Edmontonians create Hollywood-backed app that sells clothes seen in movies, TV

Nelo, a fashion app which helps users find designer items like those worn in movies and television shows, was created by three Edmontonians — and has recently scored a licensing deal with Universal Studios.

The creators of Nelo have called the social marketplace app 'the hub of Hollywood fashion'

Pavlo Malynin, right, and co-creators Qasim Rasi, left, and Hammad Jutt, centre, created Nelo, a social marketplace app where users can by items seen in moves and television. (Hammad Jutt/Supplied)

The idea of a Hollywood company based in Edmonton sounded far-fetched, even to the creators of Nelo.

The fashion app, which helps users find designer items like those worn in movies and television shows, was created by three Edmontonians — and has recently scored a licensing deal with Universal Studios and the movie Pitch Perfect 3.

But to reach the point they're at now, the creators couldn't be totally truthful about where they were based.

Qasim Rasi, one of the creators of Nelo, would fly down to Los Angeles when the company was still trying to carve out a role for themselves. Before meeting with costume designers, he'd rent a flashy car. The team opened a small office in Beverly Hills.

"You had to look the part," Pavlo Malynin, co-creator of Nelo, told CBC's Radio Active Thursday. "That, I think, had a really big impact on how people perceived us and our company, because we were right there in Hollywood."

When costume designers asked where he was from, Rasi would ease into saying he was from Canada, first by saying he was from Vancouver, somewhere the costume designers are more likely to have heard of.

Now that they've got costume designers from 34 hit TV shows like The Mindy Project, Suits and Mad Men, they're proudly wearing an Edmonton badge.

'Hub of Hollywood fashion'

Imagine you see a purse in a TV show that you like. Malynin and the other co-creators will call the designer of the purse and ask them to make more to sell. Nelo can sell the items, or the designer can sell them, and both parties make a cut from the sale.

Malynin said the partnership is a win-win-win: Nelo gets a skim off the top of the sale, the designer sells items and the buyer gets a product that may have once seemed impossible to track down.

The social marketplace app, which the creators have called "the hub of Hollywood fashion," also allows users to create fashion looks and pay costume designers to design the looks for them.

"These looks can be actual items from the show that you can go and purchase, or they could be something that inspired [them]," Malynin said.

Their recent partnership with Universal Studios and the movie Pitch Perfect 3 involves a contest for users to design a look for characters in the movie.

TVCOM has partnered with Pitch Perfect 3 for a contest as part of their deal with Universal Studios. (Hammad Jutt/Supplied)

Three winners will be chosen by Salvador Perez Jr., the president of the Costume Designers Guild, and will receive the items they picked for the outfit.

Malynin and Rasi, along with Nelo co-creator Hammad Jutt, also created TVCOM, a company that hopes to further tap into the Hollywood fashion market.

This is all happening while two of them are still in school at the University of Alberta. But now costume designers know they're from Edmonton — and they're OK with it, too.

"We foresee there will probably be further collaboration in the future," Malynin said.

Listen to Radio Active with host Portia Clark, weekday afternoons on CBC Radio One, 93.9 FM/740 AM in Edmonton. Follow the show on Twitter: @CBCRadioActive.