Social media stars are wielding increasing power in the fashion industry; what happens when Jess Cartner-Morley trades places with influencer Doina Ciobanu?
The front row is a world divided. Montagues and Capulets, in bare legs rather than doublet and hose. Between the two blocs editors on the one hand, influencers on the other there is little love lost. Last autumn, American Vogue staffers branded the influencers pathetic, describing the job as turning up, looking ridiculous, posing, twitching in your seat as you check your social media feeds. The influencers hit back, branding their Vogue attackers as haughty and out of touch. (Get back to your Werthers Originals, was a particularly choice comeback.) We think they are airheads; they think we are fogeys. So, to find out whos right, I have arranged a job swap at London fashion week. Doina Ciobanu is 22, has 225,000 followers on Instagram (at time of writing), and attends shows as a model, VIP guest and brand ambassador. Ciobanu grew up in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, where she began blogging aged 16. She moved to Bucharest at 19, and now lives in London. For Saturday at London Fashion Week, I will do her job and she will do mine.
My job is to write about the shows. Writing to deadline frames my days and everything else designer interviews, checking out up-and-comers, analysing emerging trends has to fit around that. Doinas job is to provide online content, mostly self-portraits with fairly brief captions, some of which are arranged in collaboration with labels whose clothes or beauty products she wears in the photos. I am an expert; Doina is an avatar.
Shout is a sharing app. Think of it as a stripped-down Pinterest for those with no interest in messing with pretty photos of cookies and you get the general idea. And I think, with a little work, it could be a go-to collaboration tool for partners shopping for supplies, couples interested in not buying two boxes of beans at the grocery store, and a micro-blogging platform for the plugged in.
To use it you create lists and then add items to those lists. The lists can be collaborative and public so anyone can add items to the list. You can share lists with friends and share single items from lists. The virality is embedded in the process so the more lists you share the cooler your Shout app becomes.
The creator, Jeff Weisbein, started a blog in 2003 called BestTechie and most recently created a sharing service called KYA before creating Shout. I want to provide an easier way to save, share, and curate content for yourself and/or with friends and followers, he said.
Weisbein raised $450,000 from angels and theyre working on a Seed Round of $1.55 million. They just launched Shout so they dont have many numbers yet but it looks like things are on an upward swing.
Our mission with Shout is to make it incredibly easy to save, share, and curate content. One of the core features in Shout is the three types of Lists (Private, Public, and Collaborative), the ability Shout content with your family and/or friends to a single list, and the fact you can easily follow a curated list with content that interests you curated by a human, he said. For example, my mom created a private, collaborative list called Mom Links and Shouts content to it that she wants me to read/look at. I love tech, so I created a public Tech News list where I Shout tech news stories I think are interesting, cool, and important.
While I agree that what the world needs now is another social media platform like I need a hole in the head, Shout is a bit different and a bit more interesting. I can see this as a next generation Tumblr wedded with a To-Do list, a perfect futuristic hybrid of utility and pleasure that will democratize media and all that jazz. It could also be a cool way to see who likes Grace Slick. We shall see.