By Stephanie Altunis
You see it in movies and it in real life: a bunch of girlfriends huddled around the fitting room and/or closet, telling each other what looks fabulous; what looks hideous; which to keep; what to throw away. But, in both films and reality, we rarely see guys do the same. Don’t they need clothing help from their fellow friends as well?
Men are indeed preoccupied with the same fashion issues as women, but they are less inclined to publically seek the answer if their rear really does look big in those jeans.
Anoop Kansupada, 25, engineered the ideal community where men can inquire about fashion without doing so publically. Kansupada is the founder and CEO of the Smartphone application, “Dapprly”. Dapprly (a play on the words “Dapper” and “Application”) is intended to help men get answers to their fashion questions.
Dapprly was launched on August 30, 2012 in New York City. By it’s third month, it grew to about 1,500 members, of both men and women, from around the world.
“Dressing for the occasion is something women really know and guys don’t,” said Kansupada, “While I was getting dressed for a date I came up with [Dapprly] by asking my friend what I should wear. Her response was, ‘Well tell me where you’re going.’ So I learned that if I’m going on a date and it’s out to dinner, I’m going to dress differently than if I was going on a date and it’s to go ice-skating.”
From, ‘what should Jess wear to Lavo Brunch?’ to ‘what should I buy my father for Christmas?’ members post questions, details and photos. Their friends, or ‘followers’, can then vote for their favorite option in an allotted time, helping the poster make his, or her, decision.
“You’re just seeing this advent in growth of men’s fashion and just guys are caring more about the way they look because first impressions really do matter, and the better dressed you are the more highly people think of you,” said Kansupada.
Though Kansupada regards style as important, especially for men, he admits his decision to create a fashion startup was not for a creative purpose. Rather, it was the success of other startups that have had a concentration in fashion business that led him towards his chosen career.
“In fashion, I think there are two avenues. There is a creative side and there is a business side. And over the past three years, all of these new startups came into play in a way where they looked at the business of fashion and not the art of fashion,” said Kansupada. “And so it’s really different in the way they are looking at it.”
Kansupada may not have majored in fashion illustration or design (rather it was international business and hospitality management at George Washington University), but he understands what aspects this industry has and is successful at, and what it needs.
“The men’s market is still a very nascent and nimble market. It’s a 55 billion dollar industry growing at three percent per annum, whereas the women’s market is 400 billion dollars and growing at two percent per year. So the women’s market is significantly bigger,” he said.
As for the decision to make a Smartphone application? Kansupada realized that the male target is missed. “There are about 8 other fashion apps that gets feedback from your friends, and those primarily focus on women,” said Kansupada.
Given the popularity of Smartphones and smart-devices, the newest trend in entrepreneurship is the creation of unique but usable software applications. And the key is to sell them while they’re hot, to make the ultimate revenue gain.
According to Nielsen, the time spent on applications, in comparison to websites, on Smartphones grew from 73% in 2011, to 81% in 2012. The average number of applications per Smartphone user has increased from 32% to 41%. For Android and iOS users specifically, application downloads also rose from 74% to 88%.
Jeff Scott, the founder of the Apple app review site 148app.com says an application is most successful when it has the ability fulfill a specific need, and/or to solve a problem. According to this, Dapprly has a hopeful future.
“The market is big enough now that we are seeing more specialized applications – Apps that are of interest to just a small percentage of the market. Which is fine, considering that the market is rapidly approaching a billion devices, if it hasn’t already,” said Scott.
But creating an app is not easy. “The development and marketing of games and applications is difficult,” said Kansupada “It takes time and planning, and execution”
And, according to Scott, no application is made perfect on it’s first try either. “In many ways applications are like any consumer packaged good. First and foremost you have to make a good product that the market needs. This requires testing, testing, and more testing,” said Scott, “Know your market, find the influencers for that market, work with them.”
To fully understand the industry and its future, Kansupada works with Style Sight, a company that provides content and technology solutions to fashion professionals worldwide by forecasting trends and styles. Their purpose is to assist fashion companies in creative planning, investing and business planning.
“Fashion is a huge industry,” said Kansupada. “The fact that companies forecast trends two years in the future boggles my mind. I don’t know what I will be wearing tomorrow but they guess what I’m going to wear two years from now.”
But for Kansupada, following pre-determined trends does not necessarily correlate to personal style. He advises his fellow fashion seekers, and Dapprly members, to consider comfort rather than those trends or brands that may be chic and in season, but does not speak to the consumer.
“Be comfortable with your own style. The point of the app is that we don’t want to tell you to go to Jack Spade, or to Gilt Groupe, or to Park & Bond, and buy from them. Just mix and match what you have, get it fitted, and tailor it to yourself,” he said, “You’ll learn a lot more by going out and trying as many things as possible.”