If you think the fashion industry has enough crazy issues to deal with on a daily basis, you’d be right; scouring through seasons and collections for pieces on the runway manually was no easy feat. Imagine searching for one piece of info, a single fact that you needed out of millions, without the help of Google. That was what searching for items in a fashion catalog was like for curators, stylists, journalists, and every other member of the industry–hand-sorting amongst hundreds of brands and thousands of designers. That is, up until 2016 when Tagwalk was created.
Veteran fashion stylist Alexandra Van Houtte saw the problem for years working behind the scenes in editorial shoots for Parisian magazines. Creating moldboards and putting together outfits was tedious to say the least without an organized and efficient system to find the necessary pieces. Frustrated by the challenge, the creative mind finally took matters into her own hands. In 2016, the first fashion search engine was created for anyone and everyone to easily find items off the runway from major fashion shows.
Tagwalk allows users who create a (free) account to search up items from Paris, Milan, New York, and London runways. Both womenswear and menswear collections are available, as well as accessories. People can search by city, season, designer, or key words. This system allows lesser-known brands to have an equal opportunity for exposure; if users choose to do a key word search to find items, any designer pertaining to that word will pop up on the list.
A “shop” option on the site’s menu allows potential buyers to look up the latest trends and hot items. It’s a crazy-simple way for shoppers to pick up a new-season dress or pair of shoes straight off the runway, while the look is hot and fresh.
The”moodboards” feature is the one people like Van Houtte-and any other fashion enthusiast is sure to love most. Users can add looks and items they love to their own moodboard, practically doing Van Houtte’s old job for her. Even people who are simply interested in fashion can create moodboards for their own pleasure, much like a virtual fashion scrapbook.
Sections like “Designers of the Week”, “Trends of the Week”, and “Colors of the Week” highlight various items and brands that fall under each category, giving new names a chance to be featured by magazine editors, stylists, and designers. Regular users and fashion lovers who aren’t necessarily involved in the business are better informed of runway trends by these features, and generally more enlightened of the everyday happenings of the fashion industry. Fashion can now be delivered quicker and to a broader audience. There is a potential to extend the size of both its market and economy when the latest styles are more accessible to the public. Anyone with a computer can find looks from New York or Paris Fashion Week with a click.
Combining features of sites like Pinterest, Polyvore, and Google, Tagwalk is a strictly runway couture-oriented search engine that makes almost any job in the fashion industry easier. It’s deliberately designed to be easily accessible and open to use for the public. Van Houtte describes the project as an ambitious but worthwhile venture into innovating the fashion world for better efficiency and higher quality work.
“TagWalk is not a blog. It’s a comprehensive search engine,” she told Coveteur in an interview regarding her new business phenomenon. Even when people didn’t initially take her vision seriously, she carried on with the mindset that something had to change. The world around them was moving faster, and it was time for the fashion industry to catch up.
Thanks to Van Houtte’s persistence and delivery, fashion can now evolve at the same pace as other rapidly growing businesses. Designers can garner attention to their new collections. Shoppers can revel in the excitement of feeling like they’re the first ones (along with a million others, of course) to receive access to the latest looks from fashion week. And stylists can breathe a sigh of relief, at knowing that when they walk into work, yes, an organized system will be in place for them to do their job without getting a migraine.