By Ada Zhang
The students who started Luxurylites.com are doing business again, and this time, their focus is fashion.
The beta version of Zafaré, the social media platform for fashion, will be available for purchase in the app store today.
Plano senior Rayyan Islam and Hewitt senior Yaseen Waqar, co-founders of Zafaré, said the beta version is not the final version of the app.
Launching the beta allows them to see how consumers respond to the app and what needs to be tweaked, they said.
“Nothing is final, but we’re still launching it so we get feedback from users,” said Waqar, chief design officer.
A final version of the app will be launched after the app has been perfected, Waqar said. Islam, Zafaré chief executive officer, said the idea for a fashion app came to him last December when he was shopping at H&M. He was browsing Facebook on his phone and noticed someone had tagged a picture of a Coke can.
That got him to start thinking about the implications and effects of tagging a picture.
“If I tag a picture, what could I lead it to?” Islam said. “What if I could tag clothing by brand and category and allow people to make purchases on an e-commerce website?”
Islam said as soon as he got the idea, he called Waqar to begin discussing business designs and marketing strategies.
At its foundation, Zafaré is a social media app, similar to Instagram. Users can follow one another, compose hashtags, tag photos and scroll down a newsfeed. Unlike Instagram, where users can post pictures of anything, the pictures and social interactions between Zafaré users revolve around fashion. Users can post pictures of themselves and tag the brands of clothing they’re wearing.
They can also see what other people are wearing.
“You have a news feed called ‘the runway,’” Islam said. “When you open your app, you’ll be on the runway and you’ll see all the brands and people you’re following.”
Islam said every picture is something that can be bought. If the user is interested in a particular item of clothing, he can click on the tag. This will take him directly to the e-commerce site to make a purchase.
“The mall as we know it is dead,” Islam said. “With the rise of e-commerce, we’re seeing a tremendous volume of online shoppers than ever before, and we want to cater to that.”
Zafaré currently has 1,500 brands available for users to tag. These brands include, but are not limited to, Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Zara, Gap and Ralph Lauren.
Another unique feature of Zafaré is called the “Vanity Bar.” Upward mobility on this progress bar depends on the number of points the user has.
When a user gains a follower, one point is added to his or her Vanity Bar. Every uploaded picture adds three points. Points accumulate over time as users post more content. Zafaré will offer shopping discounts when users reach the next level on the bar, Islam said.
“You rise up in the social hierarchy of fashion,” Islam said. “You don’t have to be George Clooney or Rihanna. You just have to have style.”
Islam and Waqar said Zafaré gives every fashion-driven and expressive individual the chance to become a fashion icon.
“When you see these pictures, you see actual users, not just celebrities,” Waqar said.
Being a pre-med student, Waqar said it hasn’t been easy trying to start a business while maintaining a high grade point average. He does, however, enjoy business and think the effort he has put into Zafaré will pay off.
“Seeing it come together now and be an app and about to be launched makes it worth it,” Waqar said. “We see potential for it, and we want world to see it too.”
Islam said traveling for Zafaré and meeting new people has taught him lessons in business he could not have learned in the classroom.
To make Zafaré a success, everything else in his life has become secondary, he said.
“The best way to put it is our start-ups are our babies,” Islam said. “We want them to grow. I stay up for my company. Whenever you’re passionate about something, you’ll go out of your way to make it happen. It’s a grind every day.”