Couturious vs. Looklet.com: Coincidence or Copycat?

Are these two sites- Couturious and  Looklet.com the same?

Yesterday we reviewed a new site called Couturious from the founders of Like.com. At the time we didn’t know that there was a firestorm brewing between Couturious and a site called Looklet.com.  According to the folks at Looklet.com, the technology and format behind Couturious is allegedly quite similar to that of Looklet.com.

So we asked the CEOs of each site to submit to us a comment on this issue.



We received the following quote from the inventor of Looklet.com via it’s CEO Adam Berg.

Couturious is a rip-off of Looklet.com

Like.com, the company behind couturious, tried to aquire Looklet last year and I guess turning them down led them to this desperate copycat action. We’ve heard plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, but we are not flattered. Apart from the glaring lack of original ideas, couturious doesn’t show much of the quality or attention to detail, essentially the love for fashion we’ve put into Looklet. Considering the feedback we’ve received from users and the industry the last couple of days, all others recognizes this as well. To quote one of our users; ”If Looklet had an ugly sister couturious would be it”.

Olle Hemmendorff, inventor of Looklet

Here is the response from Like.com’s Munjal Shah, the company behind Couturious:

Dear Budget Fashionista,

Before Looklet had even launched we purchased Fashmatch and began working on a dress-up product. When we saw Looklet we thought it was a good platform, but we felt it needed to be improved with key features (see below). We flew out to Sweden, indicated to the Looklet team that we were trying to make a “build or buy” decision. Looklet initially wanted a very high price tag for a site that had just launched a few months prior. So we continued on our original path of building the product ourselves, catering to the American market.

We focused on improvements many of which are “under the hood” improvements to the engine vs. improvements to the user interface. The important of which was to ensure all items on the site are purchasable. This was not a small change and required to approach designers and retailers very differently. We felt that Polyvore, Looklet, Mixmatchme.com (which has very similar functionality to Looklet – I am not sure which came first), and the hundreds/thousands of dress up sites on the web had established some standard conventions on how to present the dress up interface. We wanted to go beyond this and deliver more.

We wish the Looklet folks the best and think they are good guys. In the end we do feel that being first and being the best are not necessarily the same thing. In this field we knew that there was room for improvement (especially in the utility of being able to buy) and believe consumers benefit as Couturious brings this next generation to the market. As that old saying goes, “Good Better Best, you got to keep moving to be better than the rest, because the good get better and the better get best.”

Here are some ways we improved the concept:

1) We felt the site had to be a place where you could actually buy the items with a link. This was not a small difference but something that trickled down to everything we did, from which designers we worked with to how we sourced inventory. We felt that utility of the site was fundamentally different if you could easily buy the items.

2) We wanted a site where you had prominently displayed designers and could show some recommended outfits from them alongside outfits from the community. The same is true of fashion bloggers. We wanted to be able to highlight their designs (which we had done on the homepage along side users).

3) We wanted a site where items from FashionWeek showed up first before any other dress-up sites. The six designers we have highlighted have agreed to this.

4) We wanted to use our computer vision technology to scale and process more items onto the site faster. We did a lot of work on this back end technology and believe we will be able to scale the number of items faster as a result. This is the primary user complaint of these photo-realistic sites: they have too few items to choose from.

5) We wanted to have a better browse and search experience. Looklet’s experience is to show most recent only. Not even most “hearted” or highest ranked. We delivered a better search experience for outfits and for items (using our Like.com technology) and a more intuitive way to see what the community really likes.

6) We wanted the ability to search the inventory of items by genre. As inventory grew we thought this would be very important to ensuring users could find what they were looking for.

7) We wanted to support multiple body types and wanted to add both a crowdsourced and artificial intelligence based muse to help you when you get stuck (these last items are coming soon).

Thanks
Munjal
CEO Like.com

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Comments

  1. says

    Reading the two emails, Looklet comes off as defensive and unprofessional and Coutorious comes off as well thought out. I have no idea who came up with the idea first, but Looklet’s blind attack doesn’t do them any favors.

  2. apricotmuffins says

    Looklet were most definately first. As stated, couturious tried to buy them because they saw that they published first, and, if like.com were prepared to pay the high price tag is GENUINELY deserves (its very popular, they know it will be a big earner) then there wouldnt be this problem. Looklet knew they were getting shilled if they accepted a lower price, so they did the right thing hand held on to their own. Couturious, on the other hand goes off, and directly copies the painstakingly, privately developed system because they KNOW its a good idea and they want in.

    Looklet are the little guys who got screwed over.

  3. Emily says

    Both of these sites appeal to different markets. Yes, Looklet launched first, but both sites in this article cater to a different market in a different part of the world. American users can’t even buy stuff off of Looklet. If everyone that developed twitter apps for the iPhone had a hissy fit like Looklet is doing every time a similar app comes out, then the internet would be plagued by people whining about copy cats. Its fashion. It happens. Thats what makes the industry better, and I think Couturious added a lot of really great user features.

  4. Fashionista says

    Looklet is in serious trouble. While I applaud to Looklet for making an awesome solution, the ‘make it’ or ‘pack up and go home’ is defined by business execution. They did not execute fast enough, their idea was not protected by patents, and certainly it lacked the business sense (you could not buy clothes). After Like.com’s action, its increasingly difficult for Looklet to raise any serious funding, which tampers their execution further.
    Wishing Looklet guys all the best as they are truly smart and hoping it gave a great lesson to look at bottom line cashflow, trading off perhaps some of the love for clothes.

  5. jULIA says

    Couturious is bad executed, realism is missing, specially the size of the foot when you put shoes on. Looklet has the quality and was FIRST. Couturious seriosuly sucks

  6. Felissa says

    I just tried Couturious and I have to say I’m not that impressed, perhaps Looklet doesn’t have as much to worry about as they think. I like that you can purchase the outfits through the website but it’s not enought to make me stray from Looklet.

  7. says

    Although Looklet’s email doesn’t sound very professional and their site doesn’t have the purchase/monetization feature that Couturious has, I still prefer Looklet as it looks much more realistic. The models on Couturious look like unnaturally balanced plastic dolls and the clothes don’t seem to fit nicely at all.

    Looklet needs to reinstate their widget…that was a winner for me.

  8. says

    Judging the responses from the two companies, Looklet sounded very sloppy while Like.com’s response is more preferred because it is thorough and well-thought out. Through the email from Looklet, it made them sounded like little proud arrogant bastards attacking Couturious if compared to the email recieved from Like.com which I think shows more respect to both this website and the public. I have to say though, I went on both looklet and Couturious and i think Looklet is WAY better, Looklet’s clothes, models etc are more realistic and the Looklet website is simple and easier to navigate while Couturious looks a little messed up.

  9. Nadja says

    I have been a Looklet user for 10 months and it’s my addiction. They have their glitches, of course, but the site is amazing. I have just checked out Couturious, and I don’t like it at all. I mean, the concept is the same, which has probably made me love Looklet, and if I discovered Couturious first, I would probably love it and play it, but Looklet is way better that Couturious. Yes, you can’t buy clothes over Looklet, but I wouldn’t buy the clothes even if you could. And Looklet’s models look way better, Couturious’s models look like bodybuilders in a very, very weird, unflattering pose. ON those models, nothing can look good. So, my vote goes to the amazing Looklet, even if their e-mail is completely unprofessional.

  10. TinyPure says

    Well for me I’d rather Looklet.com. because I don’t buy the garments at net, So is all the same that if I can’t buy the outfit at Looklet.com. And I’m a Asian who can’t get convenience offer as American , So personalty, I rarely go to the Polyvore , Shopstyle.com even I know they’re both good sitesXD

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