Perhaps you are one of the many helpless shoppers who can’t seem to make up your mind the moment you step out of the dressing room. If you can’t relate to that troubling experience, you might be familiar with the anxiety related to not knowing what to wear on your first day of work or to your second cousin’s beach wedding. For those of you who know the feeling of fashion frustration, we have the perfect solution for you. How would you like to get instant feedback on your outfit, hairstyle, or nail polish? In case you haven’t yet heard of Fashism, well, you just met your match. Fashism.com is a site dedicated to fostering a sense of community among the fashion lovers, hopefuls, and obsessed. By posting a picture of an outfit on the website, you can expect fellow users around the world (yes- world), to reply with compliments, comments, suggestions, and advice. I sat down with Brooke Mooreland, co-founder and CEO of Fashism.com, to hear all about what they do, why they do it, and why you want to be a part of this fashion revolution.
Fueled: Tell us about Fashism.
Brooke Mooreland: Fashism is an online community where users can get instant advice on their style and beauty questions and can ask questions at the point of purchase or before they go out for a big event and get feedback from the community. It’s totally free- there’s an iPhone app and a website.
When did you start it?
We launched in September 2009. We’re still an early stage company, but we’ve been around for a little while now.
Have you received the welcome that you expected?
When we first started thinking about it, I didn’t think anyone would use it at all, and the first time I saw actual people posting that I didn’t know, it was shocking. Now, people post from all over the world, all day and all night, so it’s kind of crazy. I had no idea if it would work or not, but it’s kind of thrilling.
The name of your startup is quite catchy. Any specific reason why you chose that name?
We thought it was funny because there’s nothing Fascist about our site- its very democratic, it’s open to everyone, and everyone has a voice. Also, it has the root word “fashion”- so it’s kind of the perfect name.
Did you begin the company with anyone?
I started with a co-founder who is no longer working with us, so there were just the two of us for a long time.
After you began Fashism, did you quickly expand?
It was kind of a side project. I was working full time in television and doing this on nights and weekends. My co-founder left and took another job and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Then Ashley Granata joined me as a co-founder in the early stages and we began to hire more people.
When did you move into GA?
We were here on opening day in December. It was like the first day of college- seeing everyone and getting your assignment. It was really exciting.
What made you think of this idea?
Basically, I just wanted something like this to exist. Whenever I shop, I always have a hard time making decisions and I knew there was a way to reach a lot of people and there wasn’t anything like that at the time.
Do you partner with any big fashion figures?
Yes- we have something right now called Summer Fridays: Ask the Experts where a designer or famous figure comes in and comments on the different fashion questions. Some people we’ve had include Nina Garcia from Project Runway and Stacy London from What Not to Wear. Also, we’re having Zooey Deschanel coming in a couple of weeks. It’s really fun because these are big fashion figures and people wouldn’t normally have access to them, so it’s really cool.
Can you remember the first fashion question you posed to readers on the site?
We could go back to back and check- I was probably the one who posted. The first few ones were just me and my friends.
Have you found that people mostly ask about one certain clothing piece?
All of the above. Most times people want to know the overall look and whether something is appropriate for a certain occasion- first day of school, job interview, meeting their boyfriend’s parents, prom, homecoming. A lot of times people just want to show off their nail polish or hair, or ask if they look better as a blonde or brunette. That’s a big question- people always post pictures of themselves as blondes and brunettes and ask which looks better.
Can you see yourself expanding in any way in the future?
Yes- I’m not quite sure of what direction, but it’s all under wraps.
Has this been your first experience with a startup?
Have you encountered many obstacles along the way?
We have hurdles to overcome every single day. It is either that things are really awesome or there’s a disaster. It’s always a roller coaster.
What is a lesson that you have learned that can help someone beginning a startup?
You have to be persistent because it’s really tough and you’re going to face a lot of rejection. Keep trying- you’re never doomed. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
What is one fashion style that you miss from your days growing up?
I really liked that look in the 90’s from Clueless where they wore the knee socks and thigh highs.
What is one life lesson you have taken away from working at Fashism?
Our main mission is to sell confidence. It’s really important if you build confidence in yourself so you can go out in the world and accomplish what you want.
Who is your Fashion role model?
No one specific, but I really think Sienna Miller and Kate Moss are cool. I really like that British bohemian style.
What’s a Fashion No-no?
Oh I see those all the time. I was going on a rant about this the other day- I really hate when people wear a tube top and clear bra straps. You can still see them, they’re not invisible. Clear bra straps, period. We can still see them!
If you win the Elle Style Awards, give me your acceptance speech in 3 sentences or less.
I have no idea…. Well I think that whether people realize it or not, Fashion is a big part of everyday life and it’s important whether we think about it or not. It’s important to our mood, how we feel, and how we project ourselves.
Instant reactions to the following fashion statements:
I’m mixed, I’m torn. I want to hate them, but I like them.
Meat dress (Lady Gaga style)-
I think it’s cool. I’m a vegetarian but I think that was still pretty cool- cutting edge.
Now what about Meat Jeggings-
That’s gross. (Laughs)
What’s your favorite restaurant?
I really like Chinese Mirch- it’s like Chinese-Indian fusion. It’s basically how they make Chinese food in India, so it’s Indian spices cooked in a Chinese way.
How do you drink your coffee?
Where do you shop?
Take note, readers- you now know where our most fashionable guest shops.
What snacks do you have at your desk?
It’s funny- We have a lot of weird gummy candies from other countries . It’s a thing we do- whenever someone travels, they get candies for us. We also get mints from law firms. Whenever we go to a conference, we bring back what we call “lawyer mints”.
What’s your favorite clothing brand?
Diane von Furstenberg, Chloé, Marc Jacobs.