Author Archives: You Gene Kim

NYC Fashion Index Weekly Update




As previously mentioned, we chose Python to incorporate data set from Instagram API.

It would be necessary to utilize My SQL for geospatial libraries. For data mining, we focus on collecting geospatial tags in NYC areas to analyze fashion. Using relational database will fit for our project. We are planning to incorporate multiple data sets e.g.) hashtags+Images+Link between images and hashtags+ Iocational information (where the pic was taken, neighborhoods)

Ren and Tessa met Prof. Gold to get feedback for our projects. First of all, our project has to emphasize the “analytic research angle.” It would be better to observe patterns across multiple data sets. Also, we discovered the fact that crowdsourcing was unpredictable and unreliable. Regarding to this matter, we would rather lean more towards curated approaches for our project.


NYC Fashion Index: Team Report


Currently, our team focuses on technologies and outreaches. We created the lists of taglines related to fashion and sprezzatura.

Developer -Tessa

Decided to use Python  as the programming language to pull big image data sets.

Installed homebrew for more productive data mining, interm, and Text Wrangler.

Made a github account and linked github to my terminal with an SSH key

Cloned the repository for python for instagram

Next Steps:

Download free database (possibly postgres because it has geotagging functionality built in)

Use python and text editor to get images and metadata into database
Use django app and python to build front-facing site

Outreach -Renzo

Created instagram and twitter accounts.

If you are interested please follow @nycfhasionindex

Designer – Min 

Designed the logo and prototype of the webpage.

Setting up placeholder web linking to social media platforms (twitter, instagram, tumblr)


Overall, we are setting up the reclaim hosting.

Fashion Index (Sorry…I accidentally deleted the posting)

The Team:

Min: Designer

Tessa: Developer

Renzo: Outreach

You Gene: Project Manager




In this project we will fundamentally navigate what people wear in their daily life for the sake of function and beauty, and how they like to show it off to the world through the internet. Fashion has a long history, but today fashion due to the rise of the Internet and SNS (Social Network Services) fashion now has a chronological narrative. In particular, instagram provides an enormous amount of images as people post their daily outfits. The collection of images can be indexed and achieved. As a result, it becomes a fashion trend with a wide range of colors, patterns, and styles.


Our methodology is creating a visual timeline of fashion trends in New York based on harvesting the keywords and geospatial data from instagram. On instagram, we will focus on collecting and analyzing hashtags taken in New York, specifically one hashtag, “sprezzatura.” To do data mining, we will mainly utilize API, which provides statistics and help analyzing the trend and popularity. We also want to emphasize a user friendly aspect to the design of the final project with the possibility that viewers will come to the site and see a wall of photos and clicking on one would bring up information and statistics linking it to other photos.


The main audiences for this project are people who belong to fashion communities, including designers, fashion journalists, and those interested in fashion studies and trends. Yet, there is no social index of fashion images. We pursue our goal that this project will lead to create a new social index for fashion. We also aim to create a lively updated visualization datasets what we have collected. In addition, our goal is to define and investigate future fashion trends by looking back our fashion chronology. We expect this project will bring fashion into the dialogue of digital humanities and open up interdisciplinary possibilities between digital humanities and fashion studies.

Keywords: fashion, instagram, data mining, API, social index, sprezzatura, fashion trend, visual timeline

Environmental Scan:


Fashion acts as a barometer of popular tastes, social trends, and socio-economic climate of a place and time. Significantly, fashion schools in New York including MAD, Pratt and Parsons New School reflect scholarly approaches in fashion studies. Social Network Services, especially Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat capture the now and at the best of time it can represent a momentary unified cultural experience, or at worst, fleeting moment to moment frivolities demanding your attention.


As of December in 2014, Instagram reported there were over 300 million unique users uploading more than 70 million photos and videos every day. The New York Times deemed this phenomenon as “fashion in the age of Instagram.” A new era has arrived where digital media is changing not only the way clothes are presented, but even the way they are designed. Active users help enriching and indexing databases by interacting with images and videos in real time. For example, if an Instagram user tagged an image with #sprezzatura, this image would function as the index on the site. Then, he or she  would search the image and check if it matched with one’s own standard.  If three users negate the image, the images would be discarded from the historical timeline. Unfortunately, these types of applications are not designed to an archival study in mind, so all the pictures taken can be outdated and lost. Although new digital tools offer novel access to capture and share images, they do not include the voices of individuals or trends outside the mainstream fashion world.


Recently, a proliferation of fashion forums as known as thefashionspot.com and lookbook.nu allow to share the snapshots and comments on current fashion trends. Although these sites host a wealth of fashion community images, they are often niche curated by fashion experts. Fashion has developed as a history told by the victors, meaning the designers and brands that endure financially and the celebrities they dress, while leaving small designers out of the narrative. There is no fashion social index on fashion images. Thus, we pursue a big data-drive look for fashion timelines which has not been operated by fashion experts. Instead, we will aggregate the imageries which help produce and discover new types of fashion languages. Franco Moretti discussed this aggregation approaches in his book Graphs, Maps, Trees that “the lost 99 percent of the archive and reintegrating it into the fabric of literary history.”  In this context, we will bring the 99% of the forgotten fashion archives and replace it into the dialogue. This project will lay the groundwork for how we can capture snapshots in fashion at a specific time and place.

What problem does this solve?


This project provides a more permanent snapshot of rapidly changing fashion trends by pulling them from sources that are not designed with archiving in mind (Instagram). The internet has this simultaneous problem of hanging around forever while also being here today, gone TODAY.


What lacuna does it fill?

In cities like New York there is a constant demand for data on fashion tastes and industry.

By Aggregating scattered sources of data and crowdsourcing we will create a more unified view of fashion in New York in a way that was previously unfeasible due to a lack of archiving.

Issues of broken images and credibilities of data.


What similar projects are there?

There are ongoing projects to digitize fashion records, namely the Vogue Archive, The Women’s Wear Daily Archive, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America Archive, but each of these are institution-specific. The Bloomsbury Fashion Photography Archive, part of the Berg Fashion Library, is in the process of archiving over 600,000 images indexed by expert scholars, but these images are mainly comprised of runway photos from the Niall McInerney Fashion Photography Archive. There has been a proliferation of fashion forums in recent years, such as the thefashionspot.com and lookbook.nu, where fashion enthusiasts gather to share photos of themselves and comment on current fashion.

What technologies will be used?

Instagram API- data  mining- digging instagram, spatial analysis, some basic website building tools like WordPress. Integrating analytics data into visualization.

Which of these are known?

Data, layer verification, indexing, database, tags, the NYPL picture collection


Which need to be learned?

We need to learn how to yank the API from Instagram through Apigee, better understanding of analytics integration and UX design.

How will the project be managed?

Documents and communication will be retrained on Google drive, but we’re also considering looking at the Graduate Center Redmine.



Week 1: Gathering the team, organizing roles, defining tasks

Week 2: Website mockup draft and project text and branding drafts

Week 3: Website live with project description and placeholder for indexing interface

Week 4: Social media accounts live, project promotion begins

Week 5: Instagram API loads into indexing interface

Week 6: Users can interact with indexing interface to tag and validate images

Week 7 – 10: Ongoing indexing and data cleaning

Week 11: Initial visualizations prepared

Week 12: Final visualizations uploaded to website


Fashion Index User Stories



Fashion studies is an interdisciplinary academic field. We believe it strongly bridges to social science areas including sociology, anthropology, and psychology.  People who came from fine arts and design studies as well as those who have social science background of studies will show integrating interests to our project.

1. Socioeconomic scholars

They will analyze data from instagram based on geographic information, neighborhood, and economic status. Instagram users tag their location and brand of clothes once they post their ootd (outfit of the day).  Based on the information, socioeconomic scholars can predict the users’ economic climate. Depending on neighborhoods and districts, people dress differently. Thus, dress code symbolizes the occupations along with the social classes. Certain clothes are dressed in special occasions to discuss social or political issues and to give messages.

2. Psychologists

Fashion is a form of expressing oneself.  Psychologists can predict what certain groups of people want to express through their clothing. They can also read the psychological fabrics of the people   through patterns, colors, and styles. What’s more, fashion is deeply related to the psychology of the consumers, and psychologists can analyze and predict its trend.                  Personal style without chasing the trends defines one’s identity through what one is wearing and reflects strong points what looks good on one’s body shape.

3. Costume Designers

They work on the design of items of clothing  and pay attention to specific reference materials especially textiles and colors. They will get inspiration to design their clothes for the performers especially from film and broadcasting. In particular, costume designers are responsible for overall look of the clothes and costumes in theatre, film, or television producers. They need to have excellent design skills as well as organization skills to lead the team. They should also reflect the socioeconomic and psychological aspects of the people’s life in different backgrounds.

In this project, we aim to provide straight facts about the who, what, when, where. The tags will be listed by either the initial user or added by crowdsourcing.

@yougenee skill set posting

I would like to describe my basic characteristics and strong point. Also couple of weak points…
-social science studies background
– organized/ neat
-analytic- good at summarizing long paragraphs.
-good at mediating opposing ideas
-liberal & open-minded/ flexible
-punctual in time, time management
-arranging time
-negotiation, communication
-I think I am a trainable person. I easily get used to a novel environment.
I have experience in designing google sites for my undergraduate course works.

I am thinking of doing project manager.
I want to avoid the designer because I have lack of knowledge of coding/ computer languages.
Outreach collaborator… maybe I will think about it.

To be honest, I am not still familiar with coding. I am afraid of making huge mistakes once I have to serve the role related to the coding.

I look forward to hearing interesting ideas for next class.


DH in East Asia

Basically, DH field was foreign to me because I don’t have computer science background. Throughout the class discussion, reading materials, and workshops, I ended up having a better understanding of DH. I want to share additional information from my paper.

Overall, DH has been globally stretched.
The basic methodologies of DH have been applied in East Asian Digital Humanities Institutions regarding mostly cultural and historical contents. e.g.) Taiwan, Japan, Korea

1. Taiwan.
Taiwanese DH scholars organized historical and political events through data mining and the DH scholars focused on organizing the historical materials relating to the people of China and Taiwan in the Qing Dynasty.
In addition, Taiwan founded the Digital Libraries/ Museums Program (DLMP) in 1998. This organization’s goal was to digitalize the cultural heritage and created a new program called National Digital Archives Program (NDAP).

2. Japan.

There is a proper example of how social network service worked efficiently during the natural disaster in Japan. During the 3.11 Tohoku earthquake disaster in 2011, Japanese SNS users at that time gathered the precise locational information on Twitter and were able to alarm the relief of tsunami victims.


3. Korea

Korea is benefited from data visualization in history department. In particular, data visualization help organizing family trees during Joseon Dynasty.



These figures illustrates the transformation form paper work to digitized form.

Korea, in fact, is known as a strong IT country, but the researches on humanity fields are largely marginalized. Overall, Korean academic puts more emphasis on Science and Technology field. DH in Korea should be balanced between computation and humanity to maximize useful information.

The rising of the Digital Humanities

Actually, I am not a big fan of technology. First, I had a hard time to understand computer languages such as HTML, JAVA etc because those texts or languages looked like codes from the movie Matrix for me. I guess I wasn’t enough to be motivated to study computer field. Second, I don’t trust the Internet resources. I still rely more on primary resources or books. However, it is not necessary to resist using technologies. To tell the truth, the society rapidly changes and evolves. If I still avoid learning to utilize digitized tools, I will get far behind. In the end, I will be an extremely narrow-scoped person. I saw many people use digitized technologies to learn and work productively. I realized that I also need to know how to use digital technologies. I guess DH coursework will help me understanding digital languages and synthesizing technology and academia.

Professor Gold asked us to define digital humanities in one sentence on the first day of class. I think DH is a mixture of technology and academia that will lead our life styles. I agree with Professor Brier’s idea that DH is a blended theory and practice. At first, I thought that I was not close to the digitized technology, but the technology is fully embedded in my life.  According to professor’s work, DH incorporate a broad range of data throughout the scholastic world.  DH contributed to preserve and visualize written information. It led “scholarly communication in networked environment.” For instance, Archaeology faculty focus on reconstructing and preserving records by software programs.  In this respect, Archaeology epitomizes what DH aim to do.


In the end, DH transform from paper to digital recording, it is still recording. Educational institution need to introduce DH to many students and make it more accessible to many people. In the long term, the knowledge and skill from DH will be useful in working industry as well. Most of firms require to interpret and synthesize data in digitized forms.