“Swaag” isn’t a noun. It isn’t a verb. It isn’t biased toward men or women, nor does it favor fashion over food. As its developers pitch it, Swaag is a platform for a person’s self expression, and an app that engenders a community of tastemakers. Users share the penchants, habits, quirks and tastes that make up who they are as individuals. For such an idealistic purpose Swaag.it, a new lifestyle iPhone app that was silently launched by co-founders, Peter Chun, Alex Burgel and Mark Bufalini, hits it out of the park.
There’s been a surge of interest in photography-based apps recently. Even Facebook realized that engagement rates with social photography trumps text. “Facebook’s largest user engagement feature has become photos,” Chun explained to Digital Trends. With this in mind, Facebook not surprisingly acquired Instagram, boasting over 50 million content users. “Instagram went deeper and not only made photos beautiful and social, but also ubiquitous.” But Instagram’s platform and its competitors have been serving two-dimensional experiences. Swaag.it is more than just a photography app. As Chun explains, “Pictures today are more than friends, family and parties. It’s a culture, lifestyle, expression and art.”
Swaag.it’s design is complex. The team went through dozens of design iterations until they could agree on the unisex, two dimensional interface, backed by a muted gray backdrop and white borders. It’s deliberately minimalistic and seeks to avoid unnecessary distractions from the core content: the images. But in its simplicity is the beauty of the app’s design and intuitive interface.
Swaag.it enables its users to share a piece of their lives and express their individuality through photography. You’ll find anything from bags and accessories, to shoes and full-body looks publicly shared with its community. “Style and fashion is a big part of how people express themselves, which is why we’re starting there. We have some exciting things we want to do to expand upon this,” Chun said. On occasion, photographs of food and even a gadget haul pop-up on the platform — non-fashion content is entirely welcome.
Each photograph taken using Swaag.it can be edited for saturation, contrast, enhancements, brightness, and ten filter effects, like other photo apps. But Swaag.it has added multiple levels of engagement with its users. “We’re adding a layer onto the photo experience, by enabling our users to engage with photos in a fun and unique way,” Chun said.
The images can be seamlessly tagged with the clothing brands exhibited in the photo and the platform offers a feed for discovering the popular shared images in a public feed, where users can peruse the latest street fashion trends, or simply seek inspiration for their next wardrobe.
To add that extra level of engagement with its users, Swaag.it sports two gamification features. First, users can award sartorial“badges” like “Hipster,” Rocker,” and “Nerd Alert,” to other user-generated images, thereby categorizing the style or trend of the fashion depicted in the photo.
A second feature is “-VS-,“ a battle of preferences between styles, run by a community-based voting system. For example, users can allow Swaag.it users whether they prefer Air Jordans or Nike Air Force One. Users can even take to Swaag.it’s community to decide on whether an H&M or Zara fitted button down dress shirt would be preferable for a casual work day.
Swaag.it ultimately hopes that it will spur a cycle whereby users will share images, while its community will engage in the consumption of products tagged and shared by its community. “We’re making things that make up a person’s lifestyle and inspiration tangible, visible and ultimately clickable so others may consume and integrate these lifestyle elements into their own lives,” Chun said.
Swaag.it hopes to foster a community of tastemakers who are focused on sharing the very aspects of their lives that make them who they are. “Someone’s culture, their geography, music and perspective drive the small details such as accessories, hair styles, tattoos, bags and jewelry,” Chun said. “We want to provide a platform that enables people to share and discover these things.”
You can download Swaag.it from the iTunes store and watch the video below.