Between Pinterest, Fancy, Have to Have, Pose, Fashism, Lucky Shopper, Thre.ad, Snapette and about three dozen others, it’s fair to say the world is not in dire need of another fashion inspiration or social shopping app.
However, all that aside, there are a few things that make Kaleidoscope different. For one, its high-quality feed of street-style images. Instead of depending on user-generated content for fashion inspiration, Kaleidoscope displays thumbnails of photographs pulled from lookbook.nu or produced on its own. Between 30 and 50 new images are posted each day. The startup is currently forming partnership with select bloggers to bring their content to Kaleidoscope’s feed as well.
Kaleidoscope also brings quality curation to another key part of its service: product recommendations. The app uses ShopStyle‘s API to locate products that match the clothes in each photograph, and internal staff — i.e., the startup’s interns — filter through the options to offer users the best fit.
Also, it is integrated with third-party networks which makes it easy to share looks straight to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The app only has a few thousand users at present, but the expectation is that the number will multiply quickly now that it’s available on iPhone. The company is also doing a big marketing push around Coachella, including a partnership with Details magazine.
Why I am Curious?
I am curious if this app will be more successful than its earlier counterparts that do not have the aforementioned features. It seems as though they are fixing the things that tend to go wrong with other fashion inspiration based platforms. There is something to be said about engaging users via user-generated content. However, the flipside of this is the quality of the content. The street-style photos may not always be high quality or form a cohesive content pool. I like Kaleidoscope’s model of not depending on the user for content but forming partnerships with an already established content curation sites or bloggers with an existing following.
However, the most interesting thing to me about this app is their integration with the ShopSytyle API to make product recos. I like looking at inspirational “real-people” fashion photos but I do not have the time or the patience to figure out where to find the pieces to put together a look that I may like. I hope that through this API integration, Kaleidoscope will be able to point people to where they can purchase a piece they see on the photo but also make recommendations for similar looks at different price points. Because for some reason it so happens most things that tend to grab my attention on these curation platforms tend to be at the “aspirational” price point.