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Earlier this month, Polyvore was acquired by Ssense, a Montreal-based online retailer, and shut down — a decision that Ssense confirmed was final last week. Founded in 2007, Polyvore gave users the tools to create collages of clothing, beauty, and home products, and in doing so, created a community of people getting creative and following each others’ work. The uses of Polyvore were many: Shoppers hunted for new brands, fiction writers mapped out their characters’ wardrobes, and teens made their quasi-ironic mood boards for Instagram.
Last week, we put out a call to former Polyvore users to see whether they had found new platforms that suited their needs, and roughly two dozen people wrote in with suggestions and comments. Here’s what they had to say.
Line Olsen, a longtime Polyvore user from Norway, has tested out Villoid (you know, the startup Alexa Chung helped launch) but notes that the mood board creation tool on its app is missing beauty and home goods. Villoid also doesn’t let users make freestyle boards; you have a variety of grid formats to choose from, but you can’t stray from them. Olsen’s conclusion: “This app is basic.”
Olsen has also been testing out Jux, another basic mood board app that lets you upload images to a simple square grid. You can perform web searches for images within the app, but it doesn’t surface very many options. (Searching for “Charlotte Rampling,” for example, only brings up 30 images of the actress.) Olsen says she’s also tried Niice, which “looks like Jux, but has a better search engine.”
A number of Polyvore users wrote in to suggest ShopLook, a startup that launched a little less than a year ago. Though founder and CEO Laya Adib says Polyvore was the inspiration for ShopLook, its original mission was to create an AI stylist that would give style recommendations based on a picture of any clothing item — and that AI stylist would be trained by the Polyvore-like mood boards users could make on the site.
Almost immediately after Polyvore shut down, ShopLook saw an opening in the market and put out a PSA to former users saying it would start adding features to make it more like the defunct site: the ability to follow other users, comment on outfits, direct-message people, add a wider range of products, and download sets from Polyvore. Because ShopLook is still a web-only product, it’s also looking to put out iOS and Android apps.
“Right now there’s not a huge amount of selection to build outfits from [on ShopLook], but they been welcoming, engaged, and have a very nice set editor,” writes former Polyvore user Alana Deckert in an email. “I’ll probably be moving there as soon as they have their new features up and running.”
Deckert says that while she waits for ShopLook to get up and running, she’s been playing more of the freemium dress-up game Love Nikki. (“But that’s really not the same thing, even if it is pretty fun.”)
“So far as I’ve seen, the only other real competitor for Polyvore’s niche is iqon.jp. Their set editor is EXTREMELY similar to Polyvore’s, but there’s a barrier in it all being in Japanese, and that’s probably going to keep it from being too popular with the ex-Polyvore users,” Deckert writes.
Britt Sellers, a former Polyvore user, writes that she’ll probably turn to GlamOutfit, an app built as a digital closet organization tool that lets you map out looks and style other people’s closets.
For Sue, a self-described “working mum with grown children but with [an] overflowing creative mind,” Polyvore was a “chill” place to be creative and make friends around the world.
“I did study graphic design for two years but never completed my studies so it was a perfect platform for my expression and for fitting in with family life,” she writes in an email. “At the moment all I am doing is half heartedly creating some boards on Pinterest on my iPhone but haven’t the heart to publish them yet. Nothing compares to Polyvore for now.”
Indeed, a number of people wrote in to say that they had no intention of starting over on a new creative platform.
“I am NOT planning on joining any other creative community-based websites at this time. As you can probably imagine, I’m not very keen on putting any more of my time, effort and creativity into building up another user-generated content platform until some new laws can be established that protect us, the user-community,” writes Polyvore fan Elizabeth Line.
“There is no replacement for Polyvore!” writes Lerato Mathete, a former user based in South Africa. “Moving forward I’ll just put my energy into something new that I’ve always wanted to do, i.e learning jewellery design & watchmaking.”
In the days since Polyvore’s closure, former users have congregated on platforms like Tumblr to try to find friends whose contact information they lost in the shutdown and to promote alternatives, like Urstyle, Trendme, and Chicvore.
One user’s suggestion? An old-fashioned IRL scrapbook.