Will Fashion Finally Catch Up to the Social Network?

Elle magazine declared a victory for online fashion initiatives Monday afternoon, saying that two fashion social networking sites have finally generated enough buzz in the industry and in the media to – along with a significant chunk of labels that have created Facebook fan pages – signify fashion’s embrace of technology has at long-last arrived.

We were set to pop open the champagne along with the folks at Elle, but, upon further inspection of the evidence presented, we’d like to declare only a partial victory – the halfway lap, if you will.

Marc Jacobs made a bang, but fashion still has a way to go before declaring social media victory.

Elle is correct to say that a decent number of designers and brands have made a push into the Facebook market. Marc Jacobs, in fact, recently ran a contest centered around Facebook to promote his new fragrance, Bang. However, if you really think about it, shouldn’t every designer, fashion label and retailer have some sort of Facebook presence by now? Businesses in other industries have long since figured out that a Facebook presence is necessary for success into the future.

The magazine also points to the pending launch of PassportStyle, a fashion social network through which designers can interact with their customers, which is set to go live later this week as evidence that fashion has finally risen in technology. The Web site has a great concept, but Elle is right to also point out that it may not necessarily be successful, since it seems no one has bothered to investigate whether shoppers really want to use this kind of site.

Finally, Elle says that the re-launch of Bizzy this Tuesday is an important advance because the site recommends boutiques based on ratings from users. They leave out one important factor: Bizzy recommends all sorts of local businesses from restaurants to parks and a wide variety of stores, not just clothing boutiques, so it doesn’t really count as a fashion-specific advance.

Overall, fashion brands and fashion startups have been making some smart social moves lately. We just wish they’d hold the high praise, since most of these “innovations” should have been pushed for long ago – ya know, around the time the rest of the world started using technology for business purposes. It’s certainly not too late for someone to take the lead in bringing fashion into the digital age, but many brands are still struggling with the basics. Let’s just get someone on it already.

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