Little Black Door: Our relationship with fashion has changed, not just because of the pandemic. Months in lockdown means people are probably more aware of their fashion purchases and how they consume, given its been such a long time without socialising. But the oft-talked about ‘Clueless wardrobe’ which would allow women to both see into their collections, as well as share and potentially borrow from friends, has yet to go mainstream. Now a UK startup aims to change this.
The Little Black door app, previously in closed beta, has just launched on the Apple iOS store here and on Android.
The app allows women to share the content of their wardrobes, in an Instagram-like manner by creating collections (“Lookbooks”), as well as curating their private wardrobe for their own use, with a focus on premium and luxury fashion. Women, says LBD, can “see, style and share”, as well as borrow clothes offline, and resell them.
The Lookbook feature allows women to share wardrobes collections with friends or followers in a controlled way, a feature that lets users borrow from each other.
Co-founder Lexi Willetts tells me: “We’d simply gotten to a point where we didn’t know what fashion we owned, given that almost every other area of life allows this. Most fashion can be easily dash-boarded on our phones – we couldn’t understand why our wardrobe wasn’t! Equally the effort required to list an item on resale was also super hard.”
Willetts and co-founder Marina Pengilly came up with the app when they realized they could make as much as £30,000 a year reselling their luxury clothes and accessories online. LBD is going after four key trends: the rise of resale (Depop etc); rentals like Rent the Runway; AI in e-commerce; and re-receipts.
Users upload their wardrobe by taking a photo of an item. The app will then recognize the item using computer vision. Lookbooks showcasing fashion collections, new and old also have an “I have this” button, allowing users to add items to their own wardrobes, or add as they buy automatically via links to retailers.
Another key feature allows users to see into their own wardrobes to see what they have, and, crucially, see how much they’ve spent, and own, in value.
Users can also create a Lookbook, not unlike on Pinterest, which can be shared with friends or a wider fashion community in a public or private group-controlled way. Lookbooks can be shared with a user’s network to allow them to see your style, or borrow the outfit in real life. As well as this, LBD itself also curates a feed of fashion/lifestyle news and surveys.
Willetts says partnerships with retailers and supplier deals for sales and fashion repairs are also in the offing.
LBD competes with the ‘Save Your Wardrobe’ app.
But is pushing the fact that it places a greater emphasis on sharing the wardrobe as well also allowing people to borrow items, with this focus on premium and luxury fashion – ADD …this is a truly social wardrobe.
The business model is likely to be a Premium version that unlocks extra features, affiliate revenues, advertising, and resale commissions.
Disclosure: Mike Butcher was an early, informal, adviser.