Is social shopping the future of fashion online? All about the platforms changing the game, yet again

Net-a-Porter turns 15 this year, and there’s no denying it’s one overachieving teen. Since going live in 2000 (cue dial-up Internet sound effects), the London-based e-tailer has spawned offshoot websites The Outnet and Mr. Porter, launched a magazine, and recently introduced luxe sportswear into their inventory, because, you know, #athleisure. So their latest venture should come as no surprise: an app dubbed The Net Set, which launched yesterday.

The fully shoppable app (available on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch) essentially serves as a social media community for fashion-savvy users, allowing them to connect with other like-minded members, as well as brands and even designers themselves. “The Net Set is to mobile in 2015 what Net-a-Porter was to desktop in 2000,” says Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman of the Net-a-Porter Group. “The rise of social media and style blogs has shown that women around the world are inspired by each other’s style and their closets.” The Net Set will allow users to share their favourite looks, trends and wardrobe items—pretty much anything they love and find inspiring—while being able to instantly shop for said items.

The app comes at a crucial time in the social media sphere, given the rise of Instagram shopping. In recent years, mobile-commerce apps such as Like2Buy and Like To Know It have made it possible for users to identify specific items in Instagram snaps and direct them to a link to purchase. A pretty handy feature if you ask us, especially when it comes to must-cop duds from popular retailers like Nasty Gal and Reformation.

Perhaps the first to this party has been VFiles, V Magazine’s retail/social media platform which launched back in 2012 as a hub for users to discuss and post pretty much anything and everything fashion-related, whether it be emerging talent or bucket hats suddenly being cool again (thanks for that, Rihanna). The platform recently underwent a refresh (VFiles 2.0), introducing a contact feature for users to direct message one another, and a ‘shop’ button, for users to sell their work. (Insert wad of cash emojis here.)