Tag Archives: design

Fashion 2.0

I have just spent far, Far, FAR too much time footling around designing dresses at http://www.styleshake.com. It’s a site where you can design a dress, choose the fabric, and have it made up to your exact measurements give or take a centimeter. And all for ludicrously reasonable prices and delivery in 10 days1.

Style Shake

Style Shake

Let’s get the business-related observations done with before we lose the people who don’t like the eau de œstrogen wafting around this post.

First of all, what a bloody genius use of the internet; the perfect example of something that simply could not be done without the web. Even better: the site works well, which is more than can be said for most design-your-own-whatsit sites.  I do hope business model pays: I’m a bit of a seamstress myself and it’s hard to see how they could get the things cut and sewn for UK wages. I really want to see their production line. (I am such a process geek). I’m also intrigued by their design software which presumably drives their pattern-cutting software in a reverse of the wire-frame-to-rendering process used by the computer graphics and special effects industry.

I am fascinated by just how varied the end results can be given a limited range of design elements (fabric colour, shape of the neckline, length of the skirt, etc).

Style Shake: Bold Bodycon Style Shake: Darling Daywear Style Shake: Office Edge Style Shake: Star Sensation Style Shake: Style Noir Style Shake: 1940s Allure Style Shake: Three in One

I guess it’s like lego, the real limit is your skill and imagination.  And boy have people done some interesting things with their limited pallet, as you can see from scrolling through their photographs and favourite designs.  Be careful though, there’s  some eye-watering fugliness in there too.

I guess it only goes to prove that StyleShake’s rather awesome software doesn’t make you Christian Dior any more than MS Project makes you a Project Manager or PowerPoint makes you good at communicating.

Have a go – you know you want to.

1 – Mind you, I’ve not had the chance to use the site yet – my first instinct was to blog, but come next payday … Back to post

A five minute trip to retroland

Oh! I’ve just had a bad online experience. Nothing too traumatic, just a website of a sort you really don’t see that much these days – the sort that is so achingly hip it’s impossible to use. It would be sweetly retro if it wasn’t so irritating.

It’s one of those websites that leads the user on a journey. Unfortunately it’s a linear journey and if you want to tread a different path, tough. You are doomed to sit there, clicking “next” and accepting what you’re given.

How can’t we use it? Let me count the ways: Half the navigation just disappears when you move from section to section, so you can’t skip blithely between stationery and gifts, you are forced to click back and return to products first. If you want to give up on the web site and find a store, then you must go to the front page. I’m in a good mood, so I’ll barely mention the category confusion: perish the thought that you’d give stationery as a gift. There’s no royal road to geometry, and no royal road around this website either.

Half the navigation just disappears

Once you are looking at the stationery, the only way to navigate is using the “next” and “back” buttons on a greyed out disk.

My brain is melting.

It would be infuriating if it wasn’t so odd and – thank goodness – so unusual these days. I can’t even be bothered to be irritated by the vastly inflated billings charged by whoever designed it and built it. Most of these triumphs of design over usability have gone. This is like time-travelling back to all the unusable but gorgeous sites of the late 1990s.

The past is a foreign country – take yourself on a wee five minute trip to retroland.