Useful apps for fashion designers : shop the market apps

Jo Hughesfashion design, mobile apps

Shop the market apps

I remember back in the day when competitor shopping used to be a prime exercise in inventive sneaking. Okay there was the odd occasion that you were actually given a budget to buy samples, but in more cases than not it was taking Burberry ready-to-wear blouses into the changing rooms in Selfridges and mimicking a chesty cough to cover the “kerchunk” of the camera lens opening and shutting. Covering the flash was a whole different ballgame.

Since the advent of the smart phone, shopping the market has become a whole lot easier and not just because of the beautifully silent, mega pixel rich onboard camera. There are also a whole array of apps that lend themselves perfectly to task of recording and capturing all the associated data.

Large Ruler Full

Large Ruler

Price: Android – Free
For Android: Yes
For IOS: No

Forgot your tape measure, or just simply don’t want to carry extra baggage? Need to know the cross chest measurement or the depth of a cuff? Well Large Ruler Full may be just the app for you.
While admittedly not the most accurate way of measuring, it is user friendly enough to give you a good rough measurement, if not to the mm precision.



Price: Android/IOS – Free
For Android: Yes
For IOS: Yes

Skitch, by Evernote, is the perfect accompaniment to a competitor shopping or trend discovery trip. This app enables you to snap a picture, mark it up with a simple to use tool set, then finally send it out to anyone in your contact list. So just imagine you are at a trade show and a decorative detail catches your eye that you think would be great inspiration for summer prints – use Skitch to capture the detail, annotate the particular details/idea you want to highlight then send it straight back to the rest of the design team instantly.

You can annotate pictures you have just taken, choose existing images on your device or even just start with a blank canvas. The annotation tools set includes arrows, lines and shapes, text tool, highlighter tool, pixelate tool (to blur out details you don’t want to share), crop tool and a stamp tool (imagine this like a post it note to highlight and comment on a particular pat of the image.
Sharing your image can be done via AirDrop (with any other AirDrop-enabled device), text message, email and via social media.


Fashion Places

Fashion Places

Price: £0.50 / Free (Lite version)
For Android: Yes
For IOS: No

Off on a shopping trip to New York? Haven’t been there before or don’t really know your way around that well? Well that’s where Fashion Places comes to your aid. Picking up your location, Fashion Apps will show you on a map all the surrounding fashion, footwear and accessories shops. You can store your favourites and send them to your colleagues for their next trip as well.



Price: IOS – Free
For Android: No
For IOS: Yes

Whilst not strictly for competitor shopping, this app can still come in very handy for those shopping trips to Paris as this one is for capturing inspiring street style. In a nutshell Swaag allows you to snap photos of willing passers by and when they tell you all about the items they are wearing you can tag each item in the photo with the brand for reference – there are over 10,000 brands in the Swaag database. You can also browse through uploads from other Swaag community users for streetwear inspiration, with 1000’s of new streetwear shots from around the globe being added daily.


Jo Hughes on sablinkedin
Jo Hughes
With a background in fashion design, Jo has worked with many international retail and apparel companies, implementing solutions to help them work more efficiently to develop products.

She has a detailed understanding of the apparel product development process and the supporting systems including PLM, PDM, CAD and 3D garment design.