Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of fashion bible Vogue Magazine has changed her mind since she referred to the word ‘blog’ as “garish” in a highly-publicized 2007 interview. Only two years later, the fashion hierarchy changed dramatically, as a new group of non-traditional journalists emerged from the ranks- called fashion bloggers.
Now, only 5 years later, fashion bloggers are ubiquitous, and one sees and reads what they write, and what is written about them, every day. You see them at fashion shows, read them in fashion blogs, and some are actually closely associated with top fashion designers. Additionally, Vogue Italia’s website includes a fashion blog encyclopedia that includes the top nine fashion bloggers from around the world, and Vogue’s power issue of 2010 named BryanBoy (a.k.a. Bryan Grey Yambao), Michelle Phan, Todd Selby of The Selby, Hanneli Mustaparta, Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil, Garance Doré, Catherine Kallon of The Red Carpet, Yvan Rodic of Facehunter and Mary Tomer of Mrs.O. Since then, Filipino BryanBoy has transitioned from sitting behind his computer dressed in designer clothes, to sitting next to Tyra Banks on the 19th season of America’s Next Top Model.
But don’t worry! Anna Wintour will always maintain her position in the front row at fashion shows around the world, or will she?
The 2000’s has been crowded by bloggers who claim to be experts at everything from music, to food, to awkward family pet photos, and since they’re self-proclaimed, who can doubt them? But as far as mainstream success is concerned, fashion bloggers are definitely at the head of the pack. Eric Wilson of the New York Times has said, “fashion bloggers have ascended from the nosebleed seats to the front row.” To be fair, some fashion bloggers actually have backgrounds in journalism, illustration, or photography- while others are simply fashionistas with a camera.
For example,Scott Schuman (of The Satorialist) and his girlfriend Garance Doré are two photographers who each run a top fashion blog, having expanded from the medium of art to journalism. Dish Magazine’s very own editor-in-chief Raeanne Rubenstein is a perfect example of a famed photographer who has captured everyone from John Lennon to Andy Warhol, who decided to do more than just blog, but to create this online magazine about celebrities, fashion, music and more. However, not all fashion bloggers are as seasoned as she. The fashion world buzzed when Tavi Gevinson, a 13-year-old fashion blogger for the appropriately named ‘Style Rookie,’ sat at the front row of Marc Jacobs and Rodarte fashion shows. In addition to sitting alongside fashion royalty, she has been profiled in French Vogue, Teen Vogue, Pop Magazine, and was on the cover of L'Officiel's 90th anniversary issue.
Many ardent followers of fashion would love the opportunity to be on the cover of a magazine, sit in the coveted front row at fashion week, or wear designers duds bearing their own name, but it takes more than just a love affair with fashion and a URL to achieve fame. As always, you still must possess those old bothersome characteristics known as “bold, talented, and smart.” Remember, the fashion world is and it will always be a brutal world that’s hard to enter. All successful fashion bloggers have an undeniable obsession with fashion and often work for years without being acknowledged.
In addition to standing out in a crowd, these players must project a unique sense of style and perspective. For example, Tavi Gevinson described herself as a “tiny 13-year-old dork that sits inside all day wearing awkward jackets and pretty hats.” In an era where nerds and geeks are celebrated for their nerdiness alone, fashion bloggers are simply nerds who know how to dress well.
Even though fashion blogging usually begins as a hobby, the most successful aficionados make blogging their full-time career once they’re recognized. In addition to a new cadre of celebrity friends, these bloggers rake in swag like designer clothes, accessories and shoes, and big bucks by selling advertising on their websites.
Similarly to magazine fashion writers and editors, bloggers are also becoming known for receiving free stuff, sent by companies and designers hoping the blogger will review it positively or use it in a photo spread or a give-away. New guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission, announced in October, now require blogs to disclose in their online product reviews if they receive free merchandise, or even straightforward, old- fashioned, outright cash on the
barrelhead for writing about the items.
For some bloggers, transitioning into other fashion-related careers such as designing, fashion advising, and modelling has been possible. For example, the precocious teenager blogger Tavi Gevinson can also add “fashion designer” to her resume. In 2009, she partnered with Borders&Frontiers in creating her first t-shirt line. Other bloggers who have done the same are BryanBoy, and at the age of seventeen, Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes designed her own Urban Outfitters shoe line that she described as “Victoriana meets gladiator warrior.” Bryan Boy designed a line for Topshop, Susie of StyleBubble designed for H&M, and Fifi Lapin for Le Sportsac.
Of all the aforementioned bloggers, Filipino fashion blogger BryanBoy may be the most respected. Besides his self-titled blog, he is well known in the fashion world for having a Marc Jacobs Ostrich bag named after him called “The BB.” In addition, Fendi has featured models doing the signature BryanBoy pose. His previous accomplishments in fashion give him clout, but being a fashion front row fixture, and his recent America’s Top Model gig, elevate him above the rest. And in 2011 he got an agent at Hollywood’s top agency, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), whose celebrity clientele include Oprah, Justin Beiber, Michael Kors, and Brad Pitt. In addition to BryanBoy, The Man Repeller (a.k.a. Leandra Medine) signed with CAA six months ago.
The best thing about bloggers who become famous is the fact that everything is documented by them. In May, BryanBoy announced on his blog that he took an eighteen-hour flight from the Philippines to L.A. to tape his first episode of America’s Next Top Model. The new panelist admitted he was nervous because he had no experience on television besides interviews. But even though he spent countless hours behind his computer, he always prided himself in his appearance. This is a special feature about fashion bloggers, whose identity and personal style is tied to their blog, which in turn makes his role as a fashion advisor on America’s Next Top Model a wise choice. BryanBoy will probably not leak any details on histrionics backstage, or the contestants kicked off of the show, but his fans will be pleased to read about the wardrobe he wears in Los Angeles and his experiences with his friends and boyfriend.
The world of blogging has certainly changed in the past few years. Once, it was a secret pastime for nerds venting personal quarrels, gushing about celebrities and ranting about world issues. Blogs are still good for that, but now they are also taken seriously by some, as they help build careers that extend beyond the world of journalism. Bloggers are now pundits of culture and offer their expert opinion on subjects they furiously study, and we of course, are eager to listen.
Thanks to fashion blogs we are aware of new trends long before they hit the print magazines, and we can incorporate that into our own personal style. These days, fashion bloggers know where it’s at, who’s wearing it and how to get it for less, and the people are listening! So what do you think about that, Anna Wintour?
Dahling! Check out Part 2: Rise of the Superstar Music Blogger in next month’s Dish