I’ll admit, I had never seen a video fashion lookbook before, and frankly my time spent with lookbooks in general is fairly marginal. But when StrobeLikes popped up on YouTube last week I was intrigued.
The channel, a partnership between new media studios Hud:sun Media and Fullscreen, brings the concept of a fashion photo lookbook to the YouTube generation. Each video is a sub-60-second musical montage of a single look photo shoot, edited together with a “strobe motion photography” technique giving the effect of movement.
Fullscreen founder George Strompolos told us the videos are designed to be shared, like “little fashion trading cards,” as he puts it, amongst the channel’s target of 13 to 29 year-old women. Where it gets clever is the use of web video and social media stars as models, on the thesis that their influencer status can trump the waify model look any day. One of the latest videos merges a new track from YouTube music star Dave Days over a shoot with Natalie Jane (below).
There are some morsels of personal info on the models, giving a deeper connection with the models should you care to know that Olga Kay likes to hang at Aroma Café in LA or that Taryn Southern not only likes Lady Gaga and shopping at H&M, but also vacationing in the South of France.
The business model is a standalone channel that showcases looks from select designer partners, three of whom are on board at the launch—Rachel Roy, David Yurman and Whitney Port. Rather than extensive product integration, with e-commerce overlays, StrobeLikes opted for now for a more subtle approach to audience conversion. “We realized that the video themselves had to be kept pretty clear of popups, said Strompolos, “because that would keep a barrier between the audience and the content.” Instead, links to the designers sites and retail options were placed in the video descriptions.
Hud:sun Media, which co-funded the project along with the fashion partners, plans on a natural expansion outside of YouTube into the mobile and social platforms of young fashionistas. Hud:sun CEO Michael Rourke told Ad Age this week that clips will eventually feature a “click-to-buy feature” where viewers can directly purchase the featured looks.
In terms of performance, the StrobeLikes channel has notched 33,000 views on the dozen or so videos released so far, though Strompolos says that the goal isn’t to make it a hit web show. “One thing to understand is that it’s not a show,” he pointed out, “It’s meant to be an experience that has long term value to the audience.”
“This isn’t a thing where we’re putting out 10 episodes of content,” added Strompolos, “we’re putting out 4 per week for the forseeable future.” Even a week after launching, StrobeLikes has already had interest from some “major retail partners who are interested in this model to promote their lines.” Strompolos adds however, that either way, “we do want to maintain StrobeLikes as a brand and not have a retailer own the channel.”
Even Whitney Port, a crossover from reality star to fashion designer, ponied up for a shoot—wearing “a cute Spring 2011 look” from her Whitney Eve line: