Reminiscing on fashion, community and Polyvore in this digital age

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Polyvore was a website that gave people a place to store and share their fashion ideas.  Photo courtesy of Chicismo

Polyvore was a website that gave people a place to store and share their fashion ideas. Photo courtesy of Chicismo

I was absolutely obsessed with magazine and editorial design growing up. At my local library, I would go right to the fashion magazines and pour through the pages, paying attention to how products were placed in the page in a balanced way to entice the readers into a purchase. 

When I received the New York Times at home, I would obsessively look at the layout designs, especially for the style section. To me, I thought it was magical that someone could think to place products in a certain way on a page that pleased me aesthetically as well as made me lust after the clothes, accessories and other things that were being laid out.

When my friend introduced me to the website Polyvore a couple years ago, I dove into that community with the same obsession I had pouring over layouts. Polyvore was a social commerce website that allowed community members to create virtual mood boards or collages and share them with others of a similar interest. 


An example of what a collage on Polyvore looked like.  Image via    Dazed Digital

An example of what a collage on Polyvore looked like. Image via Dazed Digital

This appealed to me more than Pinterest. Although both platforms were mood boards, Polyvore was easy in the sense that I could actually create collages and layouts of items and looks that would work well together. I could stack, crop, and create texts that would help me practice and develop layouts of the ones I had admired.

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Although Polyvore may have died, what hasn’t died is the passion I have for design and the seemingly large amount of creative communities cropping up overnight. As the digital sphere shifts, so will fashion and how it is shared.

The community aspect was what sold me, as I could also talk “shop” and share ideas I had for style designs when it came to minimalism in fashion, how I felt about neon patterns and my take on mom jeans. 

I would sit on the couch in my living room for hours, chatting about fashion and putting together online collages that I would share with my community of fashionistas and friends.

Although Polyvore, sold in 2018, is no longer, I thought about this community that I had left behind recently for many reasons.

I had been wondering where I had gotten my passion for design and layouts. That answer is simply: Polyvore and the library. The other reason was helping me to realize how much of an impact a digital community has on us now, more than ever. For example, in the fashion world, I don’t have to look any further than Instagram, Tik Tok and other places to get inspired by the latest trends, as Polyvore had done for me back then. Better yet, there are many groups and digital spaces for fashion nerds and designers to come together.

Although Polyvore may have died, what hasn’t died is the passion I have for design and the seemingly large amount of creative communities cropping up overnight. As the digital sphere shifts, so will fashion and how it is shared.

What Polyvore emphasized the most, and what I stand by, is fashion trends and styles only live because communities constantly take things apart, make them their own and share their ideas, much like the early 2010s tween girl on the couch who would make digital collages for hours. 

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Kimberly Nguyen is the associate digital editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.nguyen@uconn.edu.

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