Blogger Citizens

The Bloggomist: Three Times a Trend
Fashion Opinion

Four years ago I started a fashion blog. I wanted a visual outlet, a place to assemble and share all of the things I came across and ultimately fell in love with as I went about my days. It’s been my creative push, my inspiration and my way of asserting my individuality amongst the vast expanses of the Internet. One thought that never crossed my mind when I started blogging was to plaster my own image across my pages.
Bloggers sit Front Row at the Spring D&G show (via WWD)

I had no interest in what people thought of me; instead I wanted simply to share my findings, spotlight new talents and introduce people to things they had perhaps never seen before. As the fashion blogosphere has grown it’s become packed with new voices, talents and faces. Through its evolution it has become clear that in order to be a valid blogger one must be a visible blogger and in turn the World Wide Web has been flooded with boys and girls eager to show themselves off to the rest of the world. No longer is it just about the clothing; suddenly it’s also about a face wearing the clothing, and yet I suppose in some ways it always has been. When supermodels ruled the world their faces were just as important (if not more so) as the clothing they were modeling but the added element of worldwide exposure at the click of a button has created an entire generation of “I’m famous on the Internet” icons. Gone are the days when you pounded the pavement for modeling gigs or worked your way from the bottom of the fashion food chain. Now all it takes is a digital camera and a Blogger account to make yourself the belle du jour.

Rumi Neely (Fashion Toast) in Jalouse Magazine
Rumi Neely (Fashion Toast) in Jalouse Magazine, courtesy of Fashion Toast

What has been a pertinent trend throughout the most popular fashion blogs is the sort of self-indulgent act of getting dressed up, striking an adorable pose and writing a few witty words about what you’re wearing and what you did that day. While this is all well and good for the purposes of creative journaling, what is happening more and more is that these faces are starting to be considered the new voices in fashion. Sea of Shoes blogger Jane Aldridge recently designed a line of shoes for Urban Outfitters, Julia Frakes and Rumi Neely (of Bunny Bisous and Fashion Toast, respectively) have both been signed to Next and Tavi from Style Rookie has her own fan club of editors and stylists championing her as the next Diana Vreeland. What’s interesting about fashion is that it is one of few industries where you need virtually no education to be a star. Dressing and presenting yourself well take the place of a diploma or experience and in some cases even dressing yourself badly works, too. It’s not that any of these ladies are fashion train wrecks. They each have their unique style, yet one has to wonder if a closet full of designer labels and 1000+ Twitter followers are really all you need to climb the fashion ranks. If so, someone better tell all those kids out there schlepping as assistant stylists and marketing interns that they’re sure wasting a lot of time.

Jane Aldridge (Sea of Shoes), courtesy of Teen Vogue

Jane Aldridge (Sea of Shoes), courtesy of Teen Vogue

In no way am I knocking people being recognized for personal style. In fact dressing yourself is half the battle. However, it doesn’t ensure that you will be able to translate what you do for yourself into the ability to do it for other people. In the same vein that casually snapping a few well-lit photos doesn’t guarantee you’ll be the next Irving Penn, it takes more than just the exposure to make it to the top. While I commend these ladies for being recognized and acclaimed on their own terms, in some cases I think that instead of being taken seriously as fashion pioneers they are being used as marketing tools. Urban Outfitters could have just as well employed a young shoe designer to turn out some equal (if not perhaps better) footwear choices, but considering the attention Ms. Aldridge has been receiving lately it was a given that her name would be a major selling point. The same goes for Neely and Frakes being signed to Next. It isn’t that both girls aren’t pretty enough to be catwalkers but taking into account that Frakes writes for Paper and she and Neely have both been spotlighted by numerous fashion outlets up to now, the two come already packaged and self-marketed with no extra effort necessary. While the blogosphere is still too young for anyone to say with certainty whether it has spawned the next great reign of fashion editors, stylists, designers and writers, it is giving a lot of kids out there a voice and a place where they might not have had one before. I don’t believe that the musings of every teen or twenty-something with an addiction to The Fashion Spot and a laptop need to be heralded as the vox populi of the next generation, but as the times change, it does fashion and a lot of other industries well to keep their ears tuned to what the younger set is up to.

Julia Frakes of Bunny Bisous
Julia Frakes (Bunny Bisous), courtesy of A Shaded View on Fashion

The Internet has provided us all with unprecedented access to things we could only dream about before, but it has also created a new world where all opinions are valid and everyone’s an expert. If we were to take it just at face value one would think that all the next generation in fashion has to offer are mopey, self-styled living room pictorials and a penchant for label recognition. Yet I really do believe there are some original and powerful voices just waiting to be found. The fashion industry is undergoing some serious growing pains in light of economic struggles across the board, and while it still remains to be seen whether bloggers are just a flash in the pan or the next wave in fashion media, collectively they have proven themselves to be a powerful force. In an age where fashion has become more democratic than ever, bloggers have positioned themselves as the modern incarnation of that illusive middle ground between high fashion and real life, because prancing around in $600 shoes while being snapped away at with expensive camera equipment is real life. . . right?


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Published on 20 November 2009 |