This post was originally published here at PackFashion.
These days Fashion bloggers are recognized as household names amongst those who consider themselves a part of the fashion industry. To them, they are just as well-known as musicians like Beyonce and athletes like Michael Phelps. Fashion blogging has also started becoming more recognized by the general public as well, especially with the accessibility of Instagram. Because of this widespread recognition fashion bloggers have seen tremendous success. For example, blogger Chiara Ferragni has a net worth of 12 million and has over 8 million Instagram followers. She began her blog (now both a lifestyle magazine and an e-shop), theBlondeSalad in 2009 and has since used it as a launching pad to her successful shoe-designing career, 2014 Project Runway judge stint, and being a Pantene ambassador. Bloggers like Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere wrote a book and Tavi Gevinson of The Style Rookie started a magazine of the same name. What has led to an age where anyone can become famous and successful online just by snapping photos of his or her outfits? Welcome, the beginning of a new digital era.
The Rise of Blogging
In this age, having a blog is a necessary form of identity. It’s a creative outlet to share everything you’re passionate about with the world. The art of blogging begins in the nineties with Blogger launching in 1999. Blogs, especially blogs about fashion, really started becoming popular around 2005 with 32 million American reading them. Popular blogging platforms were Blogger and WordPress, and even Myspace, throwback anyone? On these and other platforms, ordinary people were able to connect globally with other people all around the world.
Fashion blogging gained momentum because photos of ordinary people showcasing their personal style was a refreshing new way to be inspired by fashion. Suddenly, you didn’t need to open up a glossy magazine to become inspired and fashionistas everywhere now had an outlet to express their sense of style.
At first, Fashion bloggers were looked down upon by the fashion elite because of a lack of credibility but were later looked up upon as authorities in the industry. They were mini-moguls, influencers. Many top bloggers earned six-figure incomes and were flown around the world to places like Rio de Janiero, Brazil and gifted with luxury items like Dolce & Gabbana to post on their blogs like Kristina Bazan’s Kayture. Pretty quickly, personal fashion blogging stopped feeling so personal and more aspirational. Thousands of fashion blogs began popping up hoping to be the next Aimee Song or Chiara Ferragni. The blogging industry eventually transitioned off of blogs altogether and mostly onto Instagram, where top Instagrammers were earning top billing on single posts.
Fashion Blogging; gone mainstream
However, like any industry that gains popularity, it becomes overly saturated and highly competitive. Many people wanted to live the glamorous life of fashion bloggers, jetting off to Paris for Fashion Week and receiving free clothes from brands. The thousands of fashion bloggers a part of this online community were not just forming friendships with each other but were trying to make followers out of each other so they too could gain a piece of online fame. More often than not, in the comments section on fashion blogs, you will see comments like “Cool post, check out my blog” or “Follow for follow?” The very industry that was the anti-establishment of fashion had become what it was against; shallow and mainstream. Bloggers began dressing like each other and imitating the top bloggers, style wasn’t as individualized anymore. Scroll through any blog and you’d see the same outfit. In addition to the monotony of “personal style”, blogging was no longer personal but aspirational. The new blogs are full-fledged, self-hosted websites with editorial style photography and texts exclaiming why they love their new gifted merchandise. It wasn’t about personal style but about product placement. With brands getting in on the profit, fashion blogging just became another commercial industry to sell products to the masses.
Where is Blogging heading
Fashion is an industry that is constantly moving onto the next, leaving the old for the new. The new digital platform? Instagram. Bloggers already had been diversifying their personal brands by having a social media presence on multiple platforms, Instagram included, but pretty soon bloggers started posting on Instagram exclusively. It was much faster and more convenient than posting a series of photos and writing long posts on their blogs. It certainly was easier for followers to just scroll through updates from all their favorite bloggers in one place rather than visiting each individual blog. Big and small bloggers alike abandoned their domains for a simpler platform. For every blog that still existed, there were a thousand ghost fashion blogs out there that have been abandoned. Some bloggers have even become Instagramers full time. These days, careers are made on Instagram. A few years back, bloggers were the people to watch; now it’s “Instagramers’ or ‘social media influencers’ which can be anyone from models to vloggers.
Many bloggers have moved on to a new platform or a new career entirely. Tavi Gevinson, who became famous sitting front row at fashion week as a blogger at 12, sporadically posted on her blog December 2016, “Yikes, what is the function of this blog anymore? Everything is basically on my Instagram…” She has moved on to her magazine, Broadway, and feminist discussion. Many bloggers, like Lily Melrose, who was a popular blogger on Lookbook, have moved on to YouTube. She posted on her blog, “I feel weird about blogging, for some reason it doesn’t feel like my place anymore since getting all cosy over on my Youtube Channel.” Bloggers have fallen out of love with blogging and it’s just not how it used to be anymore. However, there are some bloggers still posting regularly like Aimee Song and Jane Aldridge. Fashion blogging is far from over; it’s just evolving. The spirit of blogging is certainly not dead. The same fire people had for it in its infancy that sparked the digital fashion age we have now is still there. Not as many people have a physical blog anymore but there may always be a place for it, in its own little corner of the internet.