Networking site for creatives looks to prove its worth at NYFW

A LinkedIn for creative people in industries including fashion and film is hoping New York Fashion Week will give it a shot in the arm.

SohoMuse — created jointly by president and co-founder Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin and Leighton Webb, head of business development — is a members-only professional networking site designed to connect creatives across 11 verticals, including fashion design, film, music and art. The platform officially launched seven weeks ago and is currently in beta mode. The aim is to create a secure and trusted resource to locate creative services, a status it maintains through an invitation-only model and vetting process for prospective members.

For its first major public effort, SohoMuse is partnering with fashion designer Malan Breton during New York Fashion Week to livestream his runway show. Viewers will be able to purchase looks directly through the networking website after the show. Blockchain company Tokenly powers the see-now-buy-now infrastructure, and all viewers will receive a token that gives them access to products as well as future information on collections.

“Malan has the ability to showcase his work and sell his work; it’s the ultimate one-stop shop,” Vanderbilt Costin said. “[The blockchain platform] gives fashion designers the ability to talk directly to their customers and get paid immediately.”

Vanderbilt Costin said she was inspired to create SohoMuse during her time as a professional singer in the U.K., after she struggled to find a dancer to fill the spot of a last-minute dropout for a show in Germany. With her site, she said she wants to provide a way for creatives to connect immediately, without managers and agents slowing the process.

Once users get access to the site, they can build a personal portfolio and connect with other members. Vanderbilt Costin said she wanted to streamline the process of finding numerous services for an event or performance, like a fashion show or music video. “We created a situation where you look at what creatives are doing, on say, 20 different sites, and then compile it and put in one place on mobile and the website,” she said.

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A sample homepage image of SohoMuse

Though SohoMuse is available globally, it primarily serves the U.S., U.K. and German markets. Vanderbilt Costin’s goal is for it to essentially serve as a one-stop digital agency for individuals across a number of traditionally creative fields who she said may find “LinkedIn too corporate.” However, it includes similar elements to the popular networking site, such as endorsing users for skills and projects.

The site has close to 1,000 members, a starting network built with the help of 100 hand-selected ambassadors, including Ryan Church, an illustrator and concept designer who has worked on a number of films like “Star Wars” and “War of the Worlds.” Vanderbilt Costin said after SohoMuse opens to the public in the next one to two months, members can opt into a 30-day trial before paying a fee, which she did not disclose.

“Through my career, I found that there was this unbelievable need and void when it comes to building out your trusted group and network, especially when you’re working remotely and traveling to different locations,” she said.

Photo courtesy of SohoMuse

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