I write a fashion blog. What’s more, I read lots of blogs about fashion, personal style, street style and beauty. I like discovering the formerly unheard voices of women who wear the clothes the apparel companies manufacture and the magazines glamorize. I like the critique, the stories, and the often complete superficiality of what someone wears on any given day. I like the style advice even if I don’t agree with it. And street style photography? I love it! How else will I ever know what the cool kids are wearing in Milan, New York and Paris? Beauty blogs are their own niche but I love them too and read several. I was not an early adopter of all the internet had to offer, but now that I’m into it I am really, really, into it.
The internet has empowered me. I am no longer tied to what the fashion magazines want to show me. I can go out and find it myself without ever leaving my home, and I thank the fashion bloggers for that. But there are plenty of people who don’t agree with me. There is as much criticism out there as there is love for this medium that I have embraced. Every so often it seems like it’s hip to dish fashion blogs, and although I’ve found articles criticizing fashion blogs going back as far as 2010, recently there’s been another wave. Now, I can’t disagree with all of it but much of the criticism seems to stem from people disliking the way fashion blogs have evolved. Here is a smattering of the complaints and rebuttals I’ve found on the internet.
What’s Wrong with Fashion Blogs?
Thoughts from fashion writers and fellow bloggers.
- Susy Menkes’ now blogosphere-famous article, The Circus of Fashion, is a nostalgic rant on how much better and cooler everything was back in the day, before all these silly bloggers in their equally silly outfits hit the scene.
- Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller apologizes for being silly and making some money while doing it in Blog is a dirty word.
- In Criticism/Uncensored: Why Fashion Bloggers Are Not Journalists, and How They Killed Their Credibility Batty mamzelle points out that fashion bloggers are critics, not journalists, and she doesn’t read any of that stuff anymore anyway.
- A L’Allure Garcinniere sees fashion blogs repeat “…the same derivative formula, over and over again.” in Fashion Blogging Culture: Demanding Substance Over Style
- Beta Beat asks “What happens when the marketers come knocking?” and responds with the well researched Fatshion Police: How Plus-Size Blogging Left Its Radical Roots Behind. It seems fashion bloggers have sold out.
- Oh, but it gets better! Not only have some bloggers sold out, some are paying good money to look like they’re selling out. Check out the lying and cheating revealed by Beautifully Invisible in The Dark Side of Blogging. It isn’t all Glitter and Gold.
- Although Running in Heels is still a “…firm believer in the fashion blog” she is concerned about the numbers of bloggers who “…have fallen prey to the ‘sponsored post’…” Read more in Have style bloggers sold out to the lure of big fashion brands?
- Style Sizzle talks about sponsors and why fashion bloggers need them in the unapologetic A Word about Sponsors.
- Wardrobe Oxygen chimes in on the pitfalls of sponsorship in It Happened to Me: I Sold My Soul for a Haircut.
- Final Fashion wakes from the style blog dream and wonders if regular people can make it with a fashion blog these days.
Selling out or sustainability?
One thing almost everyone criticizes is that bloggers have “sold out” to companies by taking money for advertorial posts and wearing free, a.k.a.gifted, clothing but when I hear that someone has managed to make their blog into a sustainable business I am happy for them. When photographers single out a pretty young woman in an over-the-top outfit it brings a smile to my face. When I hear about bloggers being invited to sit in the front row at fashion shows and asked to fabulous parties and events I think it’s great. Good for them!
Disclosure: Lets be clear here
Obviously, some bloggers are better at disclosing when they’ve received money, vacations and beautiful clothes from a brand. I try to be as transparent as possible. Not only is it unethical not to disclose when I’ve been paid for a post, it’s also illegal. Deciding which sponsored posts to allow on my blog is often difficult. These are the posts that pay, but often the sponsors want the post to appear as if I came up with it on my own. The language I use to explain that a post has been paid for by a company is becoming more obtuse as my clients request vague disclosures. “Brought to you by…” is popular this month.
Personally, I really love receiving apparel to wear and review for the blog. Most of the companies that contact me are small businesses, independent designers or internet start-ups . I get a new something to wear, the brand gets some exposure. It’s a win-win situation. So far I haven’t accepted anything I dislike. Why would I? Often the piece I receive isn’t something I would go out and purchase myself, but this allows me to check out a style I might not normally try.
Creativity vs. making a living
I would love for The Style Confessions to be purely a creative outlet, but the reality of our current economy is bleak. This blog is a work of love, dedication and time. I would like to see it grow into something that can help sustain me and my family while at the same time continue as a creative space and a relevant source of inspiration and entertainment for my readers. I create this blog from personal passion, but the ad at the bottom of this post is there so I can pay to keep going.
Do you think it’s possible for a blogger to make money and create something worthwhile?
(Many thanks to The Styleograph for allowing me to use his photo on my blog!)
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