UPDATE: The Influence: Celebrity Style, Millennial Shopper


As of Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fashion enthusiasts often turn to celebrities and musical icons for style reference. And in a time and age when a majority of shopping is done over the Internet, it seems a sensible idea to combine the two elements and establish a shopable celebrity-style database.

Newly launched e-commerce site The Influence uses celebrity images and makes their outfits accessible by a simple click of a button.

Created by Heather Catania, a former executive producer at Nylon, and Brian Ludlow, the site was created to “eliminate the fractured experience of shopping influencer style. … Millennials want to make empowered purchases. We are driving content to commerce. Our culture is obsessed with Instagram, Just Jared and celebrity street style across Pinterest, but there is no one destination where these looks are tagged and available for purchase. The Influence is that one-stop shop,” Catania said.

The Influence had a soft launch on July 18 but will officially debut on Aug. 8. The Influence interface offers an easy navigation system and intuitive platform, lending itself to an authentic shopping discovery. The site launched with more than 450 content posts and over 100 featured Influencers, including Alexa Chung, Beyoncé, Alessandra Ambrosio, Rashida Jones, Elle Fanning and Amanda Seyfried.

The functionalities of the site are pretty straightforward. “The Influencer experience is tailored to fulfill and adhere to each user’s unique interests, allowing them to subscribe to the specific influencers they want to follow, as well as sign up for dedicated e-blasts and weekly newsletters,” Catania said. The Influence team will update its audience with reports on exactly what influencers are wearing head-to-toe and provide direct clicks so users can purchase the exact items they covet (or more accessible alternatives). Visitors can search and shop by several topics such as influencer, trend, product or occasion, all of which are integrated seamlessly into editorial and video content, Catania said. The shopable videos will also be in tutorial form where viewers can purchase items used.

There is a social-media component to the site where visitors are encouraged to engage with other media such as Instagram. This fall, the site will launch an interactive feature in which users will have a profile and their own “board,” where they can save looks and share their influencer boards with other users.

The Influence’s shopable videos were created by the company Revelens. Viewers can bookmark items without interrupting the viewing experience, enabling them to browse every look before clicking through to make purchases after it ends, Catania said.

As an opener, they partnered with denim line DSTLD and collaborated with Courtney Trop on a digital lookbook/photoshoot that will be in constant flux with other guests. “We love DSTLD because they have really embraced such a unique e-com element that focuses on convenience. When you buy a pair of jeans, DSTLD will send multiple sizes to make sure the fit is perfection. This alone shows that they really care for their customer, which really says something about their brand integrity,” she said. The Influence will be pairing them with a rotation of bloggers and editors where they will create custom content.

This month, they will be featuring Angel Haze, Rumer Willis and Phoebe Tonkin and will also be launching a men’s vertical division this fall, as well as a “Beauty Section” within the site.

The Influence team has a rich history in fashion.

Catania spearheaded The Influence company with years of experience under her fashion belt. As a teen, the New York native took her first step into the industry as a fashion media intern at Paper Magazine. “I literally stalked the intern coordinator [at Paper] until she hired me and worked there through college in between attending The Art Institute of Chicago and Central St. Martins in London. My first [official] job was at Nylon upon turning 21,” she said.

Catania has worked with Jane, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle and produced and cast fashion editorials for The New York Times, T Magazine, Italian Vogue, GQ, In Style, Teen Vogue, Details, i-D, Dazed & Confused, Another Magazine, Vogue Japan and Ten. She has also created branded advertising and viral social campaigns for Marc Jacobs, Theory, Alexander Wang, Nike, Diane von Furstenberg and retailers Urban Outfitters and Bloomingdale’s.

“We have an editorial army comprised of media-industry veterans from Nylon, Vogue, Refinery29 and Who What Wear,” Catania said. “Combining their knowledge, experience and know-how, we are lucky to say we have the fashion media dream team who are responsible for creating a comprehensive [site] that has broken the mold of style-icon- influenced shopping."