Today I wanted to share a little bit with you guys about why I blog, and also how important this community is on a global scale. Being a blogger or an “influencer” as some of the biggest bloggers are deemed carries a certain weight that is often undervalued in the industry. This piece that I wrote back when I was squeaking past 200 followers on Instagram is of immense importance to me. And I hope that what I say rings true for a lot of bloggers in our little community, as well as all the girls who love to follow along. I left it unedited, even though my following has grown; I wanted to preserve the message that all bloggers no matter how large or small bring value to the table.
Blogger Babes Photographed by Grant Friedman
Though the concept barely existed beyond the dawn of Facebook, Twitter and the rise of social media, fashion blogging has become a booming industry in less than half a decade. Nowadays, whether you have 200 followers (like myself), 20,000 (like up-and-comers such as Kat Tanaka of With Love from Kat), or two million (like the ever-inspiring Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad) it seems as if everyone and their mother…and their best friend…and all of their 200 sorority sisters has a fashion blog. Though the industry is indisputably saturated, and many people scoff at blogging as more than a hobby, there is so much more that blogging has done for the fashion community and women alike that often goes unrecognized. This community of entrepreneurs (because that’s really what bloggers are) creates a self-curated space of modern fashion that both promotes and dictates trends while inspiring consumers to have more agency in their shopping experiences.
First and foremost, bloggers are really selling something entirely different from magazines, stores or labels: their style, their ideas, and their voices. As important and entertaining as magazines are, they can often represent an ideal (an impossibly beautiful woman with unattainable body measurements); whereas bloggers are the real-deal. Yeah, plenty of big-time bloggers get their hair and make-up done, are photographed by professionals, and then photoshopped to the point that all of their photos could cover the pages of any glossy editorial, but that is not representative of the industry as a whole. Bloggers are everyday girls showcasing everyday style. We come from every corner of the earth and represent every ethnicity and body-type. We style our outfits based on our budgets, schedules and abilities. As followers, women have agency to decide who they want to emulate, as well as what is realistic for them. As much as I love The Blonde Salad, Brooklyn Blonde, Atlantic-Pacific, or any major magazine fashion editorial, 99% of the time I can’t afford what those girls are wearing. With blogging I can receive a daily-dose of outfit inspo from girls in my geographic location, who shop where I like to shop, within my budget. Furthermore, I can comment on and buy these looks with a click of my mouse or iPhone buttons.
This has completely revolutionized the way modern women can consume, curate, and emulate content. If a blogger posts a cute dress, you click the link at the end of her post, are re-directed to the dress’ website where you can buy and have the item delivered within a few days. This creates a whole new market where companies can advertise, as well as receive important feedback about the type of women who buy their products, as well as how they style them. A piece looks great on the runway, but how someone can wear it on the concrete catwalk is a much easier advertisement for women to relate to. Other big-name designers such as Cynthia Rowley, hold shopping parties hosted by bloggers on almost a monthly basis. Here followers can meet bloggers, and even share a drink with them, while designers sell their clothes to girls in a whole new way.
Furthermore, newer brands who may have not had the opportunity to host a runway show can gain exposure through a blogger. For example, the stunning Boho brand Planet Blue partnered with Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What, and all of a sudden their gorgeous printed maxi dresses are all over Instagram. NYC-based boutique Yumi Kim has twelve bloggers model different looks during the holidays and completely sold out their Christmas dresses this way. This type of partnership promotes the entrepreneurial nature of the industry, but also creates an environment of teamwork and empowerment which revolutionizes the way that the general public can view the fashion industry.
For example, bloggers often partner with other bloggers or companies for giveaways, sponsorships, and collaborations. This showcases real women working with major brands, as well as supporting each other. This, in turn, sends a positive message to young consumers who see women forging friendships and representing fashion houses even though they may not be six feet tall and a size zero with a Wilhelmina contract. Furthermore, the industry is based very much on interactivity. If you send a tweet to Tyra Banks, Adrianna Lima, or Cara Delevigne, odds are you won’t get a response. With bloggers, on the other hand, responding to comments is practically written into our job descriptions. The ability to connect with, realistically emulate, and hopefully look up to positive role models in the blogging community creates an entirely new way to participate in fashion; which hopefully inspires youth to see more nontraditional beauty, as well as powerful, smart and creative women making names for themselves.
The impact, importance and inspiration to be drawn from any major mag comingles with the blogging industry as well. Writers and editors (most notably, Instagram Idols Eva Chen and Mira Duma) can interact with and receive content from readers via social media, and have taken the product promotion of brands to new heights with the use of Instagram and Twitter. The value of a hashtag in a blogger’s photo can have the same impact as a prime piece of ad space in a monthly (and with the right blogger, can garner a similar price tag). Eva Chen posts daily photos of her shoes on the way to work, and with thousands of likes per photo, one can only ponder how many girls went on to buy the shoes as well.
When I started blogging, I was also attending graduate school full-time, and the puzzled looks I got from my fellow students when I tried to explain the industry was always amusing. Though scrolling through blogs is as addictive as scrolling through Pinterest and Tumblr, people not “in the know” often equate the act of blogging to a narcissistic activity based on taking glorified selfies. Little thought is given to the time and effort that women put into coding, styling, and designing blogs, logos, photoshoots and outfits. To truly have an impact in this community, websites and social media profiles have to be meticulously managed and maintained. Most bloggers have full-time jobs in addition to the time that they log sustaining a website. Just because the photos are pretty and the website is neat doesn’t mean that there aren’t countless hours (and sometimes money; hello website maintenance fees) put into blogging.
Nothing can replace the insightful editorials, fancy photoshoots, and up-to-date content of magazines, but it is empowering to know that there is a community of women showcasing their independent style without any editorial intervention. Women want to see what real girls in South Korea, Spain and San Diego are wearing. Women want to learn about the small independent shops sprouting up in their own communities. And most importantly, women are eager to see other women come together in a community where we support each other through positive feedback and general appreciation.