How Our Obsession With Social Media Has Redefined Fashion Blogs Forever
The blog is dead; long live the blogger.
In 2009, style reporters for the New York Times exited fashion week with mouths metaphorically agape. Instead of high-ranking socialites in the coveted front seats of each show, they saw gangs of young people more likely to belong at a late night club than a high fashion event.
They were the very first generation of bloggers: Bryan Boy, Tavi Gevinson, Tommy Ton and more. With their outrageous style and love of all things new, this troupe redefined the way we share personal style.
They snapped selfies before we even had a name for them and developed wholly unique branding that caught the eye of fashion designers.
The growing industry gave rise to the likes of Sea of Shoes' Jane Aldridge and Style Bubble's Susie Lau while forming a side business known as lifestyle blogging.
There, brands like Cupcakes and Cashmere, run by LA-native Emily Schuman, and Love Taza, created by Naomi Davis, grew fan bases of the creatively ambitious.
But in 2010, a rising social media force called Instagram popped a gaping hole in the world of well-curated glitter decorations and trendy outfits.
Fans began drifting to their favorite bloggers' social media pages instead of reading their content.
After all, why wait for a post that happened one day ago when it's even easier to see what a blogger is wearing right this minute?
By the beginning of 2015, it became clear the blogger had to either be in the process of evolving or risk perishing altogether. And by perish, we mean giving up a lifetime supply of green juices in favor of a 9-to-5 office job that's no one's idea of fun.
And so, these bloggers constructed new strategies toward success. Replacing traditionally appointed editors and trained fashion designers, this generation of content creators are on a mission to find new platforms for themselves.
We're in a post-blog era, where only the creative and hard-working survive.
Skip the blog, start a media empire.
Many of the blogosphere's youngest – and most successful – faces started from obscurity and learned their trade the hard way. YouTube-based cosmetics guru Michelle Phan, who began creating beauty content in 2006, soon realized video wasn't the only way to get her point across.
Nine years and millions of views later, Phan threw herself into media wholeheartedly by launching a platform called Icon Network with the aid of Endemol Shine Group.
Unlike YouTube or a traditional TV channel, Phan's network gives would-be stylists and cosmeticians the chance to showcase their growing portfolios.
By ensuring there's still a platform for new content, Phan is securing the next generation of up-and-coming bloggers – the kind who never have to type a single sentence in WordPress.
Like Phan, Tavi Gevinson has also survived by turning to media creation. As editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine, she's curated an ongoing selection of music, entertainment and style since 2011.
The one-time wunderkind gained her following by showcasing her unusual taste, so those same fans have stuck around to see what she'll do with it.
This same idea applies to Leandra Medine, whose “man-repelling” style transformed from a personal blog into a well-loved style and humor website.
When in doubt, stick to style.
A natural next step for many fashionistas has been the opportunity to develop and promote a capsule collection for a larger line.
It only makes sense, because bloggers who spend years cultivating a brand jump at the chance to monetize it further.
Italian-born Chiara Ferragni, 28, best known as The Blonde Salad, brings in an estimated eight million dollars per year from her website. But, this didn't stop the 20-something powerhouse from creating a line of cheeky, winking shoes in 2013.
Several other bloggers echoed the same idea, monetizing their taste for higher value.
Just this summer, Emily Schuman launched a Cupcakes and Cashmere clothing line produced by BB Dakota. Although the line's already received criticism for excluding plus-size women, several of the collection's pieces sold out within a day of its release.
Turn Instagram into its own business.
Sure, affiliate links will earn revenue, but only the truly crafty can survive on it.
Instead of providing endless sponsored content, bloggers like Danielle Bernstein of NYC's We Wore What have monetized their social media posts.
Earlier this year, the Telegraph reported the 22-year-old charges up to $15,000 to share a photo with her one million followers.
Bernstein's not the only one capitalizing on social media, either. Savvy LA blogger Aimee Song, known for her bohemian style and jet-setting life as an interior designer, reportedly earned about $5,000 per sponsored post last summer.
With the rise of ads on Snapchat, it seems smart bloggers may soon be earning a little cash from sponsored snaps, as well.
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