Hoping to cash in on the growing number of teenage girl fashion-plates who dig new digital doings, Sierra Home, a Washington-based subsidiary of Cendant Software, has released a CD-ROM title called Fashion Trip that both breaks new ground as the first interactive style guide for young women and threatens to permanently transform the mall-rat phenomenon.
Roaming through a virtual 3-D mall, users of the software can check out photo-realistic images of the latest clothing and accessory lines from hot teen brands including Diesel jeans, Steve Madden, Esprit and Nicole Miller. The 33 brand partners have made a pre-negotiated cash payment for a spot on the disc, the amount of which depends on each company’s level of content committment.
Clothing collections will be updated every two weeks using ‘push’ technology that sends the new info from Sierra’s Web site to the disc each time it’s loaded. The program will also undergo major makeovers at the start of each season, meaning users can overcome geographical fashion obstacles like the ripple effect of new styles trickling slowly from urban centers to the burbs.
The title overcomes the limitations of traditional shopping in another important way-Fashion Trippers can mix and match duds from different stores by dragging the virtual togs into a dressing room and onto neo-Twiggy 3-D models that represent them. Once the perfect outfit has been completed, the clothes can be ordered on-screen or through links to the retailers’ own Web sites.
Since shopping is largely a social activity, the offering includes an Internet chat function via which friends can share their couture creations. Teen users will also receive fashion tips from editors at Seventeen magazine on topics like seasonal colors and coordination, and as an added bonus, Fashion Trip features a slideshow of fads and trends of yesteryear dating back to 1910.
With a street price of US$39.95, one might wonder why teen girls would shell out the same amount for a piece of software that could buy a cool TagRag shirt at the mall. But Craig Davidson, brand manager for the title, is quick to tout the disc’s longevity as its selling point. ‘A US$40 shirt will either fall apart or fall out of vogue in about eight months. Fashion Trip will last a lifetime because it’s constantly being updated with the latest styles.’
Sierra Home will be spreading the word about Fashion Trip in teen print outlets such as Seventeen, Teen and YM, as well as on-line at Teen People on AOL, Excite and Hotmail. The title can be found at major software and music stores like Circuit City, Comp USA, Sam’s and Musicland, as well as by calling Sierra Direct at 1-800-757-7707.
Although Fashion Trip has a broad target demo of 13 to 28, Davidson says the success of the title is almost entirely dependent on clicking with the teen girl demo. ‘Adolescent girls are famous for their shopping prowess and having grown up in a digital era, they’re very comfortable in the on-line medium.’
Some quick stats support these claims. Of the 30 million teens currently living in the U.S., approximately two-thirds of them (18.8 million) have computers at home, and the average teen spends 4.4 hours a week on-line. Also, in terms of national consumption, U.S. teens have a combined personal spending power of US$109 billion a year*.
*MarketSource Corporation. (www.marketsource.com)