Fashion Blogging: It’s Not Just About Pretty Pictures

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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.

And now…

Not only have they become the benchmarks by which we measure our own success…

They have also become what defines us.

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The Dark Side of Blogging: It Isn’t All Glitter & Gold

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Are you a blogger?

If so, what made you start your blog?

  • Was it a passion for your specific niche (fashion/ books/ food/beauty/celebrities/music/etc)?
  • Was it a passion for writing?
  • Was it the need for a distraction?
  • Was it because blogging sounded fun?
  • Was it because you needed an outlet for your thoughts?
  • Was it something else altogether?

Whatever the reason you began blogging… what is the reason you stuck with it?

  • Is it your passion for your niche?
  • Is it your passion for writing?
  • Is it the continued need for a distraction?
  • Is it the fact that blogging is fun?
  • Is it because you love having an outlet for your thoughts?

Do those reasons still apply? Have they changed as your blog has grown?

Maybe there are additional reasons you blog today, like the relationships you have built with other bloggers & readers or the fact you now have a voice in the blogging community.

But what about those other reasons? You know… the ones that have to do with aspirations.

  • Success
  • Status
  • Celebrity
  • Freebies

Have any of those impacted your blogging?

They did WHAT?!

Last month, the popular blog Fashionista posted a story discussing bloggers who fake VIP status by purchasing items and then claiming they were gifted by brands.

 fashionista story

When it comes to blogging, few things surprise me nowadays but this actually did.

I won’t go into the details—you can read the article by clicking on the image above—but suffice to say that the idea of bloggers faking relationships with brands was a new one to me.  Maybe I am naïve, but I think that a blogger spending their own hard earned cash on a brand they like is a positive.  It shows that you are willing to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, so why hide it?

Why lie about it?

And the idea that some brands are/were OK with it? I am still trying to get my head wrapped around that.

This became a hot topic of conversation on twitter yesterday afternoon between some blogging buddies and myself, but as the conversation continued our focus changed to what drives people to make these types of decisions and whether bloggers feel any accountability for their actions.

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Let’s Talk Drive

So… motivation.

What would motivate a blogger to lie about their relationship with a brand?

Probably the same things that would drive them to infringe on someone’s copyright or plagiarize content.

  • A desire for status
  • A desire for instant success
  • Unrealistic expectations/pressures
  • Outward appearances that don’t match the reality
  • A desire for freebies (ie: if you fake it, they will come)

But does that make it OK?

Just because you want to be perceived as successful, does that mean it’s OK to fake it?

My answer is yes and no.

We’ve all heard the phrase “fake it ’til you make it” and I think there is definitely some truth to that advice. If you want to be a success you have to believe in yourself and you have to act the part.

As a blogger, that means you should blog like you mean it.

Write with passion.

Write with authority.

Write like you are the #1 resource on said topic, even if you aren’t.

But don’t lie.

Don’t misrepresent yourself.

Don’t fabricate relationships.

Don’t steal other’s hard work and pass it off as your own.

Don’t be a bad example to others.

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Let’s Talk Accountability

Everyone defines success differently.

For some bloggers, success is measured by the amount of followers they have.

For others, it is the number of active commentors.

For others, it may be the number of brands they work with.

For others, it is simply may be a personal sense of accomplishment.

No matter how you measure your success on a personal level, if you have reach as a blogger you should also be held accountable for your actions.

That means…

You shouldn’t be rewarded for lying

You shouldn’t ignore the consequences of your actions.

You shouldn’t make excuses when you f&ck up – own it. Accept it. Learn from it.

You shouldn’t forget that you are a role model to someone, somewhere.

What Do You Think?

I think my feelings on this topic are pretty clear.

I think bloggers need to stop acting like we write in a vacuum and accept that if we put them out there, our words/actions are influencing someone. Somewhere.

I have no problems with bloggers who have lofty aspirations. Great! I have some of my own.  But unless I earn that success fair and square, I don’t want it.

Again, maybe I am naïve, but I think we need to be held accountable for our actions.

What about you?

Have you experienced the dark side of blogging?

Or maybe you don’t think this is an issue?

What changes need to happen in the blogosphere to help us become more accountable and less focused on instant success?

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