Before the rise of bloggers, the word “accessibility” among the fashion elite has been taboo subject. Thanks to people like Scott Schuman and Tommy Ton, today, the flood gates have opened, allowing just about anyone with a laptop to decide what is or isn’t “style.” While traditional magazine publishers cling to the tails of the latest trends, bloggers have been able to satiate the immediacy of the latest fashion to the minute with Tumblr and Twitter at hand. But with the launch of fashion startup, Thre.ad, all it takes to become a fashion influencer or consumer is Thre.ad and a camera.
On Thre.ad, the ease with which you can browse the latest street style is collected in a “thread,” a pinboard-style lookbook of user-aggregated uploads by new-found street style photographers. Browsing the thread should give viewers a good idea about what is or isn’t popular this season. To better determine what is or isn’t the latest trend-setting fashion, users can simply peruse Thre.ad’s “top 100,” which lists the top 100 influential uploaded images, determined by the popularity and engagement.
By coupling easy image uploading with a user-base of fashionably-inclined taste-makers, Thre.ad is the beginning of the true democratization of fashion, and at the helm is its founder and CEO, Mimi Nguyen.
Put simply, Thre.ad is a mix between a microblog and a pinboard, but Thre.ad has succeeded in fostering an avid community of fashion-interested microbloggers, who share, praise or comment on uploaded images. “It connects people through a focused interest — their eye for style — but allows for updates to happen instantaneously or in real-time. It’s less focused on the friend connection,” Nguyen told Digital Trends. “Thre.ad is a hyper focused community for fashion. Fashion isn’t so much about who’s friends with whom, but about the visual aesthetics and a common interest.”
Thre.ad aspires to attract a cohesive mix of both high-fashion and budget fashionistas, which, as Mimi describes, is in fact a symbiotic relationship. High-fashion tends to come straight from the runway of designers, but for most, such pieces are not affordable. But bloggers are known for adopting trends by substituting runway pieces for its affordable mimicries.
“The everyday person may not be able to afford some of the higher end styles, but will still aspire for that look and be influenced to shop at the lower price points that provide the same looks or trends,” Nguyen explained. For those of you wondering what the higher end fashionistas get in return from the Thre.ad community, Mimi offers a frank insight into today’s state of fashion. “High-fashion is also looking to the streets to see not so much what is begin purchased but how things are put together,” she said.
Here’s one surprising fact: Outside of the high- and budget-fashion allure, Thre.ad has not only been adopted by the female demographic, but also has been seeing an uptick in adoption by men.
Staying true to its accessibility, Thre.ad launched its beta with an accompanying iPhone app, allowing its users to shoot style on the streets with their iPhones and have their images immediately uploaded to their pinboard.
While traditional publishers have been struggling to find a cohesion between the contemporary and the traditional, Thre.ad’s founder is well aware of the capabilities of technology in the fashion industry, and has translated her vision into her product. “I think the goal of mobile, or a trend that we’re seeing even on the Web nowadays, is to still get as much information you want in the least amount of time, not have to work so hard to find that information, and to only consume information that is most relevant to you,” said Nguyen. In fact, with its digestible form factor, the mobile app is one we favor over its Web counterpart. And soon, Android users will be graced with a Thre.ad app of their own.
The only downside that we’ve seen, which exists in most pinboard-like services, is the quality of image uploads. While Pinterest has had to take down the occasional illicit images, Thre.ad must be attentive about monitoring the type of content uploaded by users. For instance, on occasion, while browsing, we came across images solely of food, which we’re quite certain doesn’t belong.
While Thre.ad is in its beta stages, Nguyen has high hopes for the service’s ability to connect users through a mutual appreciation of fashion. “I think fashion is already accessible to everyone. Fashion is purely the way we clothe ourselves, and we do that every day. I hope Thre.ad can help people realize that.” said Nguyen. “It’s a global connector, a silent language that tells so much about a person. Thre.ad is the enabler to showcase this fashion and Thre.ad can do it in a way that is instantaneous to everyone no matter where you live.”