Fashion Bloggers take over control!

Fashion Blogging, so normal and popular now, is actually a new phenomenon. In the year 2000 most people would have looked completely clueless if you asked them, what fashion blogs they read. What happened then, was that quite rapidly the blogs and bloggers started multiplying and became an important part of the fashion media landscape.

The blog history has started in 2004 with the appearance of personal style blogging. Very popular until 2006 , it can be considered as a subgenre of blogging. In 2008 an important turn took place, when the fashion industry and media started paying attention to those blogs, and lend substance to them. The beginning of fashion blogging was highly influenced by the digital culture that was beginning to spread. Platforms like fashion forums, myspace, flickr represent the first opportunities for the fashion blogs to derive from. Rosie Findlay in her work “The Short, Passionate, and Close-Knit History of Personal Blogs” argues that “an aesthetic of bricolage informed early personal style blogs”, thus giving them “an alternate feel”, (Rocamora, 2015:151). In 2008, when the traditional fashion press started referring to fashion blogs and their tendencies more and more, professional collaborations between the bloggers and the industry individuals started to appear.  Dazed & Confused started working with Susie Lau of Style Bubble, and the American Vogue had a collaboration with the Sea of Shoes creator. Now, bit by bit blogging was becoming financially worthwhile for their creators, as fashion brands realised the importance of the bloggers and their influence. “Thus Findlay characterized the first wave of style blogging by ‘independence’ and the second wave by ‘aspiration’ to argue that the key distinction between the two resides in the ethos fueling the blogs”, (Rocamora, 2015: 151).

The information fashion blogs include, are more revealing than you would think at first sight. They show tons of data on practices of production, consumption and representation of fashion on the whole globe. “Words, sounds, still and moving images, their creation as well as their reception, can be analysed to shed light on various dimensions of fashion, digital culture, and contemporary society”, (Rocamora, 2015:150). The phenomenon of fashion blogging has grown so big now, that not only its influence on consuming and branding is worthy of scrutinising. But also it offers a huge insight into digital media culture, and its influence on cultural and social reality.

The value behind the blogs is that even if to a certain extent the blog might be influenced by a ‘sponsor’, it is a “realm whereby voices that have been “othered” by the fashion industry and its Western-centric values can be expressed and heard. Bodies excluded from a fashion visual landscape dominated by white, Western, young, thin bodies are rendered visible, their practices of fashionable and stylish adornment encouraged and supported, hopefully supporting them in carving out for themselves positive spaces of expression offline too”, (Rocamora, 2015: 153). Even though, it seems that blogging only possesses a virtual reality, it is also a social reality. In the end they have influence on the everyday experience of consumers and producers across the world. What a blogger can do, is to make the complex fashion industry more transparent, relatable and more available to the masses in a unique, interactive manner. New and fresh designers get an inexpensive chance to be exposed, and valued mostly on their creativity, in contrast to the branding and financial power the big designers already have. The bloggers might be criticised for overtly branding of their selfhood, overexposure of themselves in their “flamboyant outfits and the ways they ‘gag’ for the attention of steet-style photographers, all in the name of fame”, (Findlay, 2013). That their appearance at a fashion show makes it all about themselves and not the newly presented designs. Maybe bloggers and their taste is not everybody’s cup of tea. But their biggest credit, is that they found a way into a closed industry, which they try to open for all of us, to enjoy in a different matter.