Detterbeck, Kimberly, et al. “Off the Cuff: How Fashion Bloggers Find and Use Information.” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 33, no. 2, 2014, pp. 345–358. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/678524.
This article provided me a new way of perceiving fashion bloggers as information-seeking researchers. Contrary to popular belief, fashion bloggers actually function as researchers and knowledge curators, which is the authors’ centralized notion. Fashion blogs generally fall into one of the following subcategories: street style, personal style, and industry commentary. In order to evaluate the processes by which fashion bloggers attain their information, authors conducted a two-fold experiment, firstly distributing a public survey via Google form and then including an option about follow-up contact. The public surveys were distributed on a variety of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and fashion blogging discussion boards. Recognizing that the tone of this industry is quite conversational, and informal, surveyors found it difficult to make the surveys “professional yet approachable.” However, when surveyors adjusted their approach to be more informal and casual, they found it easier to convey what they actually wanted to discover. Questions in the survey sought to uncover what information bloggers need to write their posts, where they find that information, and how they would utilize information attained by a niche professional. It’s also interesting to note the demographics of the respondents: 87% were female; 70% of the respondents were 19-29; 32% were based in New York City and an overwhelming third represented ten different countries, speaking to the fact that the “fashion industry is no longer tied exclusively to major cosmopolitan cities.” Researchers found that when bloggers are in the midst of creating their blog posts, they primarily consult the internet, photographed street style, and interviews with industry professionals for content. Although locating the information they need did not seem to be a major obstacle, amongst the popularly discussed challenges of fashion blogging was cultivating unique and original content, narrowing down an overwhelmingly-saturated amount of information, and gaining access to events that would afford them greater exposure into the industry. In addition, when asked about information subscription, 29% of bloggers reported being subscribed to magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Glamour, and Elle. It’s also worthwhile to mention that 32% would choose to not use a professional researcher to assist in their information-searching. Most would prefer a “personal photographer for taking pictures for fashion events and outings. Otherwise, they prefer to do everything by themselves because they’re “not very trustful when it comes to these things.” The responses related to professional research expertise boils down to the idea that fashion bloggers’ informational needs are not “research-heavy but dependent on personal and organizational skills.” Although the sample size was small compared to the growing number of fashion bloggers, researchers summarized their findings into three observations: “the importance of appearing authentic and knowledgeable discourages bloggers from consulting information professionals for research assistance; blogging’s inherently fast-paced nature stymies in-depth research; fashion blogging hinges on information sharing among bloggers and other online sources, but a fair and consistent standard of citation has not been established.” The authors ran with the realized importance of authenticity, crediting a blogger’s singlehanded success to their unique voice and authenticity: “the indication of individual identity through the curation and display of clothing and accessories is in keeping with the ethos of social media, which emphasizes authenticity above all.” Because of the fast-paced nature of the fashion blogging world, trends can fade and new ones arise in days. Fashion bloggers, especially those at the top of their food chain, are expected to be at the forefront of it all.
Findlay, Rosie. “The Short, Passionate, and Close-Knit History of Personal Style Blogs.” Fashion Theory, 21 Apr. 2015, pp. 157–178., doi:10.2752/175174115X14168357992319.
Findlay notes that the prominence of style blogs may appear to have arisen from thin air. There were a mere few of them that were popular in 2006-2008, but it wasn’t until we started seeing them sitting front row at high-end fashion houses’ shows did we understand the dominance of these fashion bloggers. Fashion week, the four weeks where fashion’s elite travel from New York to London to Milan to Paris, marked the “moment when style blogging as a genre first moved from its position on the fringes of fashion media to being invited to sit alongside the industry tastemakers.” It’s quite interesting to think about the true revelation of this industry as a slow transitional period of blood, sweat, and tears. This article provided an incredibly in-depth examination of the development of style blogging; specifically, the “dynamics driving the practice, its origins as a creative means of identity play through fashion and its contemporary iteration as a genre imbricated with the commercial practices and values of the fashion industry.” The earliest fashion blogs came to fruition in 2001: She She Me (resembling Sex and the City), Primp (concise statements of recommendations), and DFR: Daily Fashion Report (a gossipy critique of the fashion industry’s latest.) Although these precursors bear little resemblance to today’s fashion blogs, they are just as “informal and direct” as the ones we are used to seeing. Wanting a first-hand perspective on “fashion blogging into the abyss so to speak,” the author interviewed two of the first fashion bloggers. Both spoke to the fact that fashion blogging afforded them opportunities to “discuss fashion from a perspective not accounted for by other media and the affinity with other like-minded bloggers.” They both discussed that blogging back then was not focused on sharing their daily outfits or monthly must-haves. The dialog was much more invested in wider issues around fashion, which was characterized by long written posts occasionally punctuated by images. Early fashion blogs were essentially much more about writing than images. The rise of style blogs commenced due to the immense number of “forums, social networks, and fashion-based websites frequented by communities interested in fashion and shopping.” The major shift (2004-2006) marked the period where the focus transitioned from the person behind the blog and their take on fashion to documentation of their personal style. Bloggers began posing in their photographed images and writing about the expressive nature of fashion. This initial first wave of blogging focused on the everyday wearability of their outfits, posting photos in their confined environments, which speaks to the sole focus of the blog: the outfits. Because this wave included bloggers taking their own interpretation of the runway, there was a disconnect between bloggers and the industry. Bloggers were very much “amateurs with a keen interest in fashion writing on the sidelines.” 2008-2010 marked the transitional period between first and second wave blogging, where bloggers began finding lucrative opportunities to collaborate with established brands. The distinction between these two waves is not the particular bloggers that became famous but more so, the “ethos underpinning the blog.” These new bloggers were able to “log on to a field whose conventions had been pioneered and make a profit from it.” The aforementioned “ethos” ties to bloggers’ “ongoing identity performance, where style blogs became a “space for the display of the self as a lived look book.” First-wave blogging can be “characterized by independence, while second-wave style blogging is characterized by aspiration.” It is unfortunate however because with this rising fame of bloggers, readers are valued not for their investment in the readership of the blog but as a “means to a monetized end.” Style blogging has “undergone a rapid transition from a cluster of experimental indie blogs celebrating individuality into a blogosphere where a select few bloggers are routinely granted passes for fashion week, collaborations with luxury labels, and funding just to shoot for their blogs.” With this article, I hope to take the information and go into further detail about how the ethos of the fashion blog has transformed from a pure focus on the outfit and fashion of it all to now the persona of the character behind the blog.
Alexandre, Susy. “The New Front Row: How Bloggers Took Over Fashion Week.” Elite Daily, Elite Daily, 17 Dec. 2018, http://www.elitedaily.com/women/new-front-row-bloggers-took-fashion-week/942305.
This article goes into extensive depth about how fashion bloggers are taking over the fashion world by storm, specifically mentioning Fashion Week. A week that was previously only experienced by the upper echelons of celebrity has made room for a “new class of runway fashion spectators: smartphone wielding, Nikon-toting, java-sipping Millennials known as fashion bloggers.” Just as much as Fashion Week is about the fashion, it’s also heavily dependent on the guest list in attendance. This rise of the “new celebrity” has secured them seats at every fashion show. The author further demonstrates just why designers “entrust the social media chatter to self made selfie queens to the standard celebrity.” Calvin Klein, for example, created a campaign and asked 100 trendsetters from 15 countries to take part in it. In less than 24 hours following the first three social media posts, CK experienced a million fan impressions within a 50 million audience base. Though with proven success, many don’t embrace the rise of the fashion blogger with open arms, “attacking this new crowd as posers and unprofessional nuisances who clutter the shows with their cameras and sponsored gear.” However, it is important to note that these supposed posers did not just get here from a walk-in invitation. They worked hard to get where they are. The blogger alone will “bring a tripod and camera to places where most would rather be caught dead with such gear (vloggers), record a YouTube video anywhere at anytime regardless of the judgmental looks, and will squeeze into her seat and give you the best runway play-by-play because she’s one of us, sitting amongst all of them, and she’s letting us share her seat in the front row.” The authenticity and unique perspective bloggers share are just two of many important characteristics successful bloggers exude.
“Branding the Authentic Self: The Commercial Appeal of ‘Being Real.’” (Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work, by BROOKE ERIN DUFFY, Yale University Press, New Haven; London, 2017, pp. 98–135. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1q31skt.7.
In short, this article celebrates the value and currency of realness. Specifically, the author discusses the value of creative individualism on social media. This is a simple yet deceiving challenge, as individual expression gets “refracted through considerations of audiences.” Depending on the audience one is projecting towards, many adjust their content and try to match their “creative voice to their commoditized brand.” It’s also incredibly difficult to “pin down a definition of self expression that does not foreground its communication of a brand niche,” making authenticity a means to an end. This incredible legacy persists through bloggers’ aspirations to share “individualism, self-expression, and creative voice.” It’s valued and even encouraged to be yourself. As said by the author, “the imperatives to express oneself authentically and manage one’s digital image are not inconsistent. They are woven from the same cloth, namely the pervasive cult of personal branding.” Fashion blogging has grown to be so successful because of people’s willingness to be vulnerable. Instead of sharing an outfit for the sake of sharing an outfit, the blogger has become a person that readers turn to beyond reasons of their fashion insight. Bloggers as a whole-encompassing person are sought after because of their unique persona, relatable character, and approachable demeanor.
Laihanen, Alma. “Rise of the Fashion Bloggers: A Trend Fashion Brands Shouldn’t Miss.” BrandBa.se, BrandBa.se, 1 June 2017, www.brandba.se/blog/rise-of-the-fashion-bloggers-a-trend-fashion-brands-shouldnot-miss.
Concentrating on the blogging world of Sweden fashion, this article discussed the major two features of fashion blogs that are universally applicable: bloggers’ role as opinion leaders and the blogs themselves as a source of authentic information. Because of the increasing distrust in brands, the rise of a new opinion leader took prominence. Fashion bloggers are not viewed as true professionals yet still exert a strong amount of influence on their audience, which can be traced to their authenticity and relatability. A popular trend is for bloggers to posts their “outfit of the days,” exemplifying a relatable way to showcase runway fashion. Bloggers take the hard part of fashion out of the equation, leaving their audience with an easy takeaway of how to style a certain designer statement piece in a wearable way. Another notion to emphasize is the value of blogs as sources of authenticity. Because consumers are more likely to trust other consumers, it’s in brand’s best interest to truly invest in those influential opinion leaders of niche communities. Now more than ever, brands are not only controlled by the brand itself. They are largely dependent on the genuine and honest feedback by fashion bloggers who have control over shaping the reputation of the brand in the user world.