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FASHION BLOGGER AWARENESS AND IMPORTANCE JADE STOREY


Fashion Blogger Awareness and Importance BA (Hons) Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design DD3000 Contextual Studies – Design Futures 9,676 words Jade Storey


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would sincerely like to thank my wonderful friends and family who have supported me throughout my writing of this dissertation. It would not have been possible without your guidance and patience. I would also like to thank my tutors; Colette Mawdsley, Angela O’Brien and Peter Clayton, who have boosted me morally and provided me with great information resources. Lastly, I would like to thank my intriguing interviewee’s;Chiara Ferragni and Amy Faith for being so inspirational and persevering with my copious amount of questions.


CONTENTS

Introduction 6 History of Blogging 8 Blogging Timeline 10 Types Of Blogs 14 Blogging Platforms 16

What is a Fashion Blog(er)? 20 The Blogger Style Movement 22 Case Study Interviews: 24 Interview with Chiara Ferragni of www.TheBlondeSalad.com

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Interview with Amy Faith of www.AmyFaithPhotography.wordpress.com

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The Future of Fashion Blogging 44 Conclusion 48 Design Recommendations 50 My Blog - Soul Cakes 54 Bibliography 56 Images 58


INTRODUCTION

“There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there.” (Rowse) These are words to live by for aspiring, successful fashion bloggers and this is what I intend to research - blogger awareness and their importance in the fashion industry. Since 2002 designers, such as Burberry, have used fashion bloggers as a personable form of promoting their products. Their reasons behind using this advertising tactic is simple, using “real” people rather than models allows the consumer to relate and feel confident that they too, can wear those clothes. This is an innovative and productive way of advertising that many high street shoppers and people in general, are unaware of. I will go about this research by looking into when blogging, fashion blogging in particular came about, the different blogging platforms available and how blogging has developed through the years. Case studies and interviews will assist me in getting into the mind of a fashion blogger and will give me insight to their lifestyle.

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With this research I aim to gain a greater understanding into why and how fashion bloggers have become treasured in the fashion industry and their influence on it. I then intend to come up with a design solution that takes the concept of fashion blogging into a more commonly known area of the retail industry. My interest in this area came from my own passion for fashion blogs. I have been following many blogs on various platforms as well as running my own for the past five years. I used the lookbook style of fashion blogs as inspiration for my final major project in my Foundation Degree course and now I am focusing on how companies are using fashion bloggers to represent their brand and boost product sales. It relates to my design practice as it is a way of advertising that is yet to be discovered by the majority of the public. I will present this report in the form of a written book, weekly updates on the blog I have set up to coincide with this project as well as a downloadable digital presentation.

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HISTORY OF BLOGGING

Fashion blogs are a relatively new phenomenon, so there are no detailed published accounts of their history yet. (Fashion blog, 2006) As long as clothing has been made and worn, there has been some form of advertising. Centuries before fashion blogging arrived, people would only know where to go for clothes by word of mouth. Wikipedia’s page on advertising suggests that the earliest recorded piece of advertising dates back to 4000BC - Egyptians used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters. (internetworldstats.com) Following that, markets and fairs would be the go-to places to buy essentials along with items of clothing that were essential or considered fashionable at the time. (Wikipedia) Then came posters, local newspapers and town speakers. Television became more accessible to the public in 1926, (Wiki) this evolved a new, more glamorous form of advertising. When the 90’s came around, the next step for advertising was via the internet; the internet became accessible households around the globe (Wiki), this meant that local businesses could begin to reach out to fashion lovers from all parts of the world. As of 2011 more than 2.2 billion people (nearly a third of Earth’s Human population) used the services of the Internet, making the internet the most resourceful aid of advertising accessible by all. (Wiki, Internet)

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Fashion blogs first appeared in the blogosphere prior to 2002, both the number of fashion blogs and media mentions of fashion blogs has grown considerably since then. I did a Factiva search and it revealed that media articles mentioning fashion blogs grew from 1 in 2002 to over 100 in 2006 and now, 2012 it has risen to over 500 so far. Today, fashion bloggers have a tremendous impact on the industry as a whole. They cover a wide variety of views on trends, personal style picks & shopping advice, insider tips & tricks, celebrity style, street style from around the world, behind the scenes peeks into the elusive world of fashion, as well as the girl-next-door’s take on it all.

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BLOGGING TIMELINE

1998

Justin Hall starts online. New York Times Magazine referred to him as “the founding father of personal blogging.” In 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College, Justin Hall started his web-based diary “Justin’s Links from the Underground”, which offered one of the earliest guided tours of the web.Over time, the site came to focus on Hall’s life in intimate detail.

August 1999

The first blogging platform is born, Blogger. The age of the blogger begins. It was started in 1999 by Pyra Labs but the site didn’t go live until 2003, when Pyra was bought out by Google. (Wikipedia, Blogger (service))

(Wikipedia, Justin Hall)

March 2006

Fashion is Spinach is born. One of the first big fashion blogs to arrive on the scene, FashionisSpinach.com came from American journalist Betsy Lowther’s desire to share the cool, quirky fashion finds she discovered during her travels.

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March 2006

Style Bubble is born. “I’m going to be offering what I have now termed my fashion.” Susie Lau


2002

Gawker is born igniting the gossipblog boom

October 2004

First shoe blog launches. Considered a pioneer of the accessories blog circuit and the inspiration for sites like PurseBlog or BagSnob, Manolo’s shoe blog launched in October of 2004 and is considered by many to be the first blog that dedicated attention to a single accessory; shoes.

December 2004

December 2005

FashionIndie.com is born. Daniel Saynt launches Fashion-Indie.com to talk about designer events in NYC. It reaches 1.3 million readers within its first year.

‘Blog’ is added to the dictionary. Merriam Webster declares Blog the “Word of the Year.”

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April 2007

Tumblr is born. In its first two weeks it secures 75,000 Tumblr accounts.

February 2008

Lookblook.Nu is born. LOOKBOOK.nu, a fashion, youth culture, and community website, created by Yuri Lee in San Francisco.

Spring 2012

The blogger style is named a trend for the season..

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November 2009

The Sartorialist partners with Burberry on Art of the Trench. The Art of the Trench becomes the first social network owned by a fashion brand.

December 2011

NYC Pretty is born by fashion editor, Christine Bibbo Herr

April 2010

Fashiolista launches. Fashiolista is a blogger loved online platform for fashion inspiration.

February 2011

First Bloglovin’awards.

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TYPES OF BLOGS There are many different types of blogs, differing not only in the type of content, but also in the way that content is delivered or written.

Personal blogs The personal blog, an on-going diary or commentary by an individual, is the traditional, most common blog. Personal bloggers usually take pride in their blog posts, even if their blog is never read. Blogs often become more than a way to just communicate; they become a way to reflect on life. This form of blogging can also have a sentimental quality. It is very rare that personal blogs rise to fame but some quickly gather an extensive following within the blogging platform. Some sites, such as Twitter, allow bloggers to share thoughts and feelings instantly with friends and family and are much faster than emailing or writing, this is what makes them a desirable choice. Documenting difficult or satisfying experiences, whether for you or to share with others, can be managed with ease on a blog and can be a form of releasing stress, anxiety or frustration. (Hawkins, 2011) Microblogging Microblogging is the practice of posting small pieces of digital content which could be text, pictures, links, short videos, or other media - on the Internet. Microblogging offers a portable communication mode that feels organic and spontaneous to many and has captured the public imagination. Friends use it to keep in touch, business associates use it to coordinate meetings or share useful resources, and celebrities and politicians (or their publicists) microblog about concert dates, lectures, book releases, or tour schedules. A wide and growing range of add-on tools enables sophisticated updates and interaction with other applications and the resulting profusion of functionality is helping to define new possibilities for this type of communication. Anyone can use this form of blogging, it has particularly become popular in China who have a record of 300 million registered microblog users (Martina, 2012) – a 296% increase from the amount recorded in 2011. (McNaughton, 2012)

Corporate and organizational blogs A blog can be private, as in most cases, or it can be for business purposes. Blogs used internally to enhance the communication and culture in a corporation or externally for marketing, branding or public relations purposes are called corporate blogs. Similar blogs for clubs and societies are called club blogs, group blogs, or by similar names; typical use is to inform members and other interested parties of club and member activities. Examples of companies who use blogs or other social media methods are; Google, Dell and the Royal Bank of Scotland. (Clancy, 2012)

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By Genre Some blogs focus on a particular subject, such as political blogs, health blogs, travel blogs (also known as travelogs), gardening blogs, house blogs, fashion blogs, project blogs, education blogs, niche blogs, classical music blogs, quizzing blogs and legal blogs (often referred to as a blawgs) or dreamlogs. Two common types of genre blogs are art blogs and music blogs. A blog featuring discussions especially about home and family is commonly called a mom or mum blog and one made popular is by Erica Diamond who created Womenonthefence.com which is syndicated to over two million readers monthly. While not a legitimate type of blog, one used for the sole purpose of spamming is known as a Splog.

By Device Blogs can also be defined by which type of device is used to compose it. A blog written by a mobile device like a mobile phone or PDA could be called a moblog. One early blog was Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online shared diary of a person’s personal life combining text, video, and pictures transmitted live from a wearable computer and EyeTap device to a web site. This practice of semi-automated blogging with live video together with text was referred to as sousveillance. Such journals have been used as evidence in legal matters.

By Media Type A blog comprising videos is called a vlog, one comprising links is called a linklog. A site containing a portfolio of sketches is called a sketchblog or one comprising photos is called aphotoblog. Blogs with shorter posts and mixed media types are called tumblelogs. Blogs that are written on typewriters and then scanned are called typecast blogs. A rare type of blog hosted on the Gopher Protocol is known as a Phlog.

Reverse blog A Reverse Blog is composed by its users rather than a single blogger. This system has the characteristics of a blog and the writing of several authors. These can be written by several contributing authors on a topic, or opened up for anyone to write. There is typically some limit to the number of entries to keep it from operating like a Web Forum. (Blog, 2000)

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BLOGGING PLATFORMS Blogging Platforms, also known as blog software, weblog software, blogging software, or blogware is software designed to simplify creating and maintaining weblogs. As specialized content management systems, weblog applications support the authoring, editing, and publishing of blog posts and comments, with special functions for image management, web syndication as well as post and comment moderation. (Blog Software, 2011)

There are now hundreds of blogging platforms on the internet, here I have listed the some of the most popular and short descriptions of them:

WordPress is one of the top blogging platforms in the world and is used by more people than any other. There is a free version called WordPress.com and a self-hosted solution called WordPress.org where you can download the application yourself, install it, and use it on your own server. (Saddington, 2010) It was first released on May 27, 2003, by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as a fork of b2/cafelog. As of December 2011, version 3.0 had been downloaded over 65 million times. (WordPress)

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Blogger is simple to use and is also a very popular choice for first time bloggers. Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was created by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. (Blogger (service))

Generally, these blogs are hosted by Google at a subdomain of blogspot.com. Up until 1st May 2010 Blogger allowed users to publish blogs on other hosts, via FTP. All such blogs had (or still have) to be moved to Google’s own servers, with domains other than blogspot.com allowed via custom URLs.

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Tumblr was launched on April 27, 2007 by David Karp. Marco Arment served as the lead developer, though he left the company in 2010 to focus on Instapaper. Within two weeks of its launch, the service had gained 75,000 users. Its headquarters is located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. As of October 13, 2012, Tumblr has over 77 million blogs, According to comScore, it scored 13.4 million unique visitors in the United States alone in July 2011—up 218% from July 2010. (Tumblr) Tumblr is my choice of blogging platform and I have been using it since 2007. I find it easy to use, the customisable element feels endless and there is a huge variety of different themed blogs you can follow on Tumblr too. Also the mobile app is quick to load and easy to use on the go.

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Although blogging can be a fun and creative outlet as well as a great opportunity for business to promote themselves or their products - as with anything, there are disadvantages. Maintaining a blog can be a lot of work and very time consuming. They have to be constantly updated and new material has to be added in order to control the flow of traffic and keep current readers interested. The downfall of this is that any new content will bury old content in the archives making it more difficult for readers to find it. (Braegger, 2012) Certain blogging platforms, such as Blogger or Wordpress, give the account holder little control over the look and feel of their site. Even though there are many templates to choose from, the look that is desired may not be available - however, if you have knowledge of CSS and HTML, layouts can be customised. Bloggers also open themselves up to exposure and criticism. The words they write are there for the entire world to read. It’s easy to go off on a rant about the horrible day you’ve had and say things that could later come back to haunt you and that’s what bloggers need to try to keep in mind. You never know who may be reading your blog; bloggers have to limit private details to avoid loss of privacy and security issues. (Info, 2010)

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WHAT IS A FASHION BLOG(GER)? Ten years ago, no one could quite define what it meant to be a fashion blogger. The term described a diverse bunch of style fans with the technology to upload pictures and picks of the season to the website of their choice. There was so much going on in fashion around that time, the main trend was minimalism and bright colours were making a comeback. Colours like baby blue, yellow, and hot pink were popular as well as a mad combination of style – hip hop influenced, cowgirl as well as the preppy Burberry look. (Wikipedia, 2000–2009 in fashion - General Trends) The late 1990’s were very androgynous based fashion wise, all focus was now on how designers were bringing femininity back into the industry. The biggest designers of 2002, and the years following, included the late Alexander McQueen, Vera Wang, Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld (Wikipedia, Early 2000s Leading Designers) – these are all designers who are known of their show stopping designs that demand attention and these were the fashion celebrities of the time. Fast-forward a decade, and top-tier “bloggeristas” are fashion stars in their own right; earning enviable wages, shooting advertising campaigns, consulting for top brands and seated front row at every major catwalk show. A fashion blog can cover many things such as specific items of clothing and accessories, trends in various apparel markets, celebrity fashion choices and street fashion. They cover fashion at all levels from the biggest names to the smallest indie designers. Some retailers in the fashion industry have even started blogs of their own to promote their products, examples of companies who do this are; Urban Outfitters (http://blog. urbanoutfitters.com/), Alice + Olivia (http://fortheloveofblog.com/) and Reiss (http://www. reiss.com/explore/).

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The original blogs operated as little more than hobbies, individuality was celebrated and bloggers’ online diaries were a shop window for clothes they enthused about without any sense of editorial decorum. Bloggers either modelled the outfits themselves, or snapped others in looks they liked. But as fashion sites proliferated, blogging became a genuine career for fashion fans. In 2010, US blogger Bryan Grey Yambao (who in 2008 famously had a Marc Jacobs bag named after him) boasted that he earned more than $100,000 a year from his website, bryanboy.com. (Guardian, 2012) On 5th June 2012, thesartorialist.com’s Scott Schuman and Garance Dore were awarded a prestigious gong award from The Council of Fashion Designers America. (Council of Fashion Designers for America, 2012)

This is another example of a fashion blogger’s success being acknowledged as a career.

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BLOGGER STYLE MOVEMENT Early blogs featured stylish individuals wearing clothes their own way – an interesting scarf here, a rolled up cuff there, but a distinct, almost cartoonish look has evolved. Bold prints, clashing colours, statement pieces and larger-than-life accessories became the hallmarks of the fashion blogger. Bethan Holt, of fashioneditoratlarge.blogspot.co.uk, defines the blogger look as;

“blatant – all about being high-maintenance and unashamedly fashion mad”. (Guardian, 2012) Susie Lau, aka blogger Susie Bubble believes that if there is a blogger’s look, it’s a reflection of mainstream trends to which the blogosphere adds its own twist.

“It can be a bit disheartening when blogs look exactly the same,” she says. “When I started, the community really celebrated individual style, but it’s interesting to see it as a movement and how that affects consumer tastes.” (Guardian, 2012)

Meanwhile, Anna Dello Russo, fashion director at Vogue Japan and godmother of blog chic, is proud to see the development of “the blogger” as a style movement. As she said recently of her H&M venture,

“This is an

important evolution in fashion and I am both thrilled and humbled to be the one chosen to lead it.” (Russo, 2012) 22


In truth, some bloggers subscribe to the bold, ornamental way of dressing favoured by Dello Russo, but others prefer the quieter, worn-in T-shirts, bare legs and beat-up boots look of the “Scandinavian school of bloggers”. From spring 2012, the blogger look has become trend in its own right: River Island has named one of its major trends Blogger, a look it describes as “organised chaos”, with clashing prints and over-the-top pieces.

In October of 2012, H&M launched their collaboration with Anna Dello Russo, there was a time where Dello Russo fans were only able to blog about getting her look. Now they are able to buy it, too.

Personally, I see “blogger style” to be taken as inspiration for their followers to mix, match and clash clothes and accessories. Their style can give you the confidence to experiment with unusual combinations that without someone’s approval, you previously may never have worn. 23


CASE STUDY INTERVIEWS As part of my research I took it upon myself to interview two fashion bloggers. I wanted to speak to people from differing ends of the blogging spectrum so I could really get a grasp of what it is to be a fashion blogger. It was a tedious and tiring task getting in contact with someone big in the fashion blogging industry but with persistent emails and Facebook messages, I finally got hold of one of the best; Chiara Ferragni. My other interviewee was easy enough to get hold of. Amy Faith is a friend of mine but I am constantly inspired and intrigued by her blog posts. As her fashion blog is at a personal level for the time being, the promise of a published interview and an article posted on my blog about her made her excited about this interview.

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INTERVIEW WITH CHIARA FERRAGNI OF WWW.THEBLONDESALAD.COM

About Aside from her blogging success, this fashion icon is a full-time law student and designer. The Blonde Salad gives an inside look at Chiara’s life and various loves, including travel, photography, and fashion of course. Documenting everything from exclusive fashion presentations to intimate birthday parties, Chiara gives daily sneak peeks into her glamorous lifestyle. With around 110,000 visits to her site each day (more than 730.000 unique visitors and 9.000.000 impressions per month), Lauren Frankfort, Associate Editor at Stylebistro.com and web intern at Teen Vogue believes that;

“The Blonde Salad has become one of fashion’s most popular blogs”. (Frankfort, 2011) Age: 24 Hometown:

Cremona, Italy

Started Blogging: October 2009 Websites: www.theblondesalad.com, www.facebook.com/theblondesalad, www. twitter.com/ChiaraFerragni, http://lookbook.nu/chiaraferragni, www.flickr.com/photos/chiaraferragni, http://pinterest.com/chiaraferragni. 26


Memorable Career Moments: 2010: Presenter for “Best Look” of the Italian TRL Awards. Guest at Chiambretti Night (famous Italian TV variety show). Guest of honour during the Pennyblack Vogue Fashion Night Out in Milan in September 2010 (and did the same in September 2011). Modelled for the Silvian Heach lookbook spring/summer 2011. Started her on-going collaboration with the monthly “A” magazine, where she writes weekly about fashion and youth. Started her personal shoe line, Chiara Ferragni which first collection came out in 4 September 2010.

2011: Took part in a runway show for Alberta Ferretti fashion show during the 79th edition of Pitti. Won bloglovin’ award for “Newcomer blogger of the Year”. Godmother of the launch of new Furla “Candy Bag”. Was one of the testimonials of Hogan FW 2011 Campaign “Future Roots”. Godmother of the Yamamay- you’re the queen contest. On Venice red carpet for two different premieres: the first time dressed in Amen and the second time in Cacharel. Hosted, again, the Pennyblack Vogue Fashion’s night out in September. Hosted the Dior Addict event, in collaboration with Dior. Started the brand Werelse with two fellow bloggers: Andy Torres and Carolina Engman. With her personal shoe line Chiara Ferragni sold more than 2000 pairs of shoes at their third collection.

2012 so far: Won again a Bloglovin’ award for Blogger Business of the Year. Created a capsule collection for Yamamay: Chiara Ferragni for Yamamay, sold in all Yamamay stores worldwide and best seller of all stores. Created a capsule collection for Mango: Werelse for Mango Touch. Collaborated with Louis Vuitton for their official video with Fabrizio Viti. Officially presented her own short movie for ASVOFF by Diego Dolcini. Collaborated with Ermenegildo Zegna for ZegnArt project. Made a speech and gave the prize to the winners of Maramotti contest, in collaboration with Max Mara. Nominated by Vogue.com “social shopper inspiration of the week”

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THE INTERVIEW

Tell me a bit about yourself I’m Chiara Ferragni, I’m 23 and I now am at the 5th year of law but I also am a (almost) full-time fashion blogger from The Blonde Salad. Thanks to Flickr and LOOKBOOK.nu my blog became so popular after only some months, and since February 2010 I’ve been interviewed for popular international magazines, websites and also on television. I also started my own shoe brand this Autumn, starting with an ankle boots collection completely made in Italy. It’s all like a dream to me and I’m so grateful to all the wonderful fans who love and follow my blog day after day, growing with me :) I’m currently living in Milan with my boyfriend Richie and my French bulldog puppy, Matilda :D

Why did you initially decide to start a blog? I was already using a social network to share my life and then I realized that I needed a space more personal and flexible.

What is the story behind your blog’s title? What I wanted was a space where I could talk about not only fashion but also travel, food, and art—a complete lifestyle.

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What do you do when you’re not blogging? Now my life is totally involved in my job, because I share most of my life on the blog. But I do still love simple things, like watching movies with my friends and spending time with my family.

What are you most passionate about? I’d say fashion, photography, traveling and art in general

How did you first get interested in fashion? My mum used to work in the fashion industry, for Blumarine. Since I was kid I looked at her dresses and accessories like they were treasures and I thought she looked like a princess all the time. I’ve always been interested in fashion, and I started sharing my outfits on the web about 7 years ago uploading my photos on Flickr and then on LOOKBOOK. nu. I then started my blog in October 2009.

How do you describe the fashion scene in Milan compared to other major cities/fashion capitals? Italian people have an inner style, you can smell fashion in the air since fashion made in Italy is huge all over the world. :)

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Describe your personal style and its influences / inspiration. I don’t have a unique style. I take inspirations from everything that surrounds me: it can be a movie, a song, a person that I saw on the streets, fashion shows, blogs and whatever. I just dress the way I feel that morning, choosing the clothes and accessories. One day I can be a rocker girl and one day later I’m the nerdy one. :) Everybody should dress the way that makes them feel comfortable with their bodies and proud of what they are. If you like those glitter shoes, wear them, and if you enjoy that fancy trench, buy it!

Who are your favourite designers and places to shop? Alexander McQueen is my personal favourite. I also love Alexander Wang, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh and for sure Dolce & Gabbana. I’m in love with vintage stores—I love that some of the clothes I own actually have a story behind them that makes them unique.

What is the first thing you notice in other people’s outfits? The bag, they’re my mania!

What do you splurge on? Designer bags and shoes, I have a lot and continue buying them, it’s a drug! 30


What do you skimp on? Particular dresses, I usually buy them low cost because I love changing them all the time!

What fashion rules do you never break? I usually don’t wear too many conflicting colours together.

What do you think is the most recent trend to appear or reappear, and what are your thoughts on it? I guess medium heels are coming back. Since I’m a huge fan of the highest heels I wasn’t sure I would have loved this trend, but when I saw some of the new Miu Miu shoe models they got me!

Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire? I especially like looks from people in the streets or from other bloggers too, but I love Miroslava Duma, Alexa Chung, the Olsen twins and most of the models’ out of the catwalks outfits. :) 31


Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years’ time? A famous fashion designer and fashion stylist!

What would you say to someone seeking fashion advice? Never be afraid of what you’re wearing, just try to be as comfortable as possible with your body and shapes.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own blog? When it comes to anything you want to do in your life, you have to be passionate. Success may come, but in the end the most important thing is that you are doing what you really want to do. What are the best and the hardest aspects or running your blog? The most amazing thing is when you meet your followers in person. I don’t know what I would do without them. The flip side is that sometimes, especially during fashion weeks, I don’t have time to write my posts.

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INTERVIEW WITH AMY FAITH OF

WWW.AMYFAITHPHOTOGRAPHY.WORDPRESS.COM

About I have personally known Amy for a couple of years now and she is absolutely one of Liverpool’s true creative treasures. From modelling to photography, Amy really has an eye for concept as well as style which appears to flow naturally through her. I have chosen to interview Amy as she is one of the very few people I know, who is aware of the fashion blogger and she is actively influenced by them. She is currently undergoing a Look Book project, which I was honoured to take part in - that celebrates individual’s love for their own wardrobe through beautifully composed photographs. Her blog posts are entertaining, inciting and inspiring; everything needed to make a successful blog! Age: 30 Hometown:

Liverpool, UK

Started Blogging: June 2012 Website: www.amyfaithphotography.wordpress.com

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THE INTERVIEW

Tell me a bit about yourself Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a published fashion, event and food photographer, currently part time. I LOVE cups of tea, but if you offer me one, I may decline as I am unbelievably, and quite annoyingly, fussy :) Why did you initially decide to start a blog? Honestly? Because there are so many amazing blogs out there that I love to read, I thought it would be massively fun to start my own. I have always had blogs, I think I opened my first when I was around 17 on BlogSpot, soon moving onto LiveJournal. What is your blog about, what would you categorise it as? My current blog is about photography. I could categorise it as fashion photography, as I mostly concentrate on look book projects, however would never like to restrict my creative outlet. Do you follow any fashion blogs in particular? If so, what ones? http://www.divineworld.blogspot.co.uk/ <<< This is my favourite, she has impeccable style. http://www.anotherdaytodressup.blogspot.co.uk/ http://glossfashion.com/le-happy/ 36


What do you do when you’re not blogging? If I don’t have my camera in front of my face, I have my face in front of my laptop editing. What are you most passionate about? Zoology. Haha, joking. Didn’t want to be too predictable here. Photography, of course. I see the world in a never-ending array of photographs...

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How did you first get interested in fashion/photography? I probably have my mum to blame for the fashion. She was ultra-chic in the 80’s. I think she instilled it in me. I used to choose all my own outfits from the age of 4, picked my first pair of red patent leather Mary Jane’s at the age of 6. Oh yeah! Haha. Photography was more me. I have always been fascinated by history and what better way to look at history than through a painting or a photograph. I love art, but I can’t paint that quick though, so I knew photography was for me. How would you describe the fashion scene in Liverpool compared to other major cities/ fashion capitals? The country would believe that Liverpool spends its time shopping for overpriced, overfrilled, overpink dresses, sky high platforms, rings that would make Saturn jealous and bronzer the colour of mud... but, in reality, Liverpool style is way more than that. Once you’ve got past all the Desperate Scousewives, that we are so famously pigeon-holed for, and dig a little deeper around Bold Street on a Saturday or Heebie Jeebies on a Sunday, you’d discover Liverpool’s true style. I think Liverpool’s style is way more understated than other cities. We don’t have to force our style, we ARE our style.

Describe your personal style and its influences/inspiration: My style is very much a mish mash of boyish bagginess and girly cinching. I will always team boyfriend jeans with heels or tulip hem skirts with an oversized vintage sweater. At the moment, my inspiration is very much “the girls of Tumblr” - you know, the ones you just love to look at but then feel miserable for not being them? Who are your favourite designers and places to shop? I’m not a huge label fiend, my taste in designers changes from season to season. My favourite place to shop is the high street and back alley vintage stores. I don’t mind donning a Zara favourite as long as I can mix it up with something one off from the 70’s that preferably cost less than £5. 38


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What is the first thing you notice in other people’s outfits? It’s never normally just one item, I actually notice how they have teamed the whole ensemble together more than anything. I’m not into matchy matchy, but I do like flow. What do you splurge on? Shoes. All day, shoes. What do you skimp on? Knickers, socks, tights. I don’t like to keep knickers and socks longer than 6 months and tights constantly get laddered, so I am not spending a fortune on them every time I need to replenish my drawers. Primark, H&M and George are my friends.

What fashion rules do you never break?

“Go high, or go home.”

Unless you’re attending a chic 60’s fancy dress party as Twiggy or Edie Sedgewick, then kitten heels are never ever acceptable. Its 3.5”+ or flats, ladies. 41


What do you think is the most recent trend to appear or reappear, and what are your thoughts on it? Camo jackets. The last time military wear was in fashion it was probably 1979, punks were roaming the streets, the country was in a collapse due to the Tories and everyone was rebelling. Its 2012, the country is in a slump, Tories are in power... I think, sub-consciously, we are donning our war paint in rebellion to the power once again. Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire? The Olsen Twins have amazing style and grace for such young girls and Kelly Osbourne has always been fashion forward and never ever scared to go risqué. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years’ time? In my own studio, shooting full time. Surrounded by camera lenses, lights and fabulous people. What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own blog? The best way to improve and feel like your writing is worth something is to receive comments, critique and kudos. The best way to do that is to start you blog on a website that already has a good community of blogs you’re interested in. Follow their blogs, comment and hopefully they will take a moment to read your own blog entries. Never stop promoting your blog and always write from the heart. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything!

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THE FUTURE OF FASHION BLOGGING When you contemplate the comparison between fashion magazines and fashion bloggers, their style and promotional ways may be different but their ethos is the same. It comes down to a popularity contest and the big question is; Are fashion bloggers more powerful then certain editors and journalists? As these magazines and bloggers tend to work closely or together to inspire each other, this is a delicate question to ask but it is by no means pointless. The fashion industry is constantly moving forward . In April this year, 2012, DecodedFashion took place in New York, This is a new annual conference that is bringing the fashion and tech industries together for the first time, offering insights from the very best innovators, brands and creative firms from across the globe. (Fashion, 2012) One theme that continually stood out was how the internet and our browsing and online buying habits are completely changing the fashion and retail landscape. Brands have to be innovative to keep consumers interested in their products and they’re using social media and the web to stay in touch with consumers and create a more personal, targeted shopping experience overall. (Cowan, 2012) www.Lyst.com is a website where you can follow your favourite designers, boutiques, bloggers and stylists and see what they’re recommending from your own home PC. CEO and co-founder Chris Morton believes that “social’ is going to become a big part of how we shop – he claimed that we are increasingly buying clothes that other people recommend and so they’re creating something that adheres to that trend. (Cowan, 2012)

So when more people eventually become aware of fashion bloggers, does this mean that magazines will become old fashioned? 44


Kate Lanphear, the style director of US Elle doesn’t think so, she says;

“I think that blogging is just a fresh perspective,” (Burcz, 2012)

She believes that blogging is another filter to look at fashion, much like a buyer, or an editor. In her opinion, it’s just another eye.

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Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller agrees that blogs and magazines will continue to evolve, but on different paths;

“I think it will be two separate things. I don’t know if magazines are going to be consumed in the same medium that they are being consumed in now, but the fashion magazine will always be one thing, and fashion blogs will be another. That’s not to say that both will change because they will tremendously, but I think they will always be two separate teams on fashion and what is that difference? Reading fashion from a person like yourself’s point of view is something really special, and I think it’s great that fashion blogging is letting everyone feel like an insider.” (Burcz, 2012)

This is a view that many people who work within magazines have. Journalists in particular appear to be very territorial when it comes to their work and are quick distinguish the difference between them and fashion bloggers. 46


Susie Bubble of www.stylebubble.co.uk says;

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think that they will always be separate entities. But I think some magazines will probably develop their online arm, so that in the end their online website maybe become even stronger than their print magazine, and blogs are becoming publishing entities all by themselves.â&#x20AC;? (Burcz, 2012)

It is obvious that magazines and blogs are to be kept as individual organisms but are both still to progress with the times, how long until they are both too similar to cause unease in the industry is unknown. 47


CONCLUSION After questioning and analysing as many aspects of blogging that I could discover, I have come to the conclusion that this type of blogging in particular, with so many people being completely unaware of it, may not become the future of product advertising. But by making the concept of Fashion Blogging more accessible to all, there is no reason that it could not be. People now spend more time on social media sites than ever, it is undeniable that it will have some negative effects on their users. Social media present risks and benefits to children and adults alike - according to a presentation at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

“While nobody can deny that Facebook has altered the landscape of social interaction, particularly among young people, we are just now starting to see solid psychological research demonstrating both the positives and the negatives,”

said Larry D. Rosen, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills

In a plenary talk entitled, “Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids,” Rosen discussed potential adverse effects, including:

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• Teens who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies while young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviours, mania and aggressive tendencies. • Daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, as well as by making them more susceptible to future health problems. • Facebook can be distracting and can negatively impact learning. Studies found that primary school, secondary school and further education students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period achieved lower grades. Rosen said new research has also found positive influences linked to social networking, including: • Young adults who spend more time on Facebook are better at showing “virtual empathy” to their online friends. • Online social networking can help introverted adolescents learn how to socialize behind the safety of various screens, ranging from a two-inch smartphone to a 17-inch laptop. • Social networking can provide tools for teaching in compelling ways that engage young students. (Bowen, 2011)

An infographic from Kissmetrics shows that Myspace.com has the largest amount of users between the ages of 0-18, Twitter’s majority of users are between the ages of 35 and 44 and Facbook has the largest amount of users aged 45+ out of the three. (KISSmetrics, 2012)

Although there is a large audience for of social media sites and blogging platforms, there is only a certain circle who seem to be aware of Fashion Blogging and its uses. These are people in the Fashion Industry, students of fashion or people who have and interest in fashion and eagerly search for what they desire. I believe that the first step for fashion blogging as an advertising tactic, to reach its full potential is to bring it down to a high street level as to make it more accessible for people who would not know where to find it or who wouldn’t think look for it in the first place.

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DESIGN RECOMMENDATIONS One of the world’s most glamorous women - Coco Chanel once said;

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” When it comes to fashion bloggers, this is an unwritten rule. The reason these kinds of admirable. The more and more successful a blogger gets, there is more of a risk of them loosing their uniqueness and they eventually transform into clothes hangers, not stylistas.

unusual looks of forward thinkers like Tavi Gevinson, Susie Bubble and Bryan Boy - just to note a few. Those bloggers are still around today and majorly successful, however, it’s Undeniable that there’s now is a trendy new breed of ‘it’ girl bloggers, with an overall today these kinds of people, they did not start out like this. Everything in fashion is cyclical and everything has its moment. But as fashion bloggers become more established as a community, are they becoming more like the fashion industry in the sense that trends, advertisements, and essentially being ‘model-like’ will (for the most part) come out on top? It must be empowering that bloggers can determine their own content, but as they grow, should they be self evaluating how to mold to the standards of the fashion industry? Are blogs going to just end up being versions of high end magazines? Are bloggers going to be ruled by advertisers, trends or by the way their look bodies look in their personal style posts? These are the issues I looked into whilst putting this report together. 50


The fashion industry is based on appearances, so therefore it’s not unnatural that fashion bloggers are scrutinized on beauty, but does that mean the future of the fashion blogger predetermined? As I have previously stated, the plus side of personal blogging is that YOU control what your posts are about. However, there is obviously a down side. No matter who you are, what you look like or what you do - you will come across some scrutiny in you life; a blog is the perfect opportunity for people to exercise this form of criticism. The Platform is a Vlog - video blog, that posts about trends, DIY tips and one of their bloggers in particular who caputres people’s attention, is P’Trique. His videos take the critisim that fashion bloggers get from being “stereotypical” and makes it humerous, here is an example image;

Although P’trique is putting emphasis on what is assumed as the vanity in fashion blogging, he is loved by fashion bloggers for his lighthearted humour. Obviously, as he doesnt look like how you would expect a fashion blogger to look, he has opened himself up to criticism too - whether this was his intention or not, it allows his followers to see that he is unique and he does not let bad comments crush his individuality. Fashion bloggers are writing about their personal views and opening up to a possibly unknown audience - the pressure of staying creative and keeping true to your individual blogging purpose can easily become too much. This is what bloggers have to deal with on a daily basis. 51


There are 10 simple steps that bloggers should take that can assist in maintaining creativity and motivation. These are;

1. Unplug

Get away from technology - turn off your phone, hide your laptop, avoid the media.

2. Get Your Hands Dirty

Figuratively or literally - bake, take photographs, collage, create something new.

3. Read

It only takes a few stories or interviews with influencers to get your brain working.

4. Talk It Out

Make plans with a few inspiring friends and talk it out. Consider it a brainstorming session.

5. Break Your Routine

Routines are safe, comforting yet also restrictive. You might discover something that will get your mind going in a whole new direction.

6. Set Yourself Goals

Stay focused and motivated by putting your goals to paper and keeping it close by. They won’t fix your problems but they will remind you why those problems need to be fixed.

7. Change Your Surroundings

New buildings, new restaurants, new cafes all get you to open your eyes. Just don’t forget your notebook! You never know when a walk down a different street will cause you to think of something brilliant.

8. Do Something Thought-Provoking

Watch an interesting film or documentary, research something you don’t know much about or wouldn’t normally give much thought to.

9. Loosen Up and Have Fun

Do something that makes you smile and laugh - This lets your brain and creativity flow more freely.

10. Get Inspired

Visit museums, galleries, explore architecture and people watch. Break the boundaries you’ve set for yourselfand allow your mind the opportunity to truly create something. Although you would assume these steps are obvious, making the decision to step away from your current situation to put these steps in place, can be a difficult one. 52


I believe that creating an offline, real-life community for fashion bloggers would persuade people to follow these steps. An environment that would boost creativity and motivation whilst having the opportunity to socilise with other people in the same situation could be the perfect aid to the â&#x20AC;&#x153;bloggers blockâ&#x20AC;? issue. This environment would also be a great way to promote the importance of uniqueness. Both established and aspiring bloggers need to be brought back to reality sometimes - having an offline community especially for these individuals would allow each member to listen to others points of views thus gaining a more varied outlook on their blogging area. The internet is a great source of information, especially for bloggers. The main downfall of using solely the internet to determine what you post about is that it is accessible to everyone who owns a computer. A truly unique way to find inspiration is to look what is around you rather than to go searching for it. Having an area to remind and assist bloggers in undergoing these 10 steps would not only be a new form of support for bloggers but it would also entice the public to find out more and potentially bring in a new generation of bloggers. This is a new concept in retail design that allows bloggers to use the purpose social networking in the form of real life interaction on a high street level. This will then in turn bring in innovative ways of becoming inspired and give people a more raw and fresh outlook on their surroundings. I believe this concept is unique in the fact that now, it is too easy to spend all day on your computer. People will visit museums and gallerys when they are attracted to certain exhibitions. This space would be somewhere people would want to go to be constantly insired and reminded of the inspiration that surrounds them every day.

Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds....

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MY BLOG - SOUL CAKES Whilst undergoing my research for this project, I started my own blog about trends, exhibitions and my own personal style. Within the first two days of my blog being live, I had gained 10 followers and my first post had been liked and reblogged 5 times. This proves that people do have an interest in fashion blogging and they are willing to search for what they desire. I now update my blog regularly with a case study every Tuesday and a post on an outfit of my choice every Thursday, other days I might post about a particular brand or item of clothing; blogs tend to gain followers if they stick to a blogging routine. I am not only managing this blog as an experiment, but also as a creative outlet for my own personal use. The page is called Soul-Cakes (www soul-cakes.tumblr.com) the reason behind this unusual name is simple; for me, there is nothing more satisfying than cake. When I find something that intrigues or excites me, I get that same satisfied feeling I get from cake, hence Soul Cakes. My little bites of inspiration. On this blog I have links to my Pinterest, Facebook, Flickr and WordPress accounts as well as my email as a way for people to contact me if they wish to do so. Through managing this blog, I have aquired a clearer understanding and experienced first-hand how fashion blogging is a desirable way of expressing yourself. I have delt with both the good and bad repercussions of blogging and I can see this continuing to be a hobby of mine in the future.

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Susie Lau, (2012), 4581579360_d740052761_o [ONLINE]. Available at: ttp://farm5.static. flickr.com/4060/4581579360_d740052761_o.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Chiara Ferragni, (2012), diy-neon-rope-necklace-diy-woven-gold-chain-necklace-fashionblog-sydney [ONLINE]. Available at: http://crashingred.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/diyneon-rope-necklace-diy-woven-gold-chain-necklace-fashion-blog-sydney.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Unknown, (2012), Mary-Portas [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.cumbriacrack.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/03/Mary-Portas.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Chiara Ferregni, (2012), 381879_426288190757779_1670302568_n [ONLINE]. Available at: https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/381879_426288190757779_16703 02568_n.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Chiara Ferregni, (2012), 18588_425328977520367_660313578_n [ONLINE]. Available at: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/18588_425328977520367_660313 578_n.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Chiara Ferregni, (2012), 598959_423836917669573_157306670_n [ONLINE]. Available at: https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/598959_423836917669573_15730 6670_n.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Chiara Ferregni, (2012), 598822_414656225254309_1763537464_n [ONLINE]. Available at: https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/598822_414656225254309_176353 7464_n.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Alessia Carradori, (2012), alessia-carradori-vintage-fashion-blogger-roma-fossilsea-accessories-prada-cruciani [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.mirroruponthewall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/alessia-carradori-vintage-fashion-blogger-roma-fossilsea-accessories-pradacruciani.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Jade Storey, (2012), soulcakes [ONLINE]. Available at:http://static.tumblr.com/zlwhuft/n5Imcisr3/temp_logo.jpg [Accessed 30 October 12]. Jade Storey, (2012), tumblr_mcch13VZmU1rj73mqo10_1280 [ONLINE]. Available at: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcch13VZmU1rj73mqo10_250.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Teodora Bakalova, (2012), Teodoras-Lookbook-Atlanta-fashion-2 [ONLINE]. Available at: http://teodoraslookbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Teodoras-Lookbook-Atlanta-fashion-2.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12]. Chiara Ferragni, (2012), 11 (1) [ONLINE]. Available at: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_R2YzzKqhItU/TAki2dyUEXI/AAAAAAAAAIM/DaqfQNhoFns/s1600/11.jpg [Accessed 10 October 12].

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Fashion Blogger Awareness and Importance BA (Hons) Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design DD3000 Contextual Studies â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Design Futures 9,676 words Jade Storey

Fashion Blogger Awareness and Importance  

Jade Storey Dissertation

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