Pret-a-Reporter

Alexa Chung's Fashion App, Villoid, Has Nothing to Do With Villains or Asteroids

Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for The Hollywood Roosevelt
Alexa Chung

The style star clarifies the rumor about the app's name: "It doesn't mean anything, it's not based on anything. I literally pulled it out of my ass."

These days, it has become commonplace for celebrities to give their business a sentimental, meaningful name. Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James borrows the last names of her grandparents; Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is a play on her initials, G.P.; Beyonce’s Ivy Park combines her daughter’s middle name and her favorite hangout.

But this is not the case for Alexa Chung, who launched her fashion app, Villoid, in September of last year. Despite a rumor that the name was mash up of “villain” and “asteroid” — a nickname which Alexa allegedly called her friends — it turns out that “Villoid” isn’t really symbolic of anything.

“My CEO said that, and she’s Norwegian,” Chung told Pret-a-Reporter of how the rumor came to be. “Some things get lost in translation.”

The "It" girl was celebrating the app with close friends — including fellow Brits Poppy Delevingne and Kelly Osbourne — during an afternoon tea party at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, looking stylish as ever in a NK iMODE silk night gown, which she paired with high-top Converse. 

“I mean, it could be [villain and asteroid], but it’s not,” she muses. “I guess that’s her interpretation of what it means, and maybe I mentioned it in some way in a meeting. But nothing means anything until it is something, you know what I mean?”

So if not related to outer space and/or crooks, we’re left wondering: What exactly is Villoid? And how does it differ from every other social media or shopping app out there?

According to co-founder Karin Kallman, it’s something of the anti-fashion blogger destination. “It’s like only normal people,” she said of the app (which has been downloaded roughly 350,000 times worldwide) and its growing user base. Whereas social platforms like Instagram and shopping apps like Net-a-Porter’s The Net Set emphasize self-promotion and branding, Villoid, she counters, is for the everyday girl and fashion lover.

“We’ve been very conscious because Alexa’s on board and we don’t want to create this kind of top-down app,” Kallman added, emphasizing the importance of keeping the community accessible to “normal” people. "I think we’re at the time in our lives where people want to feel like they’re part of it. [We're] not focusing on influencers."

Chung, too, insists that the app is built for women who may feel too self-conscious to post outfits to social platforms without inciting eye rolls from friends and followers. “Instagram has limitations for me personally because I love it as a social communication with my friends and what I’m up to, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable necessarily just sharing outfits,” she said. 

With more than 550 brands on board, however, the app is still very much a shopping destination as well. Users who see a product on the app can click to buy, and Villoid receives a commission on the sale. 

Both Kallman and Chung note, however, that the app is still very much a work in progress. The somewhat clunky interface, which features of an endless scroll of "boards" made up of inspirational photos and products created by users, is still being honed and perfected through observation and user feedback. But with a new investor on board, the ladies are excited for what lies ahead.

"We actually just got the former CEO of Tumblr as an investor," said Kallman, beaming. "He sees some of the similarities in terms of how people are using it. We're very excited."


VILLOID GALS: Karin Kallman, left, and Alexa Chung. (Photo: Getty Images)

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