Find out more on one of our Style Issue Masterminds, Lookbook.nu‘s founder, YURI LEE as we let you in on the rest of the interview.
So Yuri, mind giving us a bit of basic and some juicy info about you?
I’m a simple girl. I like music, art, and fashion. I also have two cats named Eve and Sophie who I love to death.
You graduated with a degree in Art History from UC Irvine. Why the sudden interest in fashion? Or has it always been part of who you are?
My educational background since high school has been very immersed in art so I’ve always been very interested in the many possible forms of expression–including fashion of course. So I guess you could say it’s always been a love of mine.
Before being all hands on with one of the most joined sites in the virtual world, what kept you busy then?
Not much! I had only just graduated for half a year or so before my boyfriend and I started designing the site. My first job was at a small art gallery in SF; afterwards, I dabbled in retail management (no thanks!) and then LOOKBOOK.nu just kinda fell in my lap. The rest is history as they say.
How did the concept of LOOKBOOK.nu come about and why the name?
The reason I moved up from sunny Southern California to cold, foggy SF in the first place (where I’d lived my whole life) was because my boyfriend Jason got a job as a developer at a social networking startup in the Bay Area. One day we were discussing ideas for social websites that were doable and hadn’t been done yet, and I brought up fashion! I remember he kind of just looked at me blankly, like “uhh..okay” but after I showed him The Sartorialist and The Cobrasnake, and turned him on to street style blogs, he got more interested. It didn’t take long to find tons of fascinating people sharing their outfits online, but there weren’t any good sites that were dedicated to this simple concept of finding inspiration from the outfits of everyday people. So we wanted to create a minimalist interface for posting and viewing and talking about “looks.” A few weeks later, LOOKBOOK.nu was launched from our tiny apartment.
We went with [dot] nu because its sort of a play on the word “new” and we felt like the overarching goal of our site was to create a “new” kind of virtual lookbook, one that’s a collaborative grass roots effort of talented everyday people from all walks of life who share a common love of fashion. Hence, LOOKBOOK.nu.
Keeping a site this big, working is a tough task. How many people work behind LOOKBOOK.nu and how do you keep it up and running?
There’s only three of us. We’re all friends who’ve known each other for years so we can work well together and “bust shit out” pretty quick. My boyfriend Jason is our main technical guy. Our first addition to the team, Andy, helps with web design but also sells ads and builds partnerships so we can eat, have health insurance, and pay the bills. As for me I guess I am like the resident graphic artist, marketing person, and community manager. So I’m a slave to all our members’ emails, but I also get to make new friends and work on various tasks and projects that will help us take over the world. Right now for example, I’m designing LOOKBOOK.nu t-shirts!
What keeps you and your team inspired?
Knowing that the site makes people happy (whether it’s 100 or 1,000,000). People across very different backgrounds, very different cultures, are coming together on LB to connect and draw inspiration from each other.
How do you want people to feel after checking out your site?
We love how you interview some of your members and pique their and the browsers’ interests. Where did you guys derive the idea from?
We simply wanted to strengthen the sense of community on LOOKBOOK.nu and give everyone a more personal look at our influential members, their tastes and aspirations. Similar interviews have been done on The Sartorialist and thecoolhunter.net, two oft-frequented sites among the team, but ours are a little more in-depth.
Best thing about your job:
Freedom to work whenever, wherever and however I want.
Japanese and Korean designers. Classic European styles. People.
Tips from Yuri:
What to do when taking a LOOKBOOK.nu photo:
– Take a well-lit, head-to-toe photo that shows your outfit clearly, in all its glory!
– Pick a nice setting to compliment your outfit. Feel free to show us an interesting backdrop in your city—a charming brick wall or somewhere special to you —just don’t distract the focus away from what you’re wearing!
– Smile. It’s OK to look happy!
What NOT to do when taking a LOOKBOOK.nu
– Take photos of yourself at arms length. It almost never looks good. Especially when taken overhead.
– Collage too many photos together into one.
– Add unnecessary Photoshop effects or random text into the picture.
Interview by Tracy Collantes
Photographed by Sydney Lo
Check out STATUS MAGAZINE ISSUE 08 for more on Yuri Lee