Style by subscription: Why clothing-to-your door is so popular

Clothing,le tote,Fashion accessory,Algorithm,Social media

When Michelle Romero arrives home to find a heavy box sitting on her doorstep, it feels like Christmas. And it’s a celebration the San Jose resident looks forward to enjoying once a month as she extracts and tries on the tissue-wrapped tops, pants, sweaters and accessories. She’s usually so delighted with the results, it’s hard to imagine Romero’s fashion fix comes courtesy of a human stylist and high-tech algorithm.. Having a computer and a person you’ve never met choose clothes for you working off a style questionnaire and your social media photos (Instagram and Pinterest) seems an odd concept. But San Francisco’s Stitch Fix’s rapid growth since launching in 2011 points to a trend that may be here to stay. Stitch Fix — with women’s, maternity, petite sizes and a recently launched men’s division — joins a growing cadre of virtual clothing styling, subscription and rental services. All have similar goals: to make your life easier, help you stay stylish, and, of course, sell you some clothes. Before the digital era and sharing economy, you could hire — and usually pay — a personal shopper, or enlist a department store’s free shopper. But Stitch Fix and other services are disrupting that model, bringing a data-driven and social media approach to the process. YouTube is filled with recipients’ “unboxing” videos, showing off their hauls. Others post social media photos, looking for friends’ and followers’ thumbs up or down. My Subscription Addiction reviews just about every online styling service under the sun. Founder Liz Cadman says Stitch Fix, Fabletics (Kate Hudson’s athletic wear) and Gwynnie Bee (plus size) are readers’ favorites. Some require a monthly subscription, and you don’t get to choose the garments. Others offer on-demand services, charging modest styling fees that can be applied to clothing purchases (i.e. Stitch Fix). Some are rental only. “I don’t have time to go to the mall and try things on,” says Romero, who is not alone in her dislike of going to the mall. “Why not let someone else who is really good at shopping do it for you,” says Stitch Fix COO Julie Bornstein. “The idea is someone can save me time and shop better than I can for myself.” Above all, Bornstein says, Stitch Fix is about personalization, and that works well...

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