New Order: The Rise of the Fashion Blog16th January 2014 By Alys Key
In 2010, I wrote the first post on my blog. It was read by a very small number of people, mostly close friends and my parents; I didn’t even post a link to it on Facebook, unsure of how people would react. It felt, as I began to discover more about the fashion blogging community, as though I were just shouting into a mass of voices, all of them much louder than mine. Yet, with time, my blog has become my very own carefully constructed niche on the internet. It may not be a runaway success with followers in the millions, but I have a few loyal readers along with the odd compliment from a friend, and that’s all I need. It is this desire to raise one’s own voice, no matter how few people listen to it, that has been the driving force behind a revolution in fashion journalism. People no longer put their faith solely in Vogue or GQ, but seek out individuals who write about and photograph their sartorial lives. Blogging allows for a more personal approach to style, as well as a foot in the door for fashion hopefuls.
Today the web is absolutely saturated with fashion bloggers, a result which is only to be expected in an age of technology and digital media. Armed with just a smartphone, you could maintain a Twitter account or a Tumblr photoblog. Good cameras are getting cheaper too, and digital photography makes it easier to get the perfect shot. However, the sheer number of blogs is not necessarily a bad thing; on the contrary, it shows the fashion industry that there is a shift in the way the public interacts with brands and designers. This is a change which is starting to be universally recognised. Top fashion bloggers like Susie Bubble are given front-row seats during fashion week, while the old guard of magazines are seeking to rejuvenate their image by employing young writers to maintain a blog on their website. You can make money from a blog; advertisers are keen to appear alongside what they perceive as the ‘new wave’ of fashion journalism, and some brands even send free samples to some bloggers in the hope of gaining exposure.
Because of the importance of this new medium, fashion bloggers are now becoming agents of change. Many of the biggest issues which face the industry today – ethical clothing, racism, size zero – have been raised online before they make it into the glossies. As well as this, amateurs who start their own blogs use it as a chance to develop their skills. That’s not just in writing, but also in photography, styling, modelling, and networking, all handy for someone trying to break into the fashion industry. And when this new generation does manage to break into the industry, the result is a new, more conscientious fashion. Tavi Gevinson, who began blogging at the age of eleven, has since used her acquired influence to found Rookie Magazine, which defies the traditional concepts of teenage magazines by dealing with a range of subjects from fashion to feminism. Gevinson said in an interview with Andi Zeisler for Bitch Magazine that the magazine was “mostly about just letting the audience know that they are already smart enough, cool enough, everything that they’re insecure about.” When the fashion industry has such a reputation for making people feel insecure, this is a refreshing way to approach it.
She isn’t the only one. The very ordinariness of most bloggers gives them a greater level of understanding for the average fashion consumer, an understanding which goes beyond glossy and unattainable images and is more about expressing yourself. Here’s hoping that, as the fashion blogosphere increases, the traditional media begins to feel its influence. There are so many new voices out there, and they’re all calling for a revolution.