It’s not that I don’t enjoy personal and street style blogs. I do.
Some of my favorite bloggers are personal and street style bloggers and I adore their content—but this post isn’t about them. They don’t need me to laud their virtues when hundreds upon hundreds of other have already done so. They don’t need me to defend them from potentially scathing articles when they watch each other’s backs and respond with intelligent commentary. They already have a voice in the fashion blogging community. Hell, they are the voice (and face) of the fashion blogging community.
This post is about
something someone else entirely.
This post is about the invisible fashion bloggers.
Unsure who I mean?
They aren’t street style bloggers. They aren’t personal style bloggers. They don’t fit into any budget, luxury, DIY, plus-size or accessory niche. And they aren’t lifestyle bloggers.
They are fashion bloggers. Plain and simple.
The Definition of a Fashion Blogger
In recent years, the popularity of fashion bloggers of the personal and street style ilk has reached record heights. The success of the “super bloggers”—The Man Repeller’s, Garance Dore’s and Glamourai’s of the fashion world—has changed the very essence of fashion PR and media and it seems like someone, somewhere, is always talking about one of them. But all too often we forget that these “super bloggers” weren’t overnight successes. They are intelligent, hard-working, business savvy individuals who made a name for themselves in a time when the fashion blogosphere was searching for its stars.
Not only have they become the benchmarks by which we measure our own success…
They have also become what defines us.
How many times have you seen/heard/read something related to fashion blogging in the media? How many times was the focus something other than commentary on the “look at me! lookatmyawesomeclothes!” or “this shirt is c/o brand A, this purse is c/o brand B” or “f#@! did you see what she was wearing?? WHO is the designer?!” type blog? I honestly can’t remember.
If the focus wasn’t on street style and/or personal style blogs I can almost guarantee you it was one of the niche blogs—like DIY—I mentioned above.
Clearly, these are the only types of fashion blogs in existence (insert sarcasm here):
- Street style
- Personal style
It’s a shame the biggest names in media perpetuate that stereotype. Because let’s face it. It IS a stereotype.
Earlier this week CNN jumped on the fashion-blog bandwagon and published an article featuring “Style bloggers to follow in any season.” Did they feature some great bloggers? Definitely. Check it out and follow them if you don’t already. But what struck me most about the article was the disconnect between what they—along with IFB and StyleCaster—were saying and what they were presenting to their readers.
According to CNN reporter Emanuella Grinberg (bold emphasis mine):
“It’s no secret nowadays that some fashion bloggers wield just as much influence as magazine editors in shaping trends and sharing the latest news and images from the runways… Still, it takes more than a pretty face and fancy photography to make a blogger rise above the rest.”
Jennine Jacob of IFB and The Coveted was quoted saying (bold emphasis mine):
“Bloggers that have a particular angle with their content have a definite advantage over others… with the ones that stand out, when you read their blog you don’t just see pretty pictures. You walk away with something.”
The article then goes on to present some of IFB and Stylecaster’s “favorite fashion bloggers from a variety of categories.”
Not only do all of the blogs mentioned in the article fit into the categories I mentioned earlier… they all have pretty pictures. Very pretty pictures.
I’m not saying that the content on those blogs isn’t excellent—it is. What I am saying is that there are other types of fashion blogs out there—blogs that may forego the “pretty pictures” to focus on commentary and encourage discussion of the industry and trends—and I don’t understand why they are never represented in articles like this.
Jennine’s comment that “bloggers that have a particular angle with their content have a definite advantage” is something that I often see repeated on IFB. While I don’t disagree with this idea, I do take issue with the fact that IFB seems to only encourage niche blogging instead of doing more to help promote that other type of blogger. One that doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into a “niche.” One that is equally talented in terms of high quality content but perhaps with more verbiage than imagery in a given post. There is no denying that IFB is a great resource for fashion bloggers and they do promote bloggers of all types via the Links a la Mode series. But I also believe they have the power to help fight the stereotypes that exist and instead they often (perhaps unknowingly) perpetuate them.
What is the saying? “With great power comes great responsibility.”
When will the IFB’s and StyleCaster’s of the world move beyond such a narrow focus and embrace—and encourage—the invisible fashion blogger?
The Invisible Fashion Blogger
Now we can talk about what the heck I mean when I say “invisible fashion blogger”
If you are still reading at this point—and you blog about fashion in some way, shape, or form—ask yourself if you have ever felt like you weren’t sure if you belonged.
- Have you ever felt like you weren’t sure if you were a real fashion blogger?
- Have you ever felt the need to change the focus of your blog because it wasn’t following preconceived “fashion blog criteria” notions?
- Have you ever felt like you weren’t being represented as a fashion blogger?
- Have you ever felt overlooked because your fashion-focus was too broad?
- Have you ever felt your writing was too cerebral to be a fashion blogger?
- Have you ever thought about throwing in the proverbial fashion-blogger towel because you don’t want to take photos of yourself?
- Have you ever felt like the written word is becoming a lost art in the fashion blog community?
- Have you ever felt like there is no room for substance in the world of fashion blogging? That discussion and conversation have been replaced by consumption and more consumption?
If you have ever felt even one of those things you are the invisible fashion blogger.
And guess what?
There is more than just a place for you in the fashion blogosphere—there is a need.
We show our individuality through fashion. So why should we conform our fashion blogs to fit a mold dictated by stereotypes? Let’s work together to change the face of the fashion blogosphere.
No matter what our individual differences may be, there is one unifying thread that connects us all—a passion for fashion.
How about we focus on that for a change?
I want to hear from you—am I completely off base here, or do you know exactly what I am talking about?
Do you agree?
Think I need my head examined?
Sound off in the comments!