Fifteen years ago, Kathryn Finney launched the very first fashion blog: “The Budget Fashionista” has a hobby. Later on that year, she was invited to attend New York Fashion Week, and a few months after, blogging became her full-time job. What made her special? Her bargaining skills and the ability to translate it to her audience. Her talent allowed her, not only to land appearances in several TV shows but she’s also been mentioned in more than a thousand articles including Essence, Elle Canada, The New York Times and many more. The secret to her success? Personal style and her writing competence.In less than three years, the amount of fashion and lifestyle blogs went from one to over a hundred!
Let us reassure you that we’re not going back in time for no reason. The Khaleeji Times have called bloggers/influencers “the power players of the Middle East” and now would be a good time to understand if they’re either hurting or not the fashion industry.
Less than a decade ago, ordinary girls such as Chiara Ferragni and Aimee Song each founded blogs around the same year, based on what they were wearing on a daily basis, presently known as #ootd. Both reached thousands of views quickly built on their personal and individual style. With a couple of years under their belt, invitations to fashion shows and collaborations with brands, they fastly became girls to turn to when it comes to “how to wear what”. People liked the way they were putting their outfits together and bloggers ultimately became reliable sources in terms of trends and new ways to get dressed. This came at a time when fashion enthusiasts no longer felt that they could trust traditional publishers such as fashion magazines as they were full of ads, and editorials instead of “style tips” and “most popular trends on the runway”. This meant that people had the choice to go the traditional route or go with what they felt were honest recommendations. After all these girls weren’t being paid per post!
Then came Instagram…product placements became a lot cheaper than magazine ads and the amount of visibility was guaranteed by the number of followers. There was a time when brands had doubts if to engage in such activities (some still find it unnecessary), but in a recent BOF article, they’re letting brands know that “it’s no longer a matter of IF but HOW”.
Nowadays people look into bloggers and influencers to find new places to travel, which beauty products are worth trying, and as of a couple of years ago, how to mix and match fast fashion with luxury brands. Fashion is one of the oldest industries, one that has not endured major changes since its inception. The idea of having fashion shows to showcase a collection came to life two centuries ago! So it’s not surprising that back in 2013, an OG like Suzy Menkes would have a problem with the whole blogger phenomenon. Of course, she has an issue with them, bloggers are now called influencers simply because, they no longer take the time to write. And some of them don’t have enough fashion knowledge to point out past references and give honest reviews. Besides, that’s what the entire “blogger sensation” was about: honesty. Lack of trust-worthy contents and readers wanting to know the real deals about products vs paid endorsements was what drawn people to them. But who are we kidding, apparently no one reads anymore! Everything has a become a quick IG story or Snap… quick and easy the millennial way! As Suzy mentioned: “Who needs to graduate from Central Saint Martins in London or New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology when a homemade outfit can go viral on YouTube with millions of hits?” Now we’re not reprehending paid ads as long as we’re able to distinguish which is what.
Trendsetters such as Eva Chen, Leandra Medine, and Susanna Lau are still successful and reliable today because they understood how to translate everything digitally but most importantly they remained engaged to their audience. Not to mention that every single one of them as a unique and specific fashion style that’s undeniable. That’s what we need more of, influencers that have an eye for fashion and that truly understand what will be trendy next season or not. That’s what the public wants to know, not what Chloe or Valentino asked you to wear at the show after a fitting.
By Anne-Isabelle Saint-Pierre
@BryanBoyCom / Instagram
@ChiaraFerragni / Instagram
@SongofStyle / Instagram
@EzraJWilliam / Instagram