While no one wants to remember yet another username/password combo, Style Saint may just pass the cost-benefit analysis test. Anyone interested in fashion or photography, take note.
I think of Style Saint as a mix between Pinterest and Polyvore. You “tear” images from the Style Saint base—it looks just like Pinterest—and combine photos to create a virtual magazine called a “stylebook”. For example, I could tear photos to create a themed stylebook for items like high heels or animal print.
There's not much of a learning curve since the system is very straightforward, if not stark. You can create a very small stylebook or an extensive one, depending on how much effort you put into it.
Style Saint relies on a false-exclusivity, “invitation-only” ethos in a manner similar to Gilt or any other website that must first “accept” you. In Style Saint’s case, you're initially precluded from tearing sheets from the web. Upon joining, you can tear only what other “editors” (nearly everyone who joins the website) have already torn. You must create a stylebook and apply to join the editorial team, after which you can install the bookmarklet.
Style Saint appeals wholly to the instant gratification and jejune side of modern, fast-paced lifestyles. It’s part of human nature to want to create. Style Saint gives us an avenue for this, but asks nothing of us.
The results are immediate, but not memorable.
I can compare creating one of Style Saint’s stylebooks to a similar project that took me several weeks. I put together a stylebook in less than ten minutes. The site is easily navigable and many people have “torn” from my stylebook.
Recently, I bought a groupon for a website that Moleskine has collaborated with called Milk Books. Through the site you create a hybrid photo album-scrapbook in which you can upload photos from your computer and insert text. It's fairly minimalistic and free of the extras a caricatured scrapbook has, but there are many layouts to choose from in terms of how many photos you want on each page and how they are arranged.
Since this book can either be "digitally printed” and shared online or physically printed and mailed to you (which I did), the process of creating carries great weight. I edited the photos before inserting them, I proofread my captions, I had to mentally construct the book and consider which pages came at the beginning and what the best aesthetic orientation for a photo was.
In other words, I thought deeply about what I was creating, and, consequently, the end result is something I am proud of.
As a true outlet for creativity, I am extremely skeptical of Style Saint. But as a fun, mindless endeavor, I am a fan. Nothing worth doing is easy. I would say Style Saint works well as a platform for inspiration, which is what it claims to be, but I cannot see it achieving anything truly great. The idea of “tearing” is similar to Pinterest’s “repin” or Tumblr’s “reblog”; nothing is original. This isn't a bad thing, just a statement of fact. You could argue that assembling the extant images in a new way constitutes originality, and I would agree with you. I consider the new product a collage; not, perhaps, the most revered art form. Style Saint inspires secondary creativity, which can be a catalyst for primary creativity, so I will not write off the site altogether.
My final critique of Style Saint concerns the conflation of good photography and “good” style. Some of the images do not have much to do with fashion—such as an image of a toned stomach and cut-offs with no head or other garments visible—yet they are torn and re-torn repeatedly.
Style Saint is not what I would consider a haven for fashion. It is more of a pablum forum that spits out a beautiful finished product.