Stylewhile, an iPad app that allows users to virtually try on clothes before buying them online, has launched with its first major partner: high-end department store Saks Fifth Avenue.
For its part, Saks is staying relatively quiet about the partnership. The website does not have any major announcements about the new capability. Instead, @saks, which has 228,000 followers, simply retweeted a tweet from @Stylewhile on October 21.
Stylewhile chief executive Jutta Haaramo says the brand is promoting the app online and "targeting Saks customers as well as other online shoppers who use iPads."
According to Stylewhile, its app is "set to change the face of online shopping by allowing users to fit clothing to their specific body type before purchase."
Stylewhile says it has the ability to aggregate product imagery from online stores and fit them on a model of a chosen body type to determine what will look best on the consumer. This also allows users to mix and match various items to create complete looks.
Haaramo says Stylewhile has predefined models with about 12 different combinations of body types and looks like hair and skin color.
"The beef of the app is that if you see a shirt you really like, you can very easily swipe the shirt on top of the model and see if pants from elsewhere will work," she says. "It's the type of solution that has been missing right now. So far, you can't visualize how different items will look and you have to buy without seeing the combination."
As a result of the Saks partnership, a range of brands are available at launch, including Diane von Furstenberg, J Brand and Vince.
In other words, not every clothing item available for sale on Saks.com can be tried on via Stylewhile.
"Some brands are more sensitive and therefore have not been included," Haaramo says. "Many of the most recent items are there, however, [including] products we and our blogger partners think are great finds."
Saks will be Stylewhile's exclusive partner for one month after launch, which will be followed by six months of exclusivity as Stylewhile's only luxury multi-brand retailer, although additional e-retailers will be included during this period at the rate of about one or two a month, Haaramo says.
Stylewhile will add new brands "little by little," though it is "not in too much of a hurry," Haaramo says. "We want to be quite selective when we pick partners."
In addition, shoes, accessories and bags will be added to the app in early November.
Stylewhile is available for iPads operating with iOS 6 and 7. It launched September 29, but Haaramo would not provide a figure for the number of downloads so far.
Stylewhile launched 18 months ago as a web-based styling option, "but we just found out it didn't work as well if we want to provide a top-notch user experience," Haaramo says, citing issues with different browsers and resolutions. As a result, the brand decided to focus on building the best possible iOS experience and only has plans to focus on its iPad app for now.
The week of October 28, Stylewhile will release a new version with blogger-curated collections "so users get curated collections and recommendations from fashion bloggers and influencers," Haaramo says.
A Saks rep was not available for comment.
Saks has a separate app for iPad that allows users to shop Saks.com, create wish lists and watch videos.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014