By Aimee Chanthadavong

E-commerce website JASU may appear as a regular platform for where products are sold but on closer inspection it has also positioned itself as a resource for Australian fashion.

According to founder and CEO Albert Yang, the launch was driven mainly after recognising there was a crucial glitch in the Australian online shopping matrix.

“We have found that many sites focus mainly lies at product and sales, whereas JASU sees that an online sales channel should offer much more,” he said.

“By bringing together fashion lovers and the best fashion labels JASU aims to create a curated online fashion community that's also a fashion resource and lifestyle channel.”

Since the launch of the website in August, the site has already gained support from Australian designers including Dinosaur Designs, Dion Lee, Elke, Ellery, Gail Sorronda, Ginger & Smart, Gorman, Josh Goot, Megan Park, Rebecca Vallance, Romance Was Born, 2 by Lyn & Tony, with more soon to be announced.

The site is also collaborating with a number of fashion authorities, which are referred to as Stylemakers. The line up includes Nicole Warne (Gary Pepper), Mandy Shadforth (Oracle Fox), Sara Donaldson (Harper & Harley), Sarah Willcocks (StyleMelbourne), Charmaine James (heart + bleecker) and illustrator Kelly Thompson. The JASU Stylemakers will help promote their site via their own networks, as well as generate website editorials that showcase their personal style and favourite items.

“JASU's collaboration with its Stylemakers and member brands is making shopping social with the advent of social media and consumers influenced by the recommendations of their peers. Style advice and curated collections from our Stylemakers makes JASU a fashion resource,” Brooke Davis, JASU content manager, said.

During the website’s beta stage, JASU teamed up with Klout, a San Francisco based company that provides social media analytics to measure a user’s social influence across his or her social network. By having this partnership, JASU has been able to fast track membership for its founding members by measuring their Klout scores – a number between one and 100, is a representation of a person’s overall social media influence.

“Klout defines the influence and reach of key commentators, such as our Stylemakers, and we used this relevant technology to introduce the social nature of shopping while testing the site and setting up our designers,” Davis said.

Believing that the future of retail is trending towards direct selling with customers buying directly from the designers, the JASU founders assert the strength of this sales method is beneficial for the brands and customers.

“Australian online shopping is expanding and expanding fast. However, it's still lagging behind in many areas especially with the lack of own innovative concepts. While we have seen great success in many models, we need more initiatives that aim to tackle the local retail landscape,” Yang said.

“It is our belief that a model ideally should have a strong capacity for long term evolvement, improvement and in the end is going to deliver great benefits not only to customer but industry as whole.”