For us, online shopping is a thing we like to do in private, a way to unwind at the end of a long day (or in the middle of a very busy day, whichever). But a new app out of the UK is aiming to make the online shopping experience way more social. It’s called Mallzee, and it’s a Tinder-esque shopping search engine. You can shop via the app, and then post items you like to your online community to get friends’ thoughts and opinions.
That means your pals can thumbs-up or thumbs-down the new Alexander Wang dress you’re considering buying, and actually help you make the choice. But oh, here’s the catch: If the consensus is anti-Wang, the app won’t let you buy the dress.
Mallzee actually disables the purchase item if your friends say the item you’re angling for is a bad idea. Apparently the hive mind wins out over your personal satisfaction. Internally, Mallzee CEO Cally Russell told Techcrunch, the company’s been referring to that aspect of the app as the “boyfriend feature.” As he explains it, “It’s a way for people’s girlfriends to stop them buying awful clothes.” If that sounds a little bit sexist to you, you’re not alone.
“I thought fashion was supposed to be about “individuality” and all that shit?” writes Four Pins fashion bloger Jake Woolf. “Do people really need another reason to feel self-conscious? Plus, what ever happened to a good, old fashioned IRL public shaming for someone buying something terrible.”
Russell is hoping that some of those IRL conversations get started online, and that Mallzee is able to be the one to capture them. “We don’t think social is about following people you don’t know, sharing with thousands of people or pinning your aspirations,” he said. “To us social is about enabling people to have meaningful conversations with the people that matter.”
Check out a short video on how the app works below: