blogs

Blogging with Lemon Lime & Bitters

Last night as I was doing my usual blog trawling, I was perusing the lovely Margaret Zhang’s blog, Shine by three, (check it if you haven’t, she’s aces) and came across a post she wrote regarding investment pieces and what’s worth spending your hard earned dollars on and what isn’t. Now while this was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed, it was the comments after the post that actually got my mind ticking. You see, like most big bloggers, Margaret has plenty of lovers, all sending her positive vibes and happy thoughts, but there was one commentator, who was fairly sharp in her disdain for the post. She basically said Margs should reference her position of privilege in getting free stuff and stop pretending she doesn’t use a credit card. (see the post here)Kinda harsh I thought, but it got me thinking, do we as a collective blog browsing society, really just have the lemon lime bitters towards bloggers these days and if so, why?

mz1

Margaret Zhang at MBFWA

As a blogger myself, I can see the two sides of the coin. Most people wouldn’t realise that there are many a blogger out there who don’t get paid for their posts, who don’t jump at the chance to receive free goods and more importantly, who don’t ask for them either. (Me) Seriously though, there really are these peeps out there and they fork out the money to pay for their own flights to events or fashion week and legitimately buy most of the new clothes they post. Yes, they may get show & event invites but generally, an invite doesn’t equal flights, accommodation and spending money with a cherry on top, unless you’re a particular celebrity or the highest level of fashion blogger, and we all know who these guys are. So before we get too comfortable on our soapbox, maybe we should ditch our assumptions & try to see whats really going on, because remember kids, Instagram isn’t the real world, having lots of followers is like being really rich in Monopoly, it’s not real. Which brings me to the other side of the coin, and this side is Xtina dirrrrty.

Unfortunately, the volume of less sincere bloggers seems to seriously outweigh that of the aforementioned and these guys are seriously damaging to the world of blogging. Why? Because when social media & blogging came about, the reason for it’s rapid success, was because it provided a platform for everyday people, you and me, to communicate and share our ideas, images & thoughts without motive or incentive. Amazon is the perfect example of how the peer recommendation program took off and is living poof that we peeps, prefer and trust a recommendation from a real person, a friend or someone we know as opposed to a paid advert and you know what, companies and advertisers also know that, hence the inadvertent next step, to mix advertising with blogging. It was always going to be the eventual outcome, because where there’s opportunity there’s usually a business dollar driven strategy not far behind. And thats ok, but the bigger problem is that for many, this unabashed lack of integrity is quickly turning people/readers, viewers off and thus making them bitter toward the blog world, claiming it’s nothing more than paid advertising space, which sadly isn’t that untrue. Now see all this could be avoided with some disclosure, a concept lost on many.

Is this maybe why there are some ice cold commentators out there? Possibly. Most likely. Ironically though, at the same time as the trust fading, the blogger rise to fame is continuing and reaching new heights everyday. They now face campaigns for just about anything, from clothing businesses to electronics to even car companies and it would be remiss of me to say that building a business out of your blog is a sell out, because it isn’t, it’s incredibly smart, as long as integrity remains paramount and by this I mean, ensuring that your ventures remain in the realm of what ever it was that brought you to your fame in the first place. Too quickly, bloggers can jump at the sight of gifts, payments or free things, despite a lack of meaning or relevant connection to them, hustling and bending themselves over backwards in a desperate overkill of daily instagramming, spamming their followers feeds, all in the name of ‘blogging’. We all know these people, they’re the ones shamelessly ‘loving’ & mentioning a new brand everyday without any form of disclosure, the simple little word that could change everything, because in the world of social media despite what some people think, honesty & openness is still highly valued. Now this might sound harsh, but sadly it’s these people who are taking blogging to a nasty place driven by endless endorsements and faceless two way deals, “Hey, we’ve never met but I’ve got heaps of followers, so you tell everyone how much you love my blog and I’ll tell everyone I’m dying over your style”. Um, No, it’s transparent, desperate and ruining it for readers/viewers/followers who are more interested in genuine content or the actual blogger as opposed to the products they’ve been endorsed to promote.

Now this is starting to sound a bit ranty which was definitely not my intention, so Dan, pull your head in and lets look at some pictures. Seriously though, as you can see, it’s a very two sided story when it comes to blogging, and I guess you never really know who’s being paid what or if they’re the ones actually paying, but what I do know is that for me, as soon as I get a whiff of meaningless narcissistic advertising, sorry I mean Blogging, I’ve hung up. Mentally. And hopefully increased your bounce rate. No thats just mean, I don’t really hope that, I wish you happy thoughts and leave quietly…

If you’re interested in reading more about this sort of stuff, then check out the following articles:

Fashionista – How Personal Style Bloggers are raking in Millions

News.com.au – How Fashion Blogging has become big business

Buzzfeed – Fashion Bloggers make tons of money from brands, so what?

Fashion Bloggers… Thoughts

Lets talk fash bloggers, as they appear to be multiplying before my very computer screen. They also appear to be the new authority in fashion, dictating trends and wearing the ‘must have’ pieces well before the magazines have even had time to print their upcoming issue. High street labels such as Zara and H&M have flourished even more so under the new found blogger reign, as initially, fashion bloggers came into power based on their ability to style themselves in affordable achievable pieces from local & high street stores, as opposed to Vogues offering of monthly must haves, which would usually include pieces from Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel, not to mention the amazing new $24,000 Bvulgari earrings they think we all need.

Thanks to user created content and smart phones, fashion bloggers can upload their pics, thoughts, posts and outfits quicker than you can say stylesnooperdan (shameless plug). This helps serve our (by our, I mean society) growing need for immediate information on the go and really allows for fast fashion feeds, something the magazine industry struggles to compete with. No longer is it good enough to wait 30 days between monthly fashion mag fixes, when bloggers upload daily/weekly and probably hourly thanks to instagram #ootd. Only yesterday did my icon, Zoe Foster reveal on her instagram, that within 4 minutes of seeing a picture of a bikini she liked, she had been able to google it, find it and purchase it:

@ ] zotheysay I saw this image of Rihanna posing in a Charlie by Matthew Zink swimsuit. Liked it. Googled it. Found it. Bought it. Four-minute turnaround. I’m not sure whether to be impressed or disgusted with myself.   2d
Read more at http://web.stagram.com/n/zotheysay/#EK29QpULzs8WpHoU.99

The roll on effect of this is enormous and filters right down to the economic success/decline of many retails businesses, hence their strategic decision to not fight the trend, but to embrace it and so it appears that the idea to ‘adopt a blogger’ was born.

Now the validity of fashion bloggers and their opinions, is constantly being challenged, probably because, like in any industry, there are always a few dodgy ones that give the rest a bad name. So what is a ‘dodgy blogger’ you ask? Well to me, a dodgy blogger is someone who’s popularity has led them to an unhealthy level of narcissism or someone who has blatantly sold out and has replaced their regular posts with advertisements/promotions for companies or brands that you just know have paid the blogger to do so. A dead giveaway for this type of thing, is when your blogger starts to consistently begin posts with: “Im so excited to be working with ….” or “……have invited me to try out their new…. and Im loving it” Sorry, but this makes me hang up. Mentally. I have now in one swift second gone from blog browsing to advertising.

Dont get me wrong, Im all for collaborations and supporting those who support you, but when your super stylish go to blogger suddenly takes a severe style detour to wrong town and begins to only talk about a certain C grade retailer that they have never once mentioned, let alone worn before, you know something dodgy bloggerish is going on. While this can be soul destroying (maybe slightly dramatic) I, personally, believe in giving everyone a second chance, so wait a week, then go back to that blog and see what she/he/they have posted since then and hopefully it’s something a bit more real.

In saying this, I must say that I do still love a good old recommendation from someone and generally, I will only try a new product/line/company/brand/version if it has been recommended to me by someone I consider reputable, so while this is quite the paradox, I suppose for me, I filter through the dodgy sell outs and decipher for myself, who I will be guided by. At the end of the day, I love fashion bloggers and I spend a huge amount of time on their sites gaining their content for my site, so I cant stress enough that I fully support and love love fashion bloggers, as long as they stay true to being a legit blogger and continuing to do what it is that made them popular or worth listening to in the first place. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about what I look for in a blogger, you can check it here, and without going into all that again, to me, a good fashion blogger is unique, not just a rehash of every other blogger going round and someone you can relate to. Someone with unique style and a sense of humour about it all too, because at the end of the day it’s just fashion, it’s meant to be fun, lets not let the $$ overtake everything. So now that you didn’t ask for my thoughts on fashion bloggers, there it is, so heres some food for thought, some of the biggest fashion bloggers going around…

Click on their image to head straight on over to their blogs, so in no particular order…

Angelica Blick

Angelica Blick

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The Man Repeller

Camille Over the Rainbow

Camille Over the Rainbow

Columbine

Columbine

Adenorah

Adenorah

The Fashion Guitar

The Fashion Guitar

Look de Pernille

Look de Pernille

Twinfashion

Twinfashion

Fashion Toast

Fashion Toast

Style Heroine

Style Heroine

The Black Cape

The Black Cape

Oracle Fox

Oracle Fox

The Petticoat

The Petticoat

We Wore What

We Wore What

Victoria Tornegren

Victoria Tornegren

Zanita

Zanita

Shine by three

Shine by three

Gary Pepper Vintage

Gary Pepper Vintage

Harper & Harley

Harper & Harley

Catwalk of Words

Catwalk of Words

Sincerely Jules

Sincerely Jules

Raww

Raww

What would Karl do

What would Karl do

Songs of Style

Songs of Style

4th and Bleeker

4th and Bleeker

They All Hate Us

They All Hate Us

Mija

Mija

Lellavictoria

Lellavictoria

India Rose

India Rose

All images are from the site they represent