The Handbook
The Handbook
By | 7th September 2009

Square your Balenciaga shoulder pads, there’s a new kid on the online fashion block and it means business. For too long, the web has been dominated by the likes of sales driven portals like Net-a-Porter while online versions of magazines such as Grazia have been slow to embrace the medium of web tv.

So it’s been left to pop svengali Simon Fuller, whose collaboration with top fashionista and former Net-a-Porter buying director, Sojin Lee has spawned, an online-tv fashion hybrid set to overhaul our online wardrobes and radically change the way we engage with online retail.

A beta version of the site has been viewed with considerable interest by industry insiders for some months as the team fine-tuned their winning format but the portal has finally gone live this September.

So what can we expect? A multi-facetted, multi-media destination platform that takes in insider profiles and Cribs-style closet confidentials, how-tos and masterclasses and weekly updated presenter-led style news and key trends featuring editors’ picks of the best pieces currently our there – both high end and high street. Unlike sales platforms such as Asos and Net-a-Porter, FASHIONAIR doesn’t actually sell you anything directly, rather diverting users to the sites of online retailers themselves.

Fuller and Lee believe strongly in the democratization of fashion and the breaking down of barriers: "We wanted to create an interaction between all of these different online fashion experiences," says Lee. "It's giving everyone a platform for a voice – inclusive but still aspirational."

And in case you’re in doubt of 19 Management’s fashion credentials, don’t forget that in addition to being the powerhouse behind ‘Brand Beckham’, it also owns a majority 51% stake in Storm Model Management – thus controlling a catwalk dream-team from Kate Moss and Lily Cole to original super-model, Cindy Crawford.

With video blogs from fashion insiders worldwide plus the facility for users to upload their own style profile complete with shopping wish-lists, personal mood-boards and quick-links to favourite labels from Top Shop to Alexander Wang, it’s interactive and certainly egalitarian.

So, if you fancy yourselves as the next Suzuki St Pierre of Ugly Betty fame, FASHIONAIR has teamed up with Selfridges for a series of open castings to find its brand new presenter. Between September 17th and 26th, there’ll be an exclusive video casting booth in-store and entrants will be judged by a panel of fashion grandees including Sarah Doukas, Roland Mouret and Suzy Menkes. From now until the 27th or when the booth is not being used for castings, fashionistas can also just pop in for a show-and-tell or simply to strike a pose. You’ll receive a free fashion passport photo and your picture and video may even appear on the website.

The FASHIONAIR film crew will be roaming in-store to track down the hottest looks sported by you and stylist extraordinaire, Brix Smith Start will also be on hand on the 17th, 19th and 26th to offer insider tips to vogueish shoppers.

Eat your heart out Sartorialist, this is one September issue taking fashion into a new dimension.