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Net-a-Porter launches first-of-its-kind mobile shopping app

The Net Set is one small step for shopping apps, one giant leap for your shopping addiction

The road to e-commerce is littered with mobile apps – apps to help you sell your secondhand clothes, organise your wardrobe, organise your street style snaps – but the holy grail of them all is definitely the shopping app. Even though we can effectively run our entire lives from our smartphones, there's still no one app that has nailed the online shopping experience. Enter the Net Set, Net-a-Porter's new app.

Billed as a cross between a cross between Instagram and a conventional shopping app, the Net Set allows users to sign up alongside brands, designers and other fashion personalities to share images on their profile and shop brands listed on other people's profiles. 

Like Instagram, you can follow, like and comment on images. Unlike Instagram, you can shop directly within the app without exiting to a third-party website – as long as the brand is available on Net-a-Porter, obviously. There's even in-built technology that allows users to identify a garment (or their closest equivalent) in other people's images.

Natalie Massenet, the founder of Net-a-Porter, said in a statement: "Digital innovation doesn't stand still and neither do we. We are incredibly excited to launch the world's first luxury shoppable mobile social network where fashionable digital women all over the world can connect and enjoy a unique and seamless shopping experience across all devices. The rise of social media and style blogs has shown that women around the world are inspired by each other's style and closets."

The Net Set will have to fight off competition from other mobile apps like Spring, which launched in August and stocks brands like Opening Ceremony and Public School. It's also in the running against online tools like LikeToKnow.It, which basically makes Instagram accounts shoppable – Vogue and bloggers like Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller use it to get commission on goods featured in their pictures.

The app will launch on 13 May for those gifted with an early invite, with roll-out scheduled later on in the year. It'll be available on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch (sorry, Android users).