August 11th, 2010
If you’re in that neat Venn diagram crossover between “fashion addict” and “web addict,” you probably already know Lookbook.nu. Poised perfectly between social networking site and fashion blog, the massively popular site allows users to post “Lookbooks” of self-styled looks.
Lookbook’s founder Yuri Lee took some time out of her busy, busy schedule to tell us more about her and her boyfriend’s brilliant invention.
The Block: I’m going to take inspiration from Lookbook.nu’s interview section and lead with this question: Tell us a little bit about yourselves and where you live.
Yuri Lee: I grew up in Orange County, CA and met my boyfriend Jason in college. Jason is from the Bay area near San Francisco so he’s a natural techie. I love all forms of art, and I definitely consider fashion a form of art. We moved up to San Francisco together after graduation. San Francisco is known for its diversity, good food, and hipsters!
TB: Where did you get the inspiration to start Lookbook.nu?
YL: We were both working and not entirely thrilled with our jobs. I was reading fashion blogs like The Sartorialist at the time and we thought how great it would be if everyone could be their own Scott Schuman. So after talking late into the night, we immediately started working on our vision!
TB: How many users do you have on the site now?
YL: We have around 150,000 registered users, but most visitors of the site are non-registered.
TB: The combination of social networking and fashion is brilliant. Have you ever considered that the two of you are pretty much the Mark Zuckerbergs of fashion?
YL: Actually we never thought about it that way! Do you think Mark Zuckerberg would ever post his looks on Lookbook? Social networking and fashion work so well together because fashion is about expressing who you are. Lookbook makes it easy for people to share their style and connect with fellow fashion lovers from around the world.
TB: What do each of you do when you’re not busy working on the site?
YL: We love to have fun and experience new things. Lookbook keeps us busy so we spend our free time seeing friends, traveling (we make sure there’s wifi), and playing with our kitties. Oh and we love to shop!
TB: On Lookbook.nu, you don’t reveal your names, and just identify yourselves as “a guy and a girl hailing from San Francisco, CA who like art, fashion, and culture”. Why so shy?
YL: We’re really proud of what we’ve done, but at the end of the day, Lookbook is here thanks to our talented and daring users. Also, if we ever f**k up, our identities are pretty much safe. Just kidding!
TB: What’s the fashion scene like in San Francisco?
YL: Fashion in San Francisco is whatever you make it to be, but I will say it’s honest and down to earth. It’s a city full of creativity and diversity and everyone is wonderfully accepting of each other. Spend a day in the city and you’ll see trendy fashion students and artists, rock star engineers and developers, and people just living their everyday lives. The majority of SF locals are environmentally conscious and buying a new wardrobe every season just isn’t their style – I respect that.
TB: How would each of you describe your personal style? If you had to choose someone as your style icon, who would that be?
YL: At the moment, Jason’s style is relaxed and free. He likes clothes that can easily transition from one activity to another. He is always looking for the perfect, loose but well constructed cotton tee and rarely wears jeans. He said his style icon is Buckethead – he’s a guitar virtuoso. I’m influenced by dreams and environment. Generally my style is simple and non-fussy, but under the right conditions I want to show my elaborate and risque side. My style icon is Tahti Syjala. She’s a Lookbook.nu user we just interviewed for one of our features. I admire her because she is a true fashion artist!
TB: What are your favourite blogs/websites for fashion inspiration?
YL: Lookbook.nu of course!
TB: Favourite designers?
YL: I’ll always love Chanel and Dior, and when the time comes I know I’ll meet Mr. McQueen in heaven.
TB: You mention that you’re into art and culture as well. Want to get into a little detail about that? What’s on your culture radar right now?
YL: Growing up, the ballet studio was my second home and I eventually attended an arts high school for dance. But my school offered much more than dance – visual arts, creative writing, opera, instrumental music, stage production, etc. It’s impossible not to appreciate art when you are surrounded by so many talented artists. In college I majored in Art History and studied abroad in England. I can’t get enough of art in my life.
TB: It seems like every street style blog out there has seen a book spinoff. Any plans to usher Lookbook.nu into the world of print?
YL: Actually, we are working on something for all you Apple fan boys and girls right now. Maybe we’ll venture into the world of print one day.
Words Jennifer CrollTweet