Okay, so here's a copy of my latest university assignment. It's a feature on the concept of fashion blogging - an idea I'm sure you're all well-versed in ;) Let me know your ideas and opinions!
Fans, designer gifts, opportunities that a million girls would die for – all from the comfort of your home computer. Leah-roxanne Denton takes a look at the new generation of fashion icons.
You see an image. Tight Jeans, Sky-high heels. The model stands tall, hair sprayed into place, face made up in this season's catwalk trends. Posed, primped and photographed to perfection. You flick through. A review on the latest beauty must-have. The words have been crafted beautifully, alongside images of the product in use, and recommendations – 'great for pale-skinned beauties'. Another flick through. D&G's London Fashion Week show – photos taken from the front row. No, you're not browsing through the latest copy of your favourite glossy magazine. This is amateur blogging, in its finest.
For decades, western women have pored over images of catwalk models, searching for style inspiration, and for decades they have longed to embody that same - let's be honest - unachievable image. It comes as no surprise then, that a new breed of fashionable women are taking style inspiration into their own hands. Ever since the emergence of Susie Bubble's outfit-a-day fashion blogging phenomenon back in 2006, hundreds of fashion enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to share their personal style with the world. And the rewards, it seems, are endless.
Student and fashion-blogger, Charlotte (21) has been blogging since 2009. Her blog site, Girlnextdoorfashion.net was founded in 2009, and has since built up to an average of 15,000 – 20,000 viewings every month. “Blogging shows the world that you don't need a million dollar wardrobe to have fun and be stylish” says Charlotte, “I put an awful lot of time and effort into my blog, and I love receiving positive feedback and comments”. The success of her blog has given Charlotte the opportunity to work with retailers, reviewing clothes samples (an experience I'm sure most girls would be impressed with!) as well as the chance to gain work experience at the fashion magazines she'd one day love to work for. Not a bad feat!
And Charlotte's success isn't uncommon. Designers and retailers seem to have cottoned on to the potential influence of fashion bloggers. As Charlotte explains - “With the number of bloggers invited to Fashion Week each year I think the fashion industry is becoming more aware of the power bloggers have”. According to a survey by blog search engine Technorati, around a third of bloggers have been approached by a brand to write about or review products on their blog, while 41% of part-time bloggers have used their blog to get published or featured in traditional media. Some bloggers are even making a living out of their posts. Following high acclaim for her personal style blog, What I Wore, blogger Jessica Quirk was quickly snapped up to a book deal, leading her to quit her fashion design job in order to fulfil her full-time blogger duties. Her book - in which she shares her own 'recipes for style', along with blog-style outfit posts - is due to be release this summer.
Many others use blogging as a way of fulfilling their fashion ambitions, whilst maintaining their everyday careers. Sophie (29) works in advertising and has been blogging on/off for 6 years. For her, blogs are a creative outlet - “I ended up in a job where I don't write much”, she acknowledges, “so it was a good way to have a voice and get my words published”. Having blogged extensively about fashion and celebrities, Sophie admits she always had a teeny tiny hope in the back of her mind that the blog would become popular, and result in some serious advertiser spend, or a book deal. And even without ending up a professional 'blogger', the benefits of blogging are endless. “It provides you with an outlet for your inner thoughts”, explains Sophie, “a new lease of enthusiasm and energy for your hobbie/interests, a chance to polish up your writing skills, and an opportunity for feedback on your writing/ideas/opinions”.
For Stefanie (21), blogging is all about expressing your own personal style. “I think there are a lot of blogs out there challenging fashion”, she explains, “it's not something you might see walking down your local highstreet and now somebody is out there putting it out for you to draw inspiration from and to possibly take a more daring approach to fashion yourself”. Having blogged for two years under the pseudonym Cowbiscuits, Stefanie uses her blog as a 'personal statement' for potential employers. “It shows alot about me on there, so if an employer looks at it then they can get a good feel of who I am and what I'm like”.
The success of blogging has led to the creation of numerous fashion blogging sites. Online communities like Lookbook.nu and Chictopia.com are a celebration of individual style, where users can upload images of their own outfits, post comments, and share style tips. And more recently, fashion magazines have begun to realise the power of blogging, with many of the top names, including Vogue and Cosmo unveiling 'Blog' sections on their websites. Other glossies have even taken it a step further. Earlier this year More! Magazine launched a search to find the best bloggers out there to write a regular mini-blog for their website, while Cosmopolitan.co.uk has announced it's own Blog Awards - with awards being given to 'Best beauty blog', and 'Best new fashion blogger' among others.
With the fashion industry starting to take notice, and fashion bloggers ready to take the world by storm, could this be the start of a new era of fashion, where the amateur beats the best, and real girl style trumps all?