Life Style

Is this new app the future of fashion retail?

By Sean Fitzgerald, 24 Hrs

MeSpoke helps fashion lovers share what brands they're wearing.

MeSpoke helps fashion lovers share what brands they're wearing.

These days, it feels like we’re getting everything from our social media apps, including tasty recipes, fitness advice, restaurant reviews and the latest news headlines.

Fashion has seeped into the digital space as well, with clothes, accessories and makeup being discussed on Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and thousands of blogs. Stylish folks can present their latest purchases in lookbooks or haul videos, or tag their ‘outfit of the day’ with #OOTD.

Really, it was only time that an app like MeSpoke came along.

The app, which launched in the summer and is hovering around a thousand users, is what founder Sid Khurrum Hasan calls “the interactive social future of retail commerce.”

With MeSpoke, users (known as ‘speakers’) can find out what brands their friends and family members are wearing, and then purchase the item in a super efficient manner. If it’s a chilly day, and you don’t want to head to the mall in your bulky winter coat to track down that awesome necklace your cousin wore last weekend, you can just find her MeSpoke profile and buy it from your phone.

The idea for the app came to Hasan nearly five years ago, when he was based in Silicon Valley and lived beside a professional football player. The athlete played for the San Francisco 49ers and wasn’t an especially well-known player, but he was monetized by a sportswear company for his physical appearance – basically acting as a walking billboard. The brand assumed that people wanted to buy whatever he was wearing.

“Our assertion is that the face of retail is changing, and the future of it will be driven by 100% social influences,” says Hasan, speaking to 24 Hours from St. Petersburg, Fla. “And when we speak of fashion, we speak of three categories: Garments, accessories and makeup. With MeSpoke, you can tag everything you can wear, hold or apply to your body.”

So, if you’re using the app and want to show off the highlights from your latest shopping trip, you can snap a picture – or grab one from your camera roll – and then tag the various things you’re wearing. You then give MeSpoke two pieces of information: the category you’re tagging, and the item’s brand.

The app will automatically add websites for the brands that you’re wearing, giving your social network the opportunity to buy the same products. You can certainly see the appeal for retailers, especially since Hasan says that user-generated content is 92% more effective than brand advertising.

You trust your pals more than a big company, right?

If you’re a fan of something that appears on your ‘billboard’ – which is what this app calls a newsfeed – you can select the ‘volume’ of that item and rate it from zero to five. MeSpoke then turns that information into a social capital score for the person that uploaded it.

“There is no ‘liking’ and no commenting with MeSpoke,” explains Hasan. “We resolve three fundamental questions: What brand is that, where did you get it, and how can I get it?”