Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review: Teen Vogue Haute Spot App

Greetings! How is everyone? I've been having a good break, but I absolutely can't wait to get back to school. Complacency doesn't sit so well after a semester spent buried in mounds of books and coursework. Anyway, since I've had all this free time, I finally got around to updating the software in my itouch, which means that I can download apps and the like. Hooray! As many of you know, I'm a big Teen Vogue fan, so immediately downloaded the Teen Vogue Haute Spot app. I thought I'd share my impressions with you after a few days fiddling around with it.

Let's start with the good : It's a fun app with a lot of potential. Well-designed, with a cheerful, friendly vibe that goes perfectly with my conception of the magazine. The two parts of the app I've been spending my time exploring are "The Closet" and "Community." "The Closet" is full of sets like "Tomboy Prep" or "Grunge Cool" that feature a range of different clothing and accessories. The "Community" section is broken up into "My Style," "Trends," "Inspiration," and "On the Street" - subsections that allow girls to post pictures of their style and what inspires them. It's a cool idea, one that has worked well online on sites like Weardrobe and even Teen Vogue but has yet to be available on an app - until now.

My problem is that the app, while full of potential to be great, just isn't. Yet.

In a Brandweek article, Teen Vogue publisher Laura McEwen described "The Closet" part of the app, saying, "It is as if you're walking into the store and closets of Teen Vogue." The article also stressed that while the content would be a blend of editorial and advertising, there would be a clear distinction made between the two. Er, not the case. I've been to the Teen Vogue offices, and I can assure you that the closets are packed with goodies. In the Haute Spot app, I was sorely disappointed by the quantity of the available "Closet" items. Four categories, each featuring between 20 and 30 items of clothing and accessories each sums it up. Sure, that's a lot of stuff to go through in person, but on an itouch you can scroll past them in a second. A swipe of the finger and you're done. I need more options to keep me interested. And as for the distinction between editorial picks and advertising, well, there isn't one. It may not be absolutely necessary, but I like to know these things, and the Brandweek article's information on that front was misleading.

As for the Community aspect of the app, the four subsections are unnecessary, because each one features the same kind of content. This may be more of a testament to the kind of girls who submit pictures to the app, but most of the content was directly lifted from The Closet or other girls' submissions, so the whole thing is kind of repetitive. The other featured pictures are not largely engrossing - a handful of those self-taken myspace-style "sexy" poses, several mainstream runway photos, and a variety of Gossip Girl stars, tame outfit photos, and some miscellaneous things. God this sounds negative. It's not supposed to be. The app is designed for teen girls with an interest in style, not 20-year-old fashion bloggers, and maybe that's why things turned out this way. But these girls - don't they deserve some exposure to something a bit further from the high school hallways? A bit of a lesson in creativity, just so they know what's out there? A chance to develop a more unique personal style? My point is this: with more available picks from the editors and a bit more spice from the community, this app could be a great tool for fashion inspiration and style sharing.

So here's your mission, brave readers. Get the app. It's free until January 22nd from the App Store and fairly entertaining, so you really have no reason not to. And for the love of God upload some fantastic pics to the "Community"; I have faith in you!