Putting Fashion and Style in Context

Angie and I often talk about how lucky we are that the YouLookFab community developed the way it did. So many smart, fun, compassionate people in one place all talking about something that we are passionate about too: fashion and style. There is seemingly no end to the interesting questions, great new outfit ideas and fun topics.

We’ve also noticed that the interest doesn’t end with the outfits. Angie’s occasional posts that dig into the mechanics of the fashion industry, its role in society and its impact on the environment always generate a lot of enthusiastic and thoughtful discussion. This totally makes sense: if you’re interested in fashion and style, then you’re probably also interested in the context of fashion and style. You aren’t satisfied just accepting the lack of small sizes, or the abundance of summer dresses in mid-Winter, or the sudden hike in prices. You want to know why things are the way they are, and discuss this with other people who, like you, see fashion as more than just a pretty ensemble.

So we’re going to experiment with the idea of writing more about the context of fashion on YLF. We don’t plan to post less of Angie’s advice and analysis, but we would like to post more about the broader context of Angie’s articles.

Since this is a little more like journalism than Angie’s current writing, we reached out to a journalist to help us get it off the ground — our very own Michelle McQuigge, a long time YLF forum member. While Angie continues to post as before, Michelle and I will be looking for opportunities to start conversations around the business, culture, technology and environmental impact of fashion. Obviously, as an 18 year veteran of the fashion industry, Angie is sure to be our most important “source”.

We’re not quite sure where this will end up, but we’re starting things off with today’s article by Michelle — some fascinating background on imminent apparel price hikes and their likely consequences for consumers. We hope you enjoy it!

Get Fast Feedback on Your Photos with YLF Realtime

We noticed two interesting things about the forum over the last few months. First, from time to time people need quick feedback. Often, they are about to go out and they want some input on their outfit (the “date night” scenario), but there are other situations too, like being in the middle of a closet cleanup and needing a quick second opinion on one particular item.

The second thing we noticed was that there is almost always someone online in the forum, and during much of the day there are several people online.

So we thought, why not make it easier to get immediate feedback for a quick question. And the YLF Realtime feature was born.

It is very simple to use. When you start a new conversation you will see the new “Realtime” option in the form under the heading “Ask for a Fast Response”.

If you enable this option then your post will appear in the sidebar, in a widget like the one on the right. People can view the photos, read your post, and reply to it, right there without changing pages. Only one realtime post can appear in the sidebar at a time, so only the most recent one is displayed. As a reader, if you reply to a realtime post then it will be replaced by the next one in the list.

There are a couple of other differences with a normal post. For one the post appears in the “Realtime” category. Also, the new post indicator will be magenta instead of green in the thread list.

As always, this is easiest to understand if you try it yourself. Open the front page of the forum to see the example post we have created. Type and submit a quick reply and watch the post disappear from the sidebar.

The Realtime Page

You can see all the recent realtime threads in one place by clicking the little clock near the top right of the forum front page (alongside the little heart that takes you to your favorites).

The “Speedy” Role for Realtime Replies

There is a new role associated with realtime replies called “Speedy”. If you reply to a realtime post within ten minutes of it being posted then you will receive a point towards this role. Five points over the last 30 day period and you will be awarded the role itself.

Realtime Limitations

Note that although realtime threads have the advantage of being highlighted in the sidebar, they also have a few limitations.

  1. Realtime posts must have at least one and no more than three photos. The requirement of at least one photo also means that you have to be an “active member” to create a realtime post.
  2. Replies to realtime posts can’t include photos.

Realtime Polls

Finally, you can add a Yay or Nay poll to a realtime post. In fact, polls are particularly useful here because they allow people to give a really quick response.

We’re calling this a “beta” feature because we expect to modify it based on feedback and what we observe. Be sure to let us know what you think using the feedback thread in the forum, or here in the comments.