Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A reflection on the evolution of fashion blogs

Super bloggers at the Fashion blogger Awards (Source)

I remember when I first started scrolling through fashion blogs back in early 2005.  I was a poor university student who was fed up with over-styled  fashion magazine editorials full of clothes worth more than my monthly salary. Fashion blogs were a great alternative forming a heteroclite mix of interesting people from around the globe showcasing their style. Fashion blogging wasn't about what you wore, but how you wore it. I created folders full of different outfits to help me dress up in the morning. Those blogs helped me discover my style and dress differently with what I already had.

The expression "street style" was pronounced from the mouth of every fashion aficionados. It embodied the reappropriation of fashion by those who wore it most: us, common people. It was the symbol of trends created in the streets and staying in them while, sometimes, being adopted by the lords of the runways. It was an empowering expression.

Then came the super blogs....The super blogs were (and still are) attracting thousands of viewers everyday. So much, that their authors gained recognition out of the blogosphere and the Internet with invitation to fashion events,  creative collaborations and modelling contracts. 
We then all wanted to be a super blogger and live up to their fame. However, the super bloggers weren't as diverse as their forefathers. I have noted a few prerequisites needed to propulse your fashion blog to the super blog status:
1. Be young
2. Be skinny 
3. Have an excellent camera and a boyfriend or a girlfriend who constantly wants to take pictures of you in various settings
4. Have a lot of time on your hand to blog
5. And most importantly, have A LOT of designer clothes...regardless of your chosen style. Designer clothes are a must. Period.

If you failed to fulfill one of these prerequisites, it was unlikely that your blog would reach the super ones' status.

Sometimes I would look at these teenagers or very young adults still in college and wonder where they get the money to fill their wardrobe with Rick Owens, Dolce Gabbana or Isabel Marant clothes...Probably not working as a receptionist as I did for sure.  I've soon learned that many of them were actually showcasing FREE items sent to them by designers and brands. My first reaction was jealousy. Then I asked myself: " How can they still express their style with all these unselected freebies? Is this only marketing now?"  It was the epiphany. It is not about style anymore, but marketing.
Modelling designer clothes was increasing traffic to the super bloggers' blogs and brands were getting free advertisement in return. The moment a given blogger put a certain Acne coat or Isabel Marant shoes, these items were sold out in stores in the next few days. Everybody wanted (and still wants) to dress like them. They became the incarnation of style and fashion.

Rapidly blogging became about what you wear and not how you wear it anymore. I am no stranger to that way of thinking. Several things currently on my wishlist were seen on a super blogger first.

Copycat blogs emerged of girls showing their new Balenciaga City bag, but still wearing Target t-shirts with Zara pants. They call it mixing chic and cheap, but I call it " I cannot dress with designer clothes from head to toe, so I invested only in this bag..."I wonder how many of these copycats got into financial trouble because of that. I sure know a few...

Street style lost its first definition. It is not a style created and owned by common people anymore, but  mainly clothes worn by runway people off the runway with runway clothes. No style can be identify from most of these new street style models. They all seem to dress the same way. Their style is rather an assembly of current and past fashion it-items. 

The fashion blog killed the magazine, but it feels to me that in 2015 I am back with the same dilemma I had in 2005. I see a lot of unaffordable beautiful clothes on women that do not look like me and to whom I can't relate.

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