Accessible and unobtrusive fashion. That seems to be the slogan of VFiles, the new Fashion-based social platform that goes beyond tendencies, beyond designers and catwalks.Quality content, debate and a touch of humor all go together on this network that is revolutionizing the way we understand fashion. Created in 2012 by Julie Anne Quay, former editor of V Magazine, it already has more than 18,000 users / creators who have created an authentic community of what’s ‘hot and happening’ in the fashion world.
“When I talk about fashion, I talk about Meisel, Testino, Sims, Naomi, Christy, Amber, Freja, Pat McGrath… this community of people who are the real fashion community.” For Quay, fashion is a conversation, an exchange of opinions that should be accessible to all and avoid being a rigid structure that imposes itself on the sector. This idea is what makes VFiles different, where users become editors or curators who filter, create and manage quality content that is able to break away from the frivolous nature of typical online material and which VFiles wishes to distance itself from. Traditionally, “we’ve just been limited by the media that it [fashion] existed in (print and maybe television) and you could never answer back. You know, if Vogue was saying, ‘short skirts are this or that’ and ‘lamb-skin and fur is what you should be wearing,’ but you’re thinking, ‘I didn’t really see that. I saw this, this and this.’ There was no dialogue for that, and that was just the most simple of fashion conversations. But for us [VFiles] it’s all about what’s new and what people are doing and I think that the next generation of fashion users are all curators, as opposed to absorbers and readers and followers. Everyone has an opinion.
After five years as an executive editor for V Magazine, Quay suggested that the magazine should participate in the project as a minority strategic partner, providing content to the platform, and in return, the website would use its name. To begin a conversation, you need to have a topic, so Quay and her team began to digitize every issue of Visionaire, V, VMan, Project X and Stop. And this would only be the beginning for VFiles: lovers of fashion would be able to access original out-of-print content from their computers, which would generate opinions, debate and, most importantly, a community all based around different fashion topics. The next step would be for the community to starting creating content. With a purely visual design, the platform is divided into three sections: Watch, Shop and Create, which are categorized by designers, brands, photographers, styles and trends.
If images are the focus of VFiles, video is unquestionably the star. In this section, you can find hilarious web-series that give you a look into the world of fashion from a completely new point of view. With ‘what’s new’ as a starting point, these videos offer entertaining parodies that anyone will enjoy and which are a must for the fashion addicted.
Model Files is among the most successful productions. A reality show about a modeling agent that tells the story of day-to-day life in the non-stop world of fashion. There’s also the video blog of a reporter who never reports on anything and whose first silent shots can be a little disquieting while at the same time telling you everything you need to know. You can find tutorials about how to pronounce the names of brands and designers or mini-interviews with models and celebrities that give us a peek into their lives away from the limelight. Different topics and formats with an intimate and casual style, accentuated with what’s happening now.
Even though the site has professional editors, it tries to be a network created by and for its users. They build their own VFiles, virtual folders where they can collect multimedia material on anything related to fashion that they believe is of interest. Users can share, comment on, follow or simply give a like to topics that are classified by tags. The result is that VFiles has the appearance of a look book for anything new and interesting.
The online shop is the third pillar of VFiles, which currently sells 70% of its products from the site and the rest at its shop on Mercer St. in New York. You can find clothing by up-and-coming designers (Hood By Air or ORFI), and legends (Chanel or Versace) alike. VFiles also does exclusive collections with brands that don’t have their own stores like The Blonds, who design the wardrobes for performances by Kylie Minogue or Rihanna.
Supporting young talent
One of its objectives is to give a voice to young designers and so VFiles supported the debut of 3 unknown young designers in the last New York Fashion Week after winning a competition on through their social network. The participants sent their creations to VFiles as videos, GIFs and look books and the online community voted for the best, Ammerman Schlösberg, Maria ke Fisherman and Sam Mc, from among more than 100 entries. Their designs will be sold in the Mercer St. shop and through the website.
Its impossible to define VFiles as only one thing, is it a social network, a magazine or a blog? Its more than that, its a vision of the democratization of the fashion world, where the users, who in all truth are the recipients of fashion, are the stars. At VFiles, there is room for talent, opinions, uncertainty and anything that adds value to the community, a community that without a doubt will be the engine that pushes the platform to the top.
What is VFiles?
Runway designs by Sam Mc
Translated by Michael Padilla