Balenciaga Cutout Boots
Before the rise of the cyber-age, the fashion industry was very much an exclusive and creative mystery. Celebrities and tastemakers were the attendees of runway shows, and collections were presented every month in glossy fashion magazines. In order to get into the industry, you had to know somebody who was already in it, or you had to work extremely hard to get your collection known and successful. Although a good eye and hard work are still invaluable skills needed in the fashion industry, the rise of the Internet has allowed many of us to engage in fashion activity that we were prohibited to before. The Internet has allowed everyone to go from fashion consumer to designer, stylist, spectator, and critic.
Fashion magazines were the previous gateway into the fashion industry. We learned about new and upcoming designers through interviews, recognized the hottest new brands from editorial shoots and features, and awed at stunning models that covered the pages of the magazine’s advertisements. Fashion was (and arguably still is) synonymous with the large print fashion magazines Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. The transformation from print to digital however has given opportunities for social media and online magazines to take the lead in fashion influence.
When magazines transitioned to online platforms and Style.com came about, readers no longer had to wait for monthly updates—their fashion news came hourly or updated even quicker. Photos delivered clear shots of the newest ad campaigns and runway shows, with multiple views of the garments and accessories. Fashion never looked better. And if you weren’t lucky enough to score a seat at your favorite designer’s fashion show? Not a problem. The internet also provided a platform for designers to live stream their shows from Milan, London, New York, Paris, and virtually everywhere else in the world. Fashion fans began to see the fashion industry in an entirely different light.
With the rise of social media, viewers soon engaged in sharing and voicing their opinions on the latest looks and campaigns. Fashion became a sport, with fans critiquing different designers’ techniques, sharing the best pieces of collections with friends, and fawning over the latest “it”model. As blogs also became popular, the fashion world became an open entity to everyone, allowing all fashionistas to try their luck in getting into the industry.
Fashion blogs are no longer an unknown enterprise. They have allowed fashion followers to become stylists, documenting their everyday outfits and styles for all to see. The blogs are outlets for sharing their favorite designers and fashion essentials, turning everybody into a fashion fan and critic. Although there are many blogs in the blogosphere, with good content, interesting style, and captivating content, a talented fashion blogger has more power than meets the eye. The fashion industry has discovered just that, now lining bloggers up with jobs with different brand campaigns and with designers even taking notice and seating prominent bloggers front row at their fashion shows at fashion week.
Designers and brands have taken notice of fashion bloggers for many different reasons. Bloggers’ drive and passion are transparent—the content on the blog must be updated regularly and of a particular quality in order to gather a loyal audience and bloggers do their best to upkeep this standard. Not only are most bloggers talented and stylish, but they are also easy targets for large brands who are usually used to working with more famous and more expensive models. When targeting a specific region or age group, fashion bloggers are the perfect choice. They can provide a natural, more relatable canvas for designers and more marketing for their brand as a blogger would probably share these projects with their readers. By seating these bloggers front row at shows, brands and designers are almost guaranteed live coverage on social networks and an article about the show published on the blog.
The concept of fashion blogging has had such an impact in the fashion industry because it has pushed boundaries in the industry, allowing virtually anybody to partake in it. For example, prodigal fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson of the Style Rookie took her claim to fame at the young age of thirteen, and after her blog went viral, she was invited to attend front row at fashion week and even met fashion queen herself, Anna Wintour. With an eclectic and vintage taste in fashion, Gevinson became the unofficial spokesperson for fashion fanatics everywhere and showed the industry that you didn’t have to be or look a certain way to be accepted.
Brands have also scouted fashion bloggers to become advocates and fresh faces of their brand. Bloggers from the U.S. such as Nicole Sereda of Running with Wedges and Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast, and Olivia Lopez of Lust for Life are all independent entrepreneurs who have worked with various brands to help publicize or wear their garments. Bloggers are the new fashion models that are more receptive to consumers because they present themselves in a more genuine and relatable manner.
Not only have people become their own businessperson, critic, and stylist through the Internet, but fashion design has flourished as well. The Internet is such a well-connected environment, designers have a new platform to promote their work. Besides being able to sell on your own online shop, designers can also pitch their works to bloggers and brands through these fashion websites. With some luck, their collections and designs can go viral with the help of fashion bloggers and all of their readers. Local Hong Kong fashion blogger and style icon Hilary Tsui created an extension of herself and her fashion with her own boutique, Liger. Not only are clothes from the store modeled on herself on her blog, but she has also created a more intimate connection with her readers who are also now her consumers at her store.
Blogging and the Internet has brought new life into the fashion industry by providing new ways for audiences to participate in the industry. This spark of creativity has allowed designers, creators, and fashion followers to create a new, dynamic relationship, where everybody gets to be part of the show. People are no longer spectators to fashion—they create, understand, and critique what they see, creating an experience that is completely new and versatile. Brands can now use influential bloggers and fashion personalities as representatives of their new collections, and people no longer have to brainlessly accept what designers feed them. They can voice their opinions and add to the ever-growing fashion industry, and it challenges the fashion world to become more innovative and timeless than ever before.