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Fashion Blogging Awareness and Importance

BA (Hons) Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design DD3000 Contextual Studies - Design Futures Jade Storey
by

Jade Storey

on 1 November 2012

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Transcript of Fashion Blogging Awareness and Importance

Fashion Blogger Awareness
and Importance Dissertation by Jade Storey 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 interviewees; Chiara Ferragni and Amy Faith for being so inspirational and persevering with my copious amount of questions.

Acknowledgements 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 have used fashion bloggers as a personable form of promoting their products. 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.

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 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 this downloadable digital Prezi presentation.
History Of Blogging Fashion blogs are a relatively new phenomenon, so there are no detailed published accounts of their history yet. (Fashion blog, 2006)
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.
Here is a guide to Fashion Blogging’s most significant events:
1998 2004 2002 Justin Hall starts online. New York Times Magazine referred to him as "the founding father of personal blogging." Gawker is born igniting
the gossip-blog boom 'Blog' is added to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster declares Blog the “Word of the Year.” 2006 Style Bubble is born. "I'm going to be offering what I have now termed my fashion." - Susie Lau Tumblr is born. In its first two weeks it secures 75,000 Tumblr accounts. 2007 Lookblook.Nu is born. LOOKBOOK.nu, a fashion, youth culture, and community website, created by Yuri Lee in San Francisco 2008 2009 2012 2010 TheBlondeSalad is born. Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni launches her largely popular international blog TheBlondeSalad, 2 years later she went on to win 'Newcomer of the Year' at the Bloglovin Awards. Fashiolista launches. Fashiolista is a blogger loved online platform for fashion inspiration. The Blogger style is named a trend for for spring and carries on through the colder seasons. WordPress Blogger Blogging Platforms Tumblr 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.
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 - 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.
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.
Blogger - 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.
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.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website, owned and operated by Tumblr, Inc. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users' blogs, as well as make their blogs private, Much of the website's features are accessed from the "dashboard" interface, where the option to post content and posts of followed blogs appear.

Tumblr is my choice of blogging platform and I have been using it since 2007.
What is a Fashion Blogger? 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/). 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. 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. 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. The 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".

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."
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."
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”.
The Future of
Fashion Blogging When you contemplate of 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 so when more people eventually become aware of fashion bloggers, does this mean that magazines will become old fashioned?
Kate Lanphear, the style director of US Elle doesn’t think so, she says “I think that blogging is just a fresh perspective,” 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.

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.”
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.
Susie Bubble of www.stylebubble.co.uk says “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.”
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. Conclusion Design Solution 1 Design Solution 2 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.

The pros of fashion blogging completely outnumber the cons with the only problem being is that people, in general, are just not aware of it. This is something I aim to change.

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. Although internet sales rise every year, there are still so many people who will only buy in store, Mary Portas is a strong, recognisable voice in the retail industry and she says “I want to see all our High Streets bustling with people, services, and jobs. They should be vibrant places that people choose to visit. They should be destinations. Anything less is a wasted opportunity” . With that in mind, it makes sense to give shoppers the opportunity to access fashion blogs where they buy the clothes, in an alluring way; This could be in the form of scannable barcodes or images through an image recognition app (such as Blippar), digital screens, interactive tablets in store or possibly a digital element along the window line.
An idea is that any shopper could scan the piece of clothing of their choice, their phone would then redirect them to a variety of images online that fashion bloggers have posted. This would demonstrate how that item of clothing could be worn in different ways thus inspiring the shopper and giving them more of an incentive to buy.
The fashion blogger’s way of life includes; Style, events, luxury and travel. I have also noticed when they are not blogging about fashion shows or their style picks, they will post photographs of interesting food they’ve encountered on their travels.
By taking their lifestyle as literal inspiration, another way to enhance awareness would be to create a kind of pop up store, where shoppers could come in, get style advice and be able to access fashion blogs in store. This would also give them a taste of a fashion bloggers lifestyle without them knowing it.
The style aspect would come from the fashion blogs themselves. Guests would have the opportunity to browse a variety of blogs whilst they are in the store, on their choice of digital platforms, for example; wireless internet for shoppers to access on their own digital devices (smartphones, laptops or tablets) would be provided in store, interactive tablets would also be provided as well as digital screens.
Events could be held with possibly stylists, bloggers or brands coming in and giving tutorials and style advice on the latest trends or how to enhance your personal style.
The pop up store would have to feel luxurious; desirable fabrics, ambient lighting and stylish furniture would emphasise the anticipated mood.
Travel would come into this concept easily. The pop up store could relocate every couple of weeks. By bringing the store to various locations it would obviously reach out to people who wouldn’t normally be given this kind of opportunity and experience.
Fashion Bloggers need to look good in the clothes they are promoting, so they constantly eat well but experiment with interesting ways of doing so. As a bit of a special extra, a smoothie bar or something a bit quirky promoting healthy eating would attract people to come in and relax while they browse the blogs.
I can see how both of these concepts would work individually or they could be combined to create a kind of fashion blogger takeover. They could be advertised as events themselves to entice people and persuade them to investigate while the opportunity is there.
Fashion Blogging is both interesting and important, not only to the brands that provide the clothing, but to the public too. It can promote a healthy lifestyle and broaden the public’s perspective on personal style and individuality, whilst avoiding controversy. Fashion bloggers prove that it is okay to be yourself and they have become a personal inspiration of mine. MAGAZINES FASHION BLOGS VS Thank you for viewing
this presentation... Please feel free to contact me at jadestorey@live.co.uk, any questions are welcomed.

You can also visit my blog that I run in sync with this dissertation:
www.soul-cakes.tumblr.com
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