New App Lets User Buy Clothes Only When Friends Approve

February 13, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. app /æp/ (n.) – short for application, a computer program usually downloaded for smartphones 
Example: My phone’s weather app helps me plan my trip.          

2. boast /boʊst/ (v.) – to be very proud of something
Example: Anna boasted her bag collection to her friends.      

3. enable /ɛnˈeɪbəl/ (v.) – (in electronics) to activate
Example: Mark enabled his phone’s Wi-Fi to be able to connect to the Internet.  

4. blindly /ˈblaɪndli/ (adv.) – without good reason or understanding
Example: We should look into facts instead of blindly believing rumors. 

5. faux pas /foʊ ˈpɑ/ (n.) – a rude or improper act, especially in social situations
Example: Criticizing one’s outfit in front of many people is a faux pas.


Read the text below.
A new shopping app called Mallzee [MOL-zee] allows users to purchase clothes only when their friends approve their choices.

This iOS app, initially made for shoppers in the UK and in Ireland, boasts a selection of two million products from around 200 major fashion brands. These brands include ASOS, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21.

With this app, the user can select the category of clothing, color, price range, and store that he or she prefers. The user simply swipes to the right if he or she likes the item and to the left if not. Mallzee then uses this data to create the user's "style graph" from which clothing recommendations will be based.

The app also lets the user share with his or her friends the item he or she intends to buy. Friends can approve or disapprove the item. If most friends disapprove of the item, Mallzee will prohibit the user from buying it. Mallzee founder Cally Russell calls this the "boyfriend feature," which stops users from buying awful clothes.

If users wish to buy an item that their friends disapproved, they can convince their friends to change their vote. If majority of their friends approve of the item, the buy button will be enabled. Mallzee then earns whenever a user pushes the buy button.

Instead of following strangers or blindly sharing a user's preferred items through the Internet, Russell believes that Mallzee provides a different kind of social interaction. It allows users to have meaningful conversations with their friends about the clothes they plan to buy. In the process, Mallzee hopes to stop the user from committing a fashion faux pas

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you be interested to use this app? Why is that so?
·         Do you think that your friends’ approval is necessary when buying clothes? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of shopping online? Please explain.
·         Do you think that shopping online is safe? Why or why not?


February 13, 2014