LOOKBOOK.nu is an online community which allows members to upload photos of self created fashion looks, to tag the brand of the clothing and to hype (vote) others looks thereby increasing karma (reputation). So from a network economics and participatory psychology approach LOOKBOOK.nu ticks the boxes and has consequently grown into a considerable fashion presence. (Attention economy and social media/network theorists such as Yochai Benkler would love this.)
The standard of the ‘looks’ and creations on LOOKBOOK.nu rivals even the best of current fashion photography and professional creations. Go look if you don’t believe me. This crowd sourcing, consumer generated content approach to fashion blogging draws in social groups across the spectrum, think preppy, fashionista, hipster, & scene kid, they are all there with their dedicated followers. From each ‘look’ it is possible to click through to the retailer, to search looks according to colour, brand or style.
That LOOKBOOK.nu is home to a 200,000 member strong community and a global worldwide readership of over 3.5 million unique visitors per month indicates that this resource is worth unfathomable value to the retail and fashion industries. And of course they have begun to realise this.
Gap for example has been running a competition through LOOKBOOK.nu Team Skinny Vs. Flare which called for members to post looks declaring their team (including Gap clothing of course) the prizes awarded are in the hundreds of dollars and Gap uses the images in their upcoming advertising campaign. Mass exposure of Gap products, masses of traffic generation, free fashion shots, sounds like a whole lot of free work to me.