Welcome to chictopia.com, where Facebook experiences a head-on collision with Vogue. On this site you can upload pictures of yourself in your favorite outfits and view other users’ photos.
The site is geared primarily toward college-aged individuals looking to find deals on fashionable clothing, and see the way their favorite styles will actually look on their bodies.
Chictopia launched in April and already clocks in about 5,500 daily visits, and has more than 5,000 registered users. With features such as blogs, ratings, photo galleries and reviews, the site is comparable to MySpace, but concentrated on fashion.
Chictopia CEO Helen Zhu created the site after being inspired by a 2006 Time magazine article that named “you” as the person of the year. After taking note of the growing trend of individualism in fashion and the need for an alternative to the model-dominated world of magazines, she decided there was a demand for something fresh.
“I’ve always been interested in dressing well, but I don’t think I am any more fashionable than the next person,” Zhu said. “I’m not sure that fashion magazines help; they are not a relevant source.”
There is no platform for people to display their unique ideas for fashion as there is for musicians and other artists, Zhu added.
“I was thinking, what about fashion?” she said. “We need a launching pad.”
The site has done more than raise a few eyebrows among the public, as well as catch the eye of fashion’s elite.
Zhu said that some of the users of chictopia.com have been featured individually in Teen Vogue after being noticed on the site.
“They ask us for the email addresses of the users to get into contact with them,” she said. “We’re making an influence in fashion.”
Zhu said the easiest way to use the site is to sign up for a free account. Upon signing up the site will inquire about your personal measurements and body type, including hair and eye color as well as skin tone. After making an account you will be able to browse tons of pictures of other individuals possessing similar physical qualities as yourself.
The point of this feature, Zhu said, is to take the guesswork out of fashion. By seeing the clothes on people with similar shapes as you, it will give you a real idea about how trends will appear. Along with visuals, they also tag where the clothing was purchased and the price.
“You aren’t just looking at girls,” she said. “You are looking at girls like you.”
Zhu said she has a long torso, and it helps to look at others with the same shape to see what trends work well, and what jeans fit their body the best.
Cal Poly social sciences sophomore and chictopia.com intern Linda Qiu said she has always been interested in fashion, but since she has started using the site, her sense of style has evolved.
Qiu said the site is original because it allows you to share your ideas while getting feedback from real people your age.
“You get to search for your body shape, and narrow down the choices,” she said. “Chictopia is a great outlet for creativity, and to see what other people are doing.”
Qiu hopes more college-age people in San Luis Obispo will use the site.
“We are sort of in a bubble with no big cities around us,” she said. “I really want everyone to check it out.”