From the humble beginnings of a place where individuals could express their unique style and a creative outlet on the side of their day job, blogs starting in the early to mid 2000’s. We could never have predicted the level to which they would rise in popularity and influence. The exclusivity of luxury fashion has been disrupted by fashion bloggers. These outsiders or ordinary consumers have infiltrated the once restricted industry by sharing their own opinions with the online world. With ever increasing followings, these bloggers are gaining celebrity-like status, launching books, and even collaborating and working with luxury fashion brands. However, this rise to fame and influence has not come without dissatisfaction from tradition fashion insiders. Fashion editors of magazines are hitting out about blogger culture.
Blogs, formally known as “web logs”, started modestly as a public, diary-like space where individuals could express their ideas and opinions. On fashion blogs, people would post their outfits and review fashion, with those that were popular quickly gathering a large following. Previously, it had been up to journalists, retailers and brands to deliver this kind of fashion coverage. As blogger’s audiences grew, brands realised their power and took to partnerships for marketing reach, using them as a gateway into the world of the consumer due to their relatability. Fashion bloggers started to be seen in magazines, campaigns, front rows of shows for fashion weeks the world over. Collaborations with major brands including Marc Jacobs, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Mulberry and Louis Vuitton proves blogger influence with fashion designers.
Successful fashion blogs now an incredibly lucrative career option
So how to bridge the gap between writing for passion and making a living? Fashion bloggers have a myriad of ways in which make their blog into a lucrative career. Diversifying with podcasts and videoblogs, the rise of social media with Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat all broadening reach, dabbling into print media and producing ‘best of’ books or original publications have opened the door to more followers and a wider readership. This in turn leads to more advertising opportunity (with higher website clicks), paid reviews of brands, clothing and product and collaborative opportunities with fashion houses. “An influencer with 500,000 followers and good engagement might earn $5,000 to $7,500 per Instagram photo” Says James Ford, co-founder of Fohr Card, a platform that links influencers and brands.
Reward Style has made fashion blogging more lucrative than ever, by way of compensation to bloggers referring consumers to online stores. Amber Venz, Reward style’s co-founder and CEO, was herself a blogger and jewellery designer before launching this business that drove more than $60 million dollars worth of sales in it’s first year in 2011. The affiliate program came out of the realisation she (and other bloggers and style influencers) was inadvertently referring customers to online stores and brands, without getting any credit – or money for the connection. Stores including Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, Neiman Market and Topshop have all signed to Reward Style, dishing out between 13-20% per sale in commission to the blogger that the customer was referred from. Top performing bloggers get paid between $20,000 and $80,000 per month for the sales they are generating. Venz’s latest avenue is a similar model for Instagram, named Like to Know It, allowing consumers to be sent an email of the clothing they have liked on Instagram, and where to buy it.
Conflict in the blogosphere – will the fashion blog prevail?
Public criticisms by fashion media insiders including Vogue editors, makes it evident fashion bloggers are causing ripples in the traditional fashion world and a shift in power within the fashion industry. After Milan fashion week this year, Vogue posted this article about the “blogger paradox” on Vogue.com, where 4 members of their staff publicly voiced opinions about bloggers at Milan fashion week, saying they were “heralding the death of style”, “pathetic” and that it is “distressing, as well, to watch so many brands participate.” Bloggers reciprocated, pointing out that bloggers and magazines are both paid to represent brands but bloggers are simply doing it as a person rather than an entity so therefore “don’t have titles/publications to hide behind”. Model and influencer Caroline Vreeland pointed out that Vogue frequently has bloggers and influencers on the cover and within their magazine, making the comments from Vogue appear quite hypocritical.
These criticisms highlight the changes fashion blogs are having on traditional fashion media, making it clear that blogs are now important medium for fashion news. The increasing popularity and reach of major bloggers has forced the blog space to evolve – making dynamic websites, having multiple social media avenues and work outside of the blog as trusted stylists and consultants.
Fashion blogs a powerful tool to reach consumers within the fashion industry
Influential fashion bloggers are bringing brands to the public by being relatable to their readers. This type of influence feels more natural to the consumer – even if the post is sponsored by a brand, the blogger writes it from their own voice and point of view which feels more authentic and accessible than from a magazine where the brand is also advertising. InStyle Fashion News Director Eric Wilson says in this Youtube interview about fashion blogging influence with Jeniel Terrero “We have to figure out how to not only how to co-exist with other forms of media but also to adapt their practices.” Adapting to the changes in communication and media is essential for the survival of traditional fashion media.
Utilising the popularity, success and influence of fashion bloggers in the fashion industry can be mutually beneficial for all parties involved. Having a new, valuable point of view and good marketing skills is key to becoming a successful blogger and can be a great segue into the fashion industry for writers, models and designers. The instantaneous nature of blogging and social media is what is making these fashion bloggers such an influential voice on what is happening in the fashion industry. With sales referrals, beneficial advertising and collaborative opportunities for both bloggers and brands bringing huge revenue to all involved parties, fashion bloggers will continue to be part of the international fashion scene.
Our top 5 picks for fashion blogs to follow
- Man Repeller – Leanne Medine’s blog/media empire is our number one for good reason – now with a team of content writers, there really is something for everybody on this site. The inspired and outrageous fashion, humorous opinion pieces and quirky observations on pop culture, politics and of course the fashion world.
2. Gary Pepper Girl – Nicole Warne is an Australian fashion blogger who has built her following to global proportion, working for luxury fashion designers and winning awards including Forbes ’30 under 30′ list and the Business of Fashion ‘500 people shaping the global industry’ list this year. Her style and attention to detail makes Gary Pepper Girl a great blog to follow.
3. Style Bubble – Susanna Lau has stayed true to her blog platform, saying of her blog “I don’t think it can be larger than me — it’s as large as I am.” Style Bubble extensively covers all things international fashion, following the world’s fashion weeks, consulting, styling and writing for magazines and major brands.
4. Isaac Likes – Originally from New Zealand, now calling New York City home, fashion blogger Isaac Hindin-Miller has great style, advice and opinion pieces covering a diverse range of subjects including fashion, travel and relationships.
5. Fashion Toast – One of the pioneering fashion bloggers, Rumi Neely has now launched a fashion label Are You Am I off the success of her blog, showing the evolution of bloggers, while still being a valued style source.
Interesting Links and Videos:
As part of Alexa Chung’s ‘Future of Fashion’ webseries for VogueUK, Chung interviews Leandra Medine, talking about the changes in blogging, influence and a run down of how Man Repeller has grown. http://fashionista.com/2016/03/alexa-chung-future-of-fashion-blogging
Style Bubble’s wardrobe and fashion week planning, interviewed by Vogue gives an insight into the life of a fashion blogger, and shows the personality of one of the world’s most well know fashion bloggers, Susanna Lau.
This documentary by Jeniel Terrero who works at InStyle Magazine speaks to menswear blogger Marcel Floruss from NYC One Dapper Street, people on the streets of New York and InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson on the influence fashion bloggers have on the fashion industry.
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