Blending peer pressure, social media, and the latest in consumer technology, CrossRef has introduced its foray into fashion with a new service they’re calling CrossDress.

Geoff Bilder at Fashion Week in NYC

Introduced yesterday during New York’s semi-annual “Fashion Week,” CrossDress promises to revolutionize how winning and stylish ensembles are created and propagated worldwide.

The CrossDress system works by allowing users to mix and match clothes using RFID tags, SKUs, and bar codes in a social media environment. Items that users combine are linked in a way akin to citation. A peer-review environment allows other users to evaluate potential combinations, and other community features allow for virtual fashion shows.

“We’re really excited about this,” said Geoff Bilder, the man behind CrossDress, just before the launch event. Wearing a surprisingly effective combination of a hunter green corduroy blazer, houndstooth slacks, a peach shirt, and a purple ascot, Bilder elaborated from the comfort of a well-appointed green room, apparently calm on the eve of the big event.

“I’ve been known to dress like a cross between a stock Palestinian and a skateboarder, but now I’m definitely natty. All thanks to CrossDress,” Bilder effused.

The event was held at one of the larger tents on the Fashion Week campus, and it was pure SRO, the buzz of this new offering preceding the event like a waft of perfume casting a spell before the woman appears.

“Publishing has always been about self-expression,” remarked Bilder later at a cocktail reception, fresh from the runway and looking dazzling in the latest tangerine dress designed by Michael Kors.  “Its all about diversity, not conformity.”

“I think of it as Garanimals on steroids,” Bilder said.

The system allows individuals to browse, upload, and annotate what it calls Unique Fashion Objects (UFOs), then use a citation system to create a spellbinding array of varied outfits.

UFOs can also be applied to entire outfits or even fashion lines. Luca Luca was one of the first to adopt CrossDress, with television personality and hostess Kristin Cavallari expressing her admiration:

Using CrossDress, were were confident in how flouncy shorts and brocade bottoms matched with breezy tops. And Luca Luca would never have made the flowing silk chiffon dresses in colorful triangle prints and soft colors without first studying them via UFOs.

In addition to many smaller deals, CrossDress’ most exciting partnership is with Bravo’s “Project Runway.” Through the show, users of CrossDress can be voted into the competition through community features, and the show’s companion site will feature other CrossDressers.

While peer-review is familiar to CrossDress’ parent organization, CrossRef, the CrossDress system will differ in significant ways, including Nero polls with multiple thumbs for emphasis, fingersnaps to signal approval, and a special “green with envy” icon to indicate jealousy.

Ed Pentz, wearing a decidedly subdued combination of surface-stressed jeans, a black shirt with a subtle brocade along the sleeves, and boot-inspired black slip-ons, was bullish on the potential for peer-review in CrossDress:

Scholarly publishing has its challenges getting enough reviewers, but not fashion. You can’t stop these people. Everything from a well-timed tsk to an all out fingersnap counts as peer-review, and some of it can be pretty devastating. It’s why I stick to the basics.

The power of the CrossDress system was demonstrated by designer Anna Sui, whose results were lavished with praise and described by OK! as:

If a hippie went to the farm was Anna Sui in a nutshell. Lots of patterns mixed together — lace, chiffon, fringe, feathers and sequins. Naturals were also big — browns, blues. Feathered headbands, flowy sleeves.

Little did OK! know, but Anna Sui’s entire collection this fall was realized during beta-testing of the CrossDress system. The audience was delirious when this fact was revealed.

In the future, only designers will have access to the premium version of CrossDress. A free version of CrossDress will be available to the general public, but will only allow for four modes of dress — business, business casual, “casual Friday frustration,” and “Saturday sophisticated.” Individuals will be able to purchase single-use Dinner Party, Wedding, Date, and Job Interview sessions, as well. The Date sessions will allow users to select from First, Second (Just Friends), Second (Romantic), Steady, Serious, Death Spiral, and Break Up modes.

(Original concept and fauxtography by Phil Davis. I just wrote the jokey text.)

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


3 Thoughts on "CrossDress: A New Fashion-Forward Service Where Social Media Meets Glamor"

So when Geoff spoke in Philadelphia last week he wasn’t talking about a change in ‘culture’, he was talking about a change in ‘haute couture’. It all makes sense now.

This is very funny, but I feel compelled to ask if the target is all mashups or simply the unreflective application of the technique. Is the next post a send-up of Picasso’s collages? I don’t dispute the idea that there are stupid people involved in the discourse surrounding scholarly communications, but is the target more than that?

Sorry to disappoint, but I think this was just a toothless bit of whimsy based on a play with “cross” that happened to occur to us during Fashion Week. However, if it suggests targets, perhaps that’s significant in ways we didn’t intend!

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