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09/12/2010 / Francesca Lyn

Convergence: Chictopia

I found Mark Deuze’s Convergence Culture in the Creative Industries (2007) absolutely fascinating. For my case study I chose to examine Chictopia, a fashion social networking and blogging platform.

Chictopia bills itself as “The People’s Fashion Destination”. I chose to study Chictopia because I am a frequent user of the site. Also, the company I am interning with Lady Vanderbilt is using Chictopia to promote it’s brand. For an article interviewing Chictopia’s founders, Corinne Chan and Helen Zhu, please see Forefront, UC Berkeley’s alumni magazine.

Chictopia users, called Chictopians, can upload up to two pictures a day. Often these pictures are of the users themselves. The user can then tag the photo with information about his or her clothing and write a blog post to accompany it. Other areas of the Chictopia website include a discussion forum, an editorial section, and even user-submitted clothing reviews. The clothing reviews remind me of Amazon’s user-submitted reviews except Chictopia is not directly selling those products or even necessarily marketing them. Chictopia also has it’s own YouTube channel and hosts it’s own offline events such as fashion shows and conferences.

Participation within the Chictopian community is rewarded through giving users Chicpoints. Once accumulated Chicpoints can be redeemed for prizes or just kept as evidence of your status on the site. Users can also submit writing samples to Chictopia and become writers for “Everyone is Ugly”, Chictopia’s editorial section. Clothing and accessory brands frequently hold contests within Chictopia to gain visibility within the community. For example, Lady Vanderbilt is offering up pendant necklaces for Chictopians to redeem for points. Lady Vanderbilt also has it’s own Chictopia account and blog so users can contact the company directly and even become a “fan” of Lady Vanderbilt.

Chictopia is a great example of convergence culture because it collects in once place  a relatively new and powerful set of people, the fashion blogger. Once considered outsiders, fashion bloggers have become extremely influential to the industry, blurring the line between who is a “user” and who is a “producer”. These bloggers have sometimes gone on to write for fashion magazines, style shoots, and even design products. However, the use of a fashion blogger’s work is not without controversy.

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2 Comments

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  1. chentingchen / Sep 15 2010 12:28 PM

    This website is cool!! This remind me “eruca,”(http://eruca.jp/) a Japanese website I saw before which collect pictures of female clerks of apparel shops. The website classifies different style shops and share pictures in different categories. Users can look the style they are interested in. They even create a topic per week for clerks to dress up and share.
    The first time I saw these two websites, I thought they were some kinds of online shopping websites. It is brilliant letting users sharing their fashion style and even letting them criticize others. It can satisfy people’s subconscious desire of being noticed. And by gathering people’s preference in fashion, there will be so many ways which the website can cooperate with brands.

  2. Mindy McAdams / Sep 25 2010 6:15 PM

    This site is a good example of a community that is organized around a common interest, and by uploading photos and commenting on them, etc., the consumers are also producers.

    I think you would like this fashion video series:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/artsandliving/scene-in/index.html

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