The Changing Landscape of Fashion Blogging

As you may know I’m a fashion presenter/reporter and see myself more of a ‘social’ blogger where I blog as and when there is something of interest I want to write about. But to some, fashion blogging is a way of life, a 24/7 full time committed job with back to back research, travel and meetings.

We all know the world of the fashion blogger has exploded over the years. In the 1990’s blogging began simply as a way of sharing your interests and hobbies, but now top bloggers have ‘become the press’, are influential and are recognised as journalists in their own right.
Tavi Gevin was just 11yrs old when she shot to fame for her blog The Style Rookie, Susie Bubble has worked on projects ranging from Gap to Giorgio Armani and Selfridges, and Bryan Boy not only appears as a judge on Americas Next Top Model but had a bag named after him by Marc Jacobs!

Popular bloggers are not only sent freebies to give their unbiased opinions on, but have become a new type of celebrity and ‘brand’ themselves due to their popularity. They have clothing lines and published books, are invited to celebrity parties/top store openings and are given front row seats to major catwalk shows. Simply because their views and their 2-4 million readers a month carry weight to retailers.

Their quirky posts and images mean that fashion bloggers have become the new form of entertainment.

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Having interviewed John Alston (MD from Collectif) at Pure London recently he explained the shift of online sales in retail. Clothes are not just sold online on a basic website with pictures of clothes and stark catwalk videos. Instead there is a new shift towards social media creating a more accessible, friendly and personal approach. One that includes blogging.

He explained his company’s sales had grown by 50% in the last 6x months purely due to social media. He held extravagant events that got people talking and posting photos, he started making videos not of models wearing clothes on stark catwalks, but in places viewers could relate to like cafés and parks. He also connected with people on Pinintrerst, Twitter and Instagram, getting first hand reviews and feedback from his buyers. And finally, he tapped into the power of bloggers from around the world that were relevant to his brand. ” it’s our social media following our blogging our activeness and engaging with our customers online which is one of the main reasons of our success of late.” ….It worked.

With fashion blogging becoming an ever increasing marketing tool, and print media sales dwindling, journalists from newspapers and magazines have been jumping ship to work in retail as online social media journalists. Lucy Yeomans EIC of Harpers Bazar UK left her job to work for Netta Porter as editor-in-chief and Faran Krentcil moved from NYLON Magazine to Clarins’ Beauty Flash blog and Shopbop’s blog. If you look at websites like Warehouse and La Reodute you’ll notice they too have blog sections and have entire online teams dedicated to giving their viewers a more informative, personal shopping experience.

With the rise in social media, bloggers now have a variety different platforms to express their views. You don’t have to write essays any more, but instead you can write short blogs via Tumblr, write micro blogs via Twitter or have your own video blog. With loyal readers, you can also make a lot of money, reaching up to six figures (Bryan Boy earns around $100,000 pyr) though advertising, sponsorship and in some cases becoming the ‘face’ of a brand (Aimee Song earns upward of $50,000 per big-brand collaboration with the clothes she wears becoming an instant sell-out).

It seams the fashion ‘blogosphere’ has become increasingly more serious.

I know a few committed top UK bloggers and they explained blogging isn’t easy. The demand for constant news and the pressure to remain a ‘top blogger’ means they have to constantly write and keep on top of numerous forms of social media in order to maintain their image. “We are at a point in the evolution of blogging where only the strongest will survive — it’s Darwinism… I think the biggest fight is to stay relevant and innovative. Things get stale very quickly, especially on the Internet.” (Leandra Medine ‘The Man Repeller’)
A tweet posted by blogger Liberty London Girl is a good example: “0336hrs. STILL AWAKE. Have edited 2500 odd pics. Written four blog posts. Tackled email (ish).”

Adding to that pressure though, there is a new sinister side to the world of blogging. With more and more people now blogging about fashion, events like Fashion Week and the Kate Moss reveal at Top Shop have become a scrum, as crowds of photographers and bloggers fight to get pictures of the models and celebrities for their online sites. And then of course there is Blogger-Bashing. A new act where readers not only give their feedback to the articles that have been written, but have begun posting nasty, vindictive and hateful comments on bloggers sites. This in my opinion is something that should be stamped out immediately in order to keep the blogosphere a fun and friendly community.

There still remains a continued debate if blogging can be called journalism or not? But one thing is for sure, the blogging landscape has changed and will continue to evolve.

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