Fashionology.com is pretty brilliant – but also a no-brainer retail for digital natives. It's not just brick & mortar retail for tween girls (it's online too). It's not just a t-shirt printing shop (it's hoodies, skirts, and dresses too, and it's design, production, and modeling). It's not just an individual design experience (it's a collective one too, online and offline, in fact it can be an on-demand girls' party). It definitely takes the Build-a-Bear, Webkinz, and ClubPenguin concepts to the next level (online, it's more social site than virtual world). A user is not just designing or using virtual and/or real objects or avatars; she's engaged in both or either virtual and/or real-world collaborative self-expression whose product she herself can wear to the "party" that the whole experience in effect becomes. Some may disdain all this as the commercialization of youth, but it would be hard to deny that creativity's involved – the kind that supports and energizes the highly collaborative m.o. of digital natives. The company itself sees its Hollywood retail store and Web site as "a dynamic new retail paradigm where girls can define and empower themselves through creativity and design," and – though Web designs do lead to a shopping cart and credit card input – at least the site lets girls create, collect, and share their designs without having to buy them. And it is a whole lot of fun – if economic reality, self-discipline, or parent allows – to be able to dress oneself, not just an avatar. So far there's just one Fashionology store – in Hollywood – another experience in creative networking or social producing. There – singly, with a friend or two, or as a whole group of birthday partygoers – girls can browse, design, produce, model, photograph and be photographed (see "Our Story").
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