Thirteen year old Tavi Gevinson from Chicago created a blog from her bedroom at the age of only eleven.
Her young age raised suspicions that her blog had been fabricated by fashion insiders as a PR stunt.
But her fashion insight, personal opinions and the maturity of her writing skills have projected her into illustriousness, earning her over 50,000 committed readers and invitations to the most exclusive fashion shows as well as mountains of free designer clothes.
Tavi now has global fame and was even labelled as a ‘Voguista’, a unique, global style icon, by VOGUE Italia.
These days, any individual with internet access and a penchant for fashion cannot be unaware of the flood of independent fashion bloggers. The most influential among them are even reaching almost-celebrity status.
London-based British blogger ‘Susie Bubble’, writer of independent fashion blog Style Bubble, claims that her writing is ‘personal’, ‘self-indulgent’ and that she is by no means a fashion expert or insider.
This was when creating her blog in 2006.
She now posts three times a day for her 10,000 daily followers, and in the past four years has been personally invited to events held by both Gucci and Chanel.
Style Bubble has been picked up as a fashion media outlet. But what is it that makes fashion blogs so popular?
Pitted against the prestige, experience and know-how of high fashion magazines such as VOGUE and ELLE, why is the fashion world so widely fascinated and influenced by these individuals with no qualifications, just a computer and an opinion?
Answer: The internet is a much faster medium than print. A blog post can be written and posted in a matter of minutes; a print magazine usually releases one edition per month.
Karen Kay of the Daily Mail described how someone in the audience can record every minor detail of a runway show and upload it onto the internet for style watchers across the globe to enjoy, all before the show has even finished. A few years ago, trends moved slowly around the globe; America was two seasons behind the UK.
High fashion to high street
Today, trends are far more global and there is less of a delay between high fashion and high street trends. Blogging is a way for people to keep abreast of the fashion world without the monthly anticipation of a brand new glossy. Top players in the fashion journalism world ELLE, VOGUE and HARPERS BAZAAR now all showcase their own blogs as part of their websites, usually consisting of smaller feature and news stories than those appearing in the print issues; sheer proof that blogs are now a significant component of fashion journalism.
Blogs have also made the fashion world more accessible by providing us with a viable and current awareness of the industry without having to pay for the more prestigious, and therefore more expensive, print titles.
The writing tends to go unedited; most blogs are the work of one individual with no editor to supervise and its main critics are its audience, who are active in commenting on features, giving feedback and expressing their own views.
Most of the opinions and reports posted by fashion bloggers are raw and honest with far less PR involvement than print titles. This is not to say however that the fashion blogging world remains promotion- and persuasion-free.
The relationship between designers and fashion bloggers is almost parallel to that between PROs and journalists. The biggest designers will vie for a mention in the most influential and widely-read blogs for publicity and promotion therefore striving to maintain positive communication with bloggers. It is not unusual for bloggers to be invited to fashion shows or to review pieces they have been sent for free from designers.
Not dead yet
So will we see the death of the glossy magazine culture? Not while Vogue UK manages to maintain a circulation of over 850,000.
Although bloggers have a right to their own opinions, designers and the fashion print media will continue to make the running in broadcasting the latest trends. This will continue giving fashion bloggers food for thought; providing inspiration for opinionated blog posts.
Browsing Google Reader will never quench the thirst of fashion followers in the same way as flicking through a brand new, shiny copy of Harper’s Bazaar and critiquing every image and sentence.
Print media provides us with higher quality writing, more acclaimed and innovative photography, more pioneering ideas and more in-depth and exclusive interviews and features.
Expect a growth in fashion blogging and a bigger dependency on the fashion blogosphere, but for the foreseeable future, print titles are here to stay.