I’ve been a fan of online dress up games since before they were made for anyone older than about 8 years. Thankfully, the fast-growing fashion e-commerce industry has made developing such games for adults more worthwhile. My lastest digital styling obsession is Covet Fashion app, from Burlingame-based game firm, CrowdStar.
The iPhone note you see here is one I look forward to daily, because it means I have more gameplay ammo. For those that like to create outfits using digital tools the game is very engaging. It’s a great mix between games where you dress up digital “dolls” and sites like Polyvore.com, which feature real clothes, but no bodies to put them on.
The object of the Covet Fashion game is to enter events which require you to create looks for a specific occasion. If your look is highly rated by the community you win a piece of fashion to add to your virtual wardrobe. Access to events is limited by either the value of your closet or the necessity to use a certain brand in your look. Some brand-sponsored events feature a real prize for the top-rated look, as judged by the community and the Covet Fashion team.
The app uses illustrated models and replicates real-life clothing for the them to wear. The effect is reminiscent of the erstwhile Looklet.com, which is now Looklet.biz an enterprise solution only.
When you enter an event you are presented with a model waiting to be dressed and your virtual closet. What’s cool about this stage is that the game randomizes the skin and hair that the model starts with, which I believe promotes more diversity than there would otherwise be in the game.
If the event has garment requirements what I do is to start by filtering my closet for those items to see if I already “own” something that fits the bill. If I’m satisfied with what I current have, I start dressing the model and fill in the rest of the outfit with items in my closet. If I don’t have the required items, or I’m not satisfied with what I’ve got I hit the Shop button. If I’ve got the e-cash I can buy something new in the virtual shop, which I is filterable, like my closet – by brand, type of garment, color, material and a number of other attributes. While shopping I try on items to see how they’ll look with my ensemble; I can also browse how other community members have used the item. Once my clothing and accessories are in place, I put the finishing touches on by making adjustments to skin color, hair style & color, and makeup style. Click the above collage or here to see the process in greater detail.
I’ve found that my event wins are usually those in which the outfit I create is fairly straightforward. On the other hand, if I craft something a bit less conventional (as I often do when there are no specific garment requirements), I’m not as successful with the Covet community. You win some, you lose some!
All events require a number of tickets to enter. The above demonstrated allowance provides the impetus to play, but doesn’t give you much to work with. So in order to enter events, most of which require 25 tickets, you have to earn tickets by voting on looks submitted by other members for previous events. It’s a genius way to make the game have a truly community powered engine.
As you vote on looks you get to see how others have interpreted the event requirements, which can be inspiring and helps you discover items of clothing to covet or collect in your virtual closet. The game also seems to sometimes group together looks that have similar elements, which, conceivably, allows the better executed of two similar ideas to shine.
If you don’t have the time or patience to vote on looks, you can by pass it all by buying tickets with diamonds. Diamonds are purchased with real money via the iTunes app store. The can be used to obtain tickets, game cash, or items from the virtual shop.
Depending on the demographics the app has managed to capture, I would say that brands are smart to partner with Covet in their effort reach a style-obsessed audience. From my experience, however, it’s more effective at branding than at actually driving sales. There is an option to do real shopping online within the game, and users are offered “exclusive” discounts with brand partners, but I haven’t yet found these options to be very compelling. In any case Covet Fashion is current one of my favorite apps – both for it’s gameplay aspects and it’s potential as a marketing tool.