Published on January 16, 2013 | by Jennifer Logan & Stephanie Richardson


Marching through the blogs

Blogging has had a big impact on the fashion industry [Flickr]

The fashion industry is constantly changing with consumers wanting more and more.

In today’s digital-focused society there is a multitude of strong individual fashion voices that share information and influence people on a daily basis.

The traditional way of picking up your favourite glossy each week for the latest and upcoming fashion trends has long gone, when you can access this information online in a second.

This raises many questions… does this mean the fashion blogger is the new ‘trend-watcher’?

Can they be referred to as professional amateurs? How will fashion magazines compete with this alternative market?

Fashion magazines have had no choice but to enter this new world of multimedia and they have undergone an online evolution. They are now investing heavily into their websites rather than using them as subscription forms to compete with today’s strong individual fashion bloggers.

Fashion bloggers give an alternative point of view without worries about publishing costs, newsstand placement, licensing costs, and salaries. As a result, they are now edging out magazines who have larger staffs and larger budgets when it comes to influencing readers online.

In just a few years, fashion blogging has evolved from something of a novelty into a legitimate career. In some cases, blogging is seen as a preferred career choice to writing for a popular glossy magazine. Even successful editors of high-end fashion magazines have chosen this alternative path.

For example, Nick Axelrod, a former news editor at Elle, left to become the editorial director of Into the Gloss, a beauty blog started by Emily Weiss, a friend and former fellow assistant at Fairchild Fashion Group.

“Almost two years ago, when Emily launched the blog, I remember saying, ‘Oh really, another blog?’ and giving her a sceptical eye, But after realising the site’s potential for growth, I was converted,” Axelrod said.

As well as Axelrod, other print editors have jumped to digital, including Lucy Yeomans, who quit last year after 12 years as editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar to edit Net-A-Porter’s online magazine.

Seeing this great shift in fashion journalism, consumers are now viewing blogs as respectable sources and they understand that bloggers are becoming an integral part of the fashion community

Are bloggers the new Anna Wintours?

The number of fashion bloggers acquiring front row seats at the most prestigious fashion shows is ever increasing.

It is more likely nowadays to spot these infamous internet sensations over the likes of the most important ‘fashionistas’. So what is it that makes these bloggers so special?

“…journalists should end up looking at a couture show through a bloggers hat.” Paula Reed

The tension between bloggers and industry specialists was bought to the attention of the media after an outraged Paula Reed – Style Director of Grazia was sat with an obscured view of a Christian Dior couture show in 2010.

Reed had worked her entire life to hold her position in the fashion industry. What did she have to show for it?

Not front row, oh no; she was stuck behind the then 13-year-old internet sensation Tavi Gevinson, owner of the popular fashion blog, Style Rookie.

Tavi, in one of her many over-the-top fashion choices was wearing a two-foot wide paper bow on her head, completely obscuring Paula’s view.  Paula explained that this incident was a “sign of the times; that journalists should end up looking at a couture show through a blogger’s hat.”

Fighting back

Although it took some publications a while, fashion magazines have noticed this alternative and competitive way of fashion writing and have taken great action with their websites.

For example, Glamour magazine built up their online presence by creating their own blogger network with dedicated online content and they are currently the most influential women’s style site in the US.

As well as Glamour, Elle hired former Fashionista editor Brit Aboutaleb to lead editorial online which has become huge success and – which was once the former online home to Vogue and W – was a big part of propelling the reigning influential fashion blog The Sartorialist to where it is now. Vogue, as most predicted, got off to a late start with their website.

But Vogue recently won the People’s Voice Award for best fashion website, and Anna Wintour has also been vocal about making online a priority.

Marie Claire is not far behind Vogue online, but both InStyle and Allure magazine are only just ahead of the hugely successful blog, Refinery29, who are blogging their way towards a $20 million valuation.

“Everyone out there has some kind of expiration date. What happens when a personal-style blogger wakes up and she is 35 and not the cute 20-year-old girl in Brooklyn anymore?” John Jannuzzi

However, print is not dead. Advertisers will keep it alive and we do have to remember there are still fashion consumers out there today who prefer to get their monthly issue of Vogue delivered for their fashion needs and inspiration.

Digital is the future though, and fashion magazines have realized there is a new kind of fashion consumer today; one that is looking for sceptical analysis, critical commentary, and alternative perspectives rarely seen in mainstream media.

Fashion magazines are working hard though, and influencing people just as much on a daily basis. It is only blogs with multiple editors, writers, and support staff competing with and overpowering them.

This raises questions; could this actually be a lasting career? Will blogging become too competitive with the amount of individual voices out there?

John Jannuzzi, Contributing Digital Editor at Lucky, said: “Everyone out there has some kind of expiration date. What happens when a personal-style blogger wakes up and she is 35 and not the cute 20-year-old girl in Brooklyn anymore?”

A passing fad?

So is blogging a passing fad? It is definitely highly beneficial to many people in the creative industries that they have the chance to show their work and passion to their peers.

Also. as blogs are incredibly simple to create, any student or aspiring writer can easily start presenting their work straight away and could receive fantastic opportunities from it.

Of course, attracting followers as well as fashion brands is necessary and not everyone will achieve this.

But we have seen successful people who did not give up and have made a legitimate career out of blogging and we will no doubt see more in the future.

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