Saturday, July 3, 2010

bloggers & how seriously they take their blogs

It's pretty late, and I'm exhausted with a million things that I should be doing other than this - isn't this the case for anyone who decides to write anything and publish it on the internet? - but I've wanted to write about this for a very long time. There are going to be two rules for the post: 1) I'll keep writing until I feel like I'm done. 2) no going back & deeply analyzing what I've written. If this ends up sounding like Proust, I apologize in advance.

Why do some bloggers take their blogs so seriously?

I thought the whole concept began when a silly teenager with a lot of time on her hands and a knowledge of some HTML decided that it would be fun to talk about fashion. At this point, I would like to credit Gemma who originally began Catwalk Queen back in the early 2000s as the first fashion blogger. She inspired us in so many ways (even as so far as to make me submit my application to the London College of Fashion for their fashion journalism program), and I'm pretty sure veteran Susie Bubble isn't ignorant of Gemma's groundbreaking path. But essentially, when Gemma started Catwalk Queen, it seemed like she was doing it for all the Amazon swag you could get from anonymous admirers (pervy old men, maybe, but those were the early days of the internet so you don't really know if they were just normal people who were trying to be nice) but later on, you could tell that she had a passion towards designers back in an era where Gucci and Prada rounded up the average girl's fashion vocabulary. (I quoted Tom Ford in my senior quote and nobody knew who he was.)

So why has it, all of the sudden, evolved into something that's like a life or death sentence? Why is it that we (as both readers and bloggers) feel this need to compete with each other? Let's see who can make up the cheapest outfit. Let's see who can wear the most expensive shoes. Let's see who can post the new editorial from Vogue the fastest. A blog is no longer a way to showcase personal tastes but a venue to cater to the most people so your followers on Bloglovin' can break 1000. It's now about networking with BUSINESS CARDS, so you can get free swag from American Apparel/write for "real" magazines/get invited to fashion shows because you know, next to the buyers, bloggers are really important. Yes.

Don't get me wrong. I love fast information just as much as the next person. I love seeing photos of shows hours (and sometimes minutes) after it's happened. And I really loved how Rodarte and Alexander Wang streamed their shows for Fall 2010. It was amazing, and I'm not completely disregarding the role fashion bloggers had in expediting designers to use the internet as a forum for their work. But, there's got to be a line drawn for this type of mess. I forgot who made the statement about how bloggers have no right to be at shows because essentially, they were made for BUYERS, with magazines having sideline seats. Of course, in today's world, editors receive preferential treatment as women depend upon magazines to dictate their wardrobe (thank you, Diana Vreeland). "The September Issue" was more than enough proof that Anna Wintour has too much influence in the design world and maybe that's why American fashion is boring and Stefano Pilati is essentially making a mess at Yves Saint Laurent. And a million people will make the argument that blogs are the new wave for information, but the point is that why do these people who are not the ones designing clothes, most of whom can't even sew, are the ones who get to make decisions over whether or not yellow daisies are the hottest prints for spring?

I suppose what I'm trying to say - rather inarticulately, I know - is that if you're using your blog to go somewhere else: launch a modeling career, store, free swag party fest, you're in the wrong medium. Someone will inevitably hate what you're doing/wearing/writing and say horribly mean things to you, and they will use the anonymity of the internet to demean you. It's too easy. Then there are others who will question every single thing you say or do in a manner that will make you in turn ponder the purpose of your blog's existence. (Maybe you will be your worst critic and drive you to question this.) And if you can't take criticism, constructive or otherwise, and are not open to genuine dialogue that goes beyond, "OMG, I love your shoes! Where did you get them?" then you should stop, go on an internet hiatus, and really ponder what you're trying to achieve by exposing yourself on the www.


  1. How can you say inarticulate? Very, very well said!

    Only one thing: I don't think that trying to launch something else via a blog is a bad idea at all, tho. I've seen plenty of creative ppl publishing their work on a blog, and I know they've received plenty of good feedback for that. Some got published in other media, yes, but it's that thanks to the freedom web 2.0 it's gotten around that interesting ppl now gather online. Am Lul is prolly a good example. Other ppl I think of is zanita or Sartorialist or Facehunter who now do street style photography for a living. I guess, what I'm trying to say is that there are enough who know what they're doing, even when it's thru a medium as simple as a blog. Sometimes big things come from it.

    Then again, brands and companies seem to be very generous to bloggers as they're acknowledging their potential. However, let's make sure it definitely isn't generosity speaking, but mere calculation, SEO, and a way of word of mouth.

    Uhm, not that I am innocent, as I have been seen receiving freebies now and then myself.

  2. Hello, I agree with your post. Blogging used to be a personal thing, and fun, and now it feels like unless you have about 500 followers and get unnoticed by the press then you're weirdly irrelevant.

    It's for that exact reason that I made my blog private so effectively its my own online diary, with no pressure to please anyone else or be associated with that whole followers/bloglovin thing. It's negative because being popular is not what blogging's about; it should be somewhere that you can be creative and natter abut whatever you want.

  3. I love this and I think it's about time someone called it for what it is. I believe as long as your honest about what your blog is for and not posing as some totally subjective consumer who just happens to be pushing certain brands/designers, I'm cool with it. I prefer to follow blogs with something to say more than a brand/agenda to push. I like the relatibility of blogs which is has been completely jeopardized. This has inspired me to put my blog to private. Keep blogging x

  4. I'm still waiting for your biting sarcasm and crit of my blog, lady. But I'm still writing and posting for a few different reasons:

    I love the community--hello isn't this how we met?
    Sometimes I need some more inspiration than glossies have to offer to get dressed in the morning (by default my favorite blogs are by girls who wear things I have or have similar body shapes or coloring).

    And it exists as a calling card for me. I plan to leverage my experience and education into a buying, social media/marketing, or retail planning position.

    Plus for anyone that wanted to write for a magazine when they were little (this is also me), this is a creative outlet where you make your own dreams come true.

  5. Finally, got what I was looking for!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. Glad I stumbled into this article! smile I have you saved to check out new stuff you post.

    Hehehe sorry about that (and comment spammage on a Friday) but I have to say bravo for such a critical post on fashion bloggers.

    I understand where you are coming from particularly the part about networking, business cards and comment spammage that just say empty promotional messages than actual feedback or conversation. I've been going to quite a few blog events lately and I don't have a business card or bloglovin or Twitter and I feel like the most socially inept blogger. The only reason why I want to make a business card is to EMBOSS something. I know it sounds lame but if I have to toot some horn I'd rather toot my own than promote brand loyalty to a huge fashion company.

    I guess I started my blog because I wanted to push myself to do stuff- design, draw, photograph and write. And the only way I could do that was to show it to someone to give me an incentive to hopefully propel myself and my skills further. I believe that every entry is a small step to something bigger. Even if we don't become the next Fashion Toast- it's worth it for me because I've just created something- perhaps not original but something I am quite proud of.