Chictopia was founded by Helen Zhu, Corinne Chan, and Richard Ho in 2008. Zhu and Chan both attended University of California Berkeley, with Zhu graduating in mechanical engineering and Chan electrical engineering and computer science. Prior to Chictopia, Zhu worked for eight years in the web industry as a product manager, Chan as a software engineer and systems architect, and Ho as an integrated circuit designer.
In 2009, the clothing brand American Apparel featured several active Chictopia users as models as part of an ad campaign that ran on the site and elsewhere titled, "Our Friends from Chictopia." In 2011, Chictopia ran its first Influential Blogger of the Year competition featuring eight rising fashion bloggers. In 2013, Chictopia held a social shopping event with American Apparel and Crossroads Trading Co. called Shop it Like its Hot in the SoMa District of San Francisco.
The website is designed for users interested in fashion and looking to refine and showcase their personal style. Users upload outfit photos, describe their physical traits, and connect to other users who share similar body types, complexion, and style. Users can get an idea of how clothes would look on themselves and how to style them in a relatable way, as opposed to fashion models.
Zhu has said she wants Chictopia to be what YouTube has been for filmmakers and what Myspace has been for musicians.
Teen Vogue named Chictopia "The Next Big Thing" shortly after its founding. Nylon lists the website in its "Top 4 Style Sites." Womens Wear Daily named Chictopia Top six sites to watch, along with Polyvore, Foursquare, and three others in 2010.
Zhu attended the University of California Berkeley, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering. For 8 years after graduation, she worked for numerous online companies. In 2008, Zhu, along with fellow UC Berkeley grad Corinne Chan, founded Chictopia.
Chictopia has received mentions in Teen Vogue, Nylon, Women's Wear Daily, and Jezebel. The site currently does more than 13 million pageview per month from 255,000 members.
On her site, Karla photographs her "versatile" looks and often mixes vintage pieces, from labels like Versace, with modern companies. She has referred to her style as a "pot of stew" which includes "simplicity," "androgyny" and "femininity." She is a student.
Karla was also briefly in an American girl group called the Slumber Party Girls, who was the house band for TV show Dance Revolution; they also had their own mini-show KOL Secret Slumber Party on CBS. She was one of thousands to audition.
Deras along with other bloggers designed a bag for Coach.