[Trendzilla] Judging a LookBook By Its Hype

Meet Olivia, 17, a resident of Orange County—or, as she calls it, “Where the wild things aren’t.”

Olivia’s still in high school; loves Valley Campbell, Erin Wasson X RVCA, Chloe, and Dolce & Gabbana; and is currently debating whether she wants to be a corporate lawyer, an expat English professor or a homemaker.

Olivia’s also one of the cutest gals I’ve ever seen. Kind of.

She’s part of a growing forum of young men and women ranging from their teens to late 20s on LookBook.nu, a website where thousands of trendy people share their (well-documented) outfits. You can upload photos of yourself or just snoop around and peer at other people’s wardrobes. Each photo lists where items were purchased or acquired: The scale ranges all the way from the high end to high street. It’s not a totally new or unique concept: Similar online communities and websites are also in existence (see Chictopia.com or Flickr’s Wardrobe Remix—flickr.com/groups/wardrobe_remix).

But one of the most noteworthy features of LookBook.nu is the option to up-vote outfits you dig—an overall accumulated number of votes determines the “hype” level of each member . . . and it will also determine who and what outfits appear on the front page of the site—a coveted spot.

In a sense, yes, it’s not much different from high school: a virtual popularity contest, in which the cute ones always win. But it’s doubtful kids in your high school looked this good.

Olivia joined LookBook in July 2008, but she is one of the site’s most popular and admired members, with 3,349 fans following her posts, 301 total outfits hyped and 3,360 comments received.

“I love LookBook and its representation of a globalized fashion community,” Olivia says. “The site is joined by a myriad of talented members, all in the media/fashion industry. LookBook brings together so many people with similar passion and interests.”

And what doesn’t she like about LookBook?

“It’s highly competitive!” she says.

Olivia’s just a small part of a new wave of youth to benefit from the extreme accessibility of everything on the Internet—you want to see which past Rodarte collection featured feather appliqués? Done. Or maybe you want to check out what Alexa Chung wore today on MTV? That’s easy, too.

Bloggers not even old enough to drive—let alone buy a beer—are being touted throughout the fashion world as the next big thing: 13-year-old Tavi (tavi-thenewgirlintown.blogspot.com) was just recruited by Harper’s Bazaar. Sixteen-year-old Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes (seaofshoes.com) has designed a shoe line for Urban Outfitters, participated in the famed Crillon Ball and got to wear Chanel Couture.

Jealous?

Me, too.

Visit Olivia and her outfits online at lookbook.nu/Olivia or smvblog.com/wildcat.

vchang@ocweekly.com

Visit Olivia and her outfits online at lookbook.nu/Olivia or smvblog.com/wildcat.

 
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