It recently donned on me that the term ‘fashion blogger’ no longer applies to me. Yes, I blog about fashion but not in the way most established fashion bloggers do: they wear clothes. While I certainly rarely leave the house without a well-put-together outfit, I don’t care to be photographed in it. I’ve done only eight outfit posts in five and a half years and, sadly, they are some of my most popular of the 1,170 posts I’ve written. Not to harp on personal style bloggers (I like many of them), but why has the term ‘fashion blogger’ been reduced to that one particular type of a blog?
When I began blogging in 2009, the industry was in fear that bloggers’ independent voices were going to make fashion journalists obsolete. It was a silly thought, but with sharp individuals like Susanna Lau and Imran Amed, I can see why the publishing industry felt threatened. Instead, the few really clever ones immersed themselves in the industry, bridging the gap between the two. Then, somewhere along the way, personal style blogging spread through the world wide web the same way reality television spread through our living rooms. The premise is the same; the viewer is a passive voyeur.
“The true incarnation of the fashion blogger was a post-modern revision of the socialite,” wrote Danielle Meder, a Canadian blogger behind Final Fashion and established fashion illustrator. In her post “Funeral For Fashion Blogs” (and she did actually hold a funeral!) Meder expressed the same struggles with the evolution of the fashion blog: “What I did – draw and write thoughtfully about a subject that has always fascinated me – was no longer the accepted definition of fashion blogging. I changed my title on my business cards to “fashion illustrator and trend theorist” and continued to blog.”
I did the same. I changed my business card to say “writer” and I began contributing to magazines in 2010 and I kept blogging because I still needed an outlet to write things like Fashion Archives. I like spending days (or weeks!) researching and making a Couture Family Tree and geeking out over Issey Miyake. There’s also the fact that a young designer won’t necessarily get a full-page spread in the precious pages of glossy magazines, but they can take up a lot of virtual real estate on my blog — and that matters. Not that I take myself too seriously; I regularly write about shoes and lipsticks, because — hey — it’s important stuff.
When I named my blog “I’m the It Girl” in 2009, I did so as a jokey nod to Chloë Sevigny’s Sassy days and like five people in the world got the reference (silly me!). When personal style bloggers flooded the scene, I thought about changing it, thinking I’d be mistaken for one. And I was: “So do you take pictures of your outfits?” Because I’m not that girl, the girl that needs to tell you about every fashion party she went to and every outfit she wore.
Lastly, the word ‘blogger’ is tricky nowadays. A few years ago, a well-written and engaging blog post could get you a fashion feature in a magazine (it did for me). Now, because the word is synonymous with girls who wear free clothes, an editor is less likely to take you seriously if you tell them you have a fashion blog. In a weird way, my blog has both fast-tracked and hindered my career at the same time. I will always write, thus I’m a writer (with a blog).
(As I was prepping this post, I received my second P&G Beauty Awards nomination in the ‘Best Fashion Blog’ category, so I suppose there’s still appreciation for nerds like me.)