Do you need fashion advice?
FashIcon is an app that connects fashion lovers with stylists for personal outfit tips and advice. It is a community for people with a common interest in fashion to share ideas, inspirations, and give advice to each other.
Launched in 2017, the app has been through a continuous process of features development and improvement, with various marketing initiatives to reach more target customers in China.
The core value of FashIcon is to create a social media app as a perfect place for real people, with real bodies, real budgets, and their real wardrobes to share their daily outfits, receive hearts for their looks and thumbs ups when giving great advice and suggestions to each other.
Getting Started with FashIcon
“Life is not perfect. But your outfit can be!”
One of the core ideas is the weekly Lucky Draw program. Every week, users receive a challenge from FashIcon, and whoever completes the challenge can participate in the Lucky Draw and have a chance to win designer items. The program has become a great success for FashIcon and kept the users engaged in many different activities each week.
Complete challenges and win gifts from FashIcon
Another main feature of FashIcon is the Ranking system, which includes two categories: Looks and Advice. The former is based on the number of Hearts received, while the later is considered by the number of Thumbs obtained. The rankings can tell a user’s current position, so those at the top can be considered popular fashionistas. Together with the ranking feature, Badges (level based on the number of hearts received) and Stylist Levels (based on the number of thumbs ups gained) can give users some guidance to find fashionistas to follow and consult for helpful outfit advice.
Besides, FashIcon has a “Discover” tab with great visual effect to present Looks from the whole community randomly every time it is opened, so users can easily connect with fashionistas.
FashIcon's ranking and badges
In order to stand out from the heavy competition, the app needed to keep evolving and offer unique functionalities that resonate with their target users so as to keep a growing user base. Therefore, FashIcon decided to continuously enhance their app in terms of functionalities and never stop improving their offering.
In order to develop and perfectly implement new features, FashIcon teamed up with IT Consultis and laid down their challenges and objectives.
The first few adjustments were in terms of UI and bug fixing for the current version while conducting analysis to figure out what can be further improved.
In this improvement process, the ability to mention other users was implemented, allowing a person to tag any other users of the app when writing a Look description or Advice, who in turn receive a push notification. By typing "@", a suggestion list will appear with names of the user's Followings, solely for auto-completion convenience.
During the app's evolutionary process, 1-to-1 Session and Immediate Advice Request were by far two of the most outstanding and complicated features developed. In particular, the former is not a common feature among similar apps and is one of FashIcon’s strongest USPs.
Another great feature of FashIcon is that users will be able to provide labels (called Item Tags) that display the brand of a certain piece of clothing or fashion accessory. When posting a Look, users can add up to 10 Item Tags in each picture. The brands are either chosen among a recommendation list or added by the users if not yet used in the app.
On the Timeline, Looks with Item Tags are always easy to spot thanks to a specific icon at the bottom left that helps show/hide the tags. Tapping an Item Tag directs the user to the corresponding Brand Gallery Page.
The Item Tags and Brand Gallery Page of partner brands include an eye-catching shopping icon and link to the brand’s online store for more convenience. This way, users can shop clothes and accessories of their favorite brands with a click.
FashIcon's item tags
Regarding the technical development, multiple pieces of software are being used to ensure the best performance:
- Mobile app: Kotlin, Swift
- API: Node.js, Koa, Express, GraphQL
- Amazon services: EC2, Elastic Beanstalk, S3, DynamoDB, ElastiCache, Kinesis
- Chat: Tencent, WeChat
- Payment: WeChat Pay, Apple In-App Purchase
- Notifications: JPush, Tencent
- DevOps: Terraform, Jenkins, SonarQube, Fabric
- Frontend: ReactJS, VueJS
- Analytics: Tongdao
Because of so many software solutions, the most challenging part was to ensure all of them were properly implemented and could support each other. A fully dedicated team of front-end and back-end developers committed to the project in order to maintain the app’s continuous enhancement cycle.
Dario, the CTO of ITC, shared his thoughts on the technologies that helped elevate FashIcon to a completely new look and feel:
Regarding Android, Kotlin was chosen as the main language because it is the latest frontier in Android development. Regarding iOS, Swift was the main software thanks to its long, solid history for developing stable, clean and performant applications.
Turning to the back-end development, there are in fact two different types: a back-end with the front facing API, and a back-end with private API. The former is constructed using NodeJS with Koa and GraphQL, while the latter is built using NodeJS with Express and the RESTful approach exposing this to an administrative console built with VueJS.
The entire back-end infrastructure is leveraging Amazon Web Services, which provides high flexibility, scalability, and reliability. In addition, the deployment and development process is streamlined and code quality is assured using SonarQube, unit testing, integration testing and end to end testing, all automatically running using Jenkins.
With the continuous evolution of the app, FashIcon is now able to connect a large community of fashion fans in China. The app is increasingly growing its user base and keeping current users engrossed by launching new features.
The widespread popularity of the app not only allows FashIcon to get a hold of its user base but also brings more benefits to people who are seeking for fashion advice and outfit tips from professionals and the community.
We imagined the user journey of a potential user that we will call Stella - this is what it would look like.
Stella is a 22-year-old girl who is a fresh graduate and works as an event organizer. She has a great passion for fashion and a desire to join a community of people with the same interest. She finds out about FashIcon in Weibo and starts following famous models and stylists; which opens up many opportunities for her to keep up with the latest trends, ask and give fashion tips with other members.
One of Stella's favorite features is the Immediate Advice Request. As a young professional whose job requires attending multiple events, she needs outfit advice before going to any parties or appointments. With FashIcon, all she needs to do is post a picture of the outfit, and click Immediate Advice Request to send a push notification to all her Followings. Within minutes, Stella can get personalized advice on her look in the form of thumbs up/down and comments. Furthermore, it also comes in handy when she is considering to buy a new set of clothes. This helps her be in control of her personal style every day!
FashIcon's immediate advice request
In addition, Stella just discovered a fantastic feature called the 1-to-1 Session. After browsing the profiles of many inspiring stylists and members of FashIcon’s community, she has chosen a few ones to arrange a private chat session with for fashion advice and tips. She is also willing to be a personal advisor if anyone comes to ask for a 1-to-1 Session. The more advice sessions are given, the more stars are received, based on the duration of each session and the Stylist Level of the advisor.
FashIcon's 1-to-1 Session
Overall, Stella is happy with her experience with the app, she will recommend the app to her friends and keep looking forward to new functions in future updates.