The Internet was abuzz when First Lady Michelle Obama wore a stunning suit at the State of the Union address in January. It was an exact match to a suit worn by Alicia Florrick, the main character in CBS’s The Good Wife. It’s not known whether FLOTUS purposely matched the onscreen lawyer, but anyone else inspired by the show’s fashions can find them, thanks to a website called Spylight.
Spylight, a digital startup based in Los Angeles, helps viewers instantly find exact outfits or close matches to popular movie and television characters. In addition to an immense archival website with over 99 shows and movies and a style-driven blog, Spylight is launching an audio-syncing app this month on the App Store.
“[The app] listens to the audio of shows or movies as you’re watching them, then shows the exact products featured on screen at that moment. [It’s] a bit like Shazam, but for fashion, says Chief Operating Officer Aly Moore.
Spylight partners with studios to gather information about character outfits before the shows make it to the screen. Of course, not everyone can afford Alicia Florrick’s thousand-dollar wardrobe, so Spylight curates affordable alternatives.
“We are building a disruptive technology that will open a whole new array of options for fans, studios, and fashion brands,” Moore says. “Through Spylight, brands can now receive recognition for—and benefit from—their contributions to movies and TV. And Hollywood studios can enable fans to engage with their favorite characters on a level that was never possible before.”
Spylight’s collaborative partnerships and 80 percent women team set Spylight apart from other startups. Now fan communities have a new way to interact with their favorite shows, like New Girl and The Big Bang Theory, two of the most popular shows on Spylight. Clothing designers also profit, as more viewers are able to identify and purchase looks.
Spylight is more than just clothing curation. The website contains a wealth of data into which characters are the most searched, as well as the imbalance between men and women characters in television and movies coming from major studios. Even on a popular show like The Vampire Diaries, which has a female lead, men outnumber women in main roles. According to a study by San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, women held 43 percent of speaking and major roles in primetime television shows played from 2012-13. Spylight’s data also looks at how the men and women are dressed in comparison to each other.
“I think from the beginning, the studios and networks recognized that we provide a new kind of engagement and monetization platform, and that only truly obsessed fashion geeks, like us, could really nail the job,” Moore says.
In keeping up with their tradition of live-blogging events, Spylight will be tweeting, tumbling, and posting styles from The Oscars on February 22.