outfits and selling them to hypothetical virtual customers may sem largely facilitated thanks to social media visibility and the development of augmented reality at service of fashion and luxury retail (just think of virtual dressing rooms), but in reality it takes a lot of research and fashion awarenessIn this particular historical moment, virtual styling is not only a way of exercising an otherwise impractical profession for obvious reasons, but also a stratagem to remain trained in fashion and its mechanisms, as well as an hobby that allows everyone to plan those fantastic outfits to be finally worn when the restrictions will soften. If last year we trained not to lose hope with vision boards, this year we play in advance with 5 outfit ideas of y2k flavor inspired by Polyvore for 5 different occasions to live and enjoy post-pandemic, but first we take a nostalgic plunge into the past of the virtual styling platform that will never be forgotten.


Polyvore nostalgia

When Polyvore was born in 2007, an entire generation of millennials found a welcoming, quiet, stylish and inspiring place where they could be themselves and indulge in dreams and desires. Trying to put together a look that you would never had the courage to wear or creating graphics worthy of a style selection of glossy newspapers, also developed a link between the user and the community of the site that boasted at least 20 thousand members at the time of the shotdown, after the acquisition of the domain by Ssense, leaving a community that on 2D outfits had built a mode of personal and social expression. The platform was perhaps the first attempt to digititalize styling, 3 years before the advent of Instagram, on which through cutouts from online catalogs but also from newspapers and magazines thousands of images from the most intriguing collections were available to be mixed and interpreted to achieve a mood. The creative class of virtual styling poured on Instagram after 2018 (on which @polyvore profile is still present but unactive), where between archival pieces and passion for sneakers and Japanese fashion interesting accounts as @styledbybibby, @stylebyjes, @styledbylivm, @styledsslut, @elytskk create very interesting moodboards inspired by celebrity style and the latest trends.


What is like being a virtual stylist?

"Being a virtual stylist on Instagram is a springboard in the world of styling, then to become a profession you have to be inventive and expand in other areas, be inspired, creative and have an eye for the trends of the period, as well as giving your page a precise cut" tells us Anna, 23 years old, genius behind the account of virtual styling Y2K @styledbybibby by 106 thousand followers. From her passion for the Bratz to styling on Stardoll, Anna joined Polyvore in 2007 where she built a strong community that later moved to Instagram by force of things. Today she dreams of being able to create her own brand through her social success.

What do you remember about Polyvore?

"Polyvore for me was like having an endless closet, I could imagine dressing as I wanted, without spending anything. I created looks almost every day when I felt inspired, I did so out of passion, I never thought that years later I would do it for work. Over the years I started to have many followers (I have reached 100k in recent years), so much so that from about 2016 I started to collaborate with small brands.


You collected collaborations with important brands like I Am Gia and many of your looks have gone viral, how do you work at the moment?

"I started working more in november 2020. Today I mainly work with American and British clients through personal styling services (creating looks based on budget/style and occasions) and sponsorship on IG. Thanks to the "Shop the Virtual Looks" section on my website and the Rewardstyle platform, I earn a small commission on buying products through my links. Things are going well, I try to keep engagement with followers high and soon I will start a Master in Digital Marketing to make the most of my passion and create better services that generate happy and returning customers."


Do you think that’s an area to invest in for the future?

"There is certainly a great future for the sector, but in Italy virtual styling is not as widespread as abroad, where not only models and personalities require services to change style or to have a top look at a ceremony, but also common girls. Being a stylist requires dedication and lots of critical attention, but what pays the most in the beginning is being present on many platforms and networking with other creators, in order to increase mutual visibility."

How to start creating a style moodboard

After the closure of Polyvore the most popular sites on which to create looks are Urstyle, Shoplook, Trendme, Fashmates and the app of the British it-girl Alexa Chung, Villoid. All platforms are inspired by the system of creation of the late styling site, where among the many options of garments available you can create endless look ideas, add texts with different fonts, external images and accessories. For a stranger to the world of virtual styling it might be difficult to create successful looks, but don’t worry, it’s not instantaneous. First, you need to have the right amount of inspiration and a theme, look for images from which to take inspiration and practice to extrapolate and interpret a mood, to recreate the desired final effect. Pinterest and Instagram are trusted allies in this process. To compose the outfit then better start from a garment that you want to enhance and then build up by adding details and finishers, always remaining on the theme. If the white background is a bit alienating, there is always the dear Canva to offer an excellent working platform for more creative moodboards, such as what Nss G-club has created for you picturing 5 different occasions that we hope to live freely once the pandemic restrictions will relax.