Fashion blog

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Fashion blogs are blogs that cover the fashion industry, clothing, and personal style.

Contents

Definition

A fashion blog can cover many things such as clothing and accessories. Other topics include runway trends, fashion items, e.g. shoes, handbags, celebrity fashion and street style outfits worn by regular people.[1][2] They cover fashion at all levels from the biggest names to the smallest indie designers [2] and clothing worn by people on the street.[3]

Many fashion blogs could also be categorised as shopping blogs as "most of the conversation is shopping advice, liberally laced with consumer recommendations", and some fashion retailers have now started blogs of their own to promote their products.[4]

Blogs that occasionally mention fashion, such as many "personal diaries of teenagers", are not categorised as fashion blogs.[5]

Impact on the fashion industry

Fashion is a multi-billion-dollar industry that has considerable impact on the way ordinary people clothe themselves. As fashion is trend-driven and fashion blogs provide a new way to follow these trends, it is likely they will have a considerable long-term influence on the industry.

These are some of the things fashion journalists have said about fashion blogs and the impact they are having on the industry:

  • "These days, to have one finger on the fashion pulse, you need to have the other one on your computer mouse, reading (or writing) the latest blogs."[6]
  • "Before a designer’s runway show has even finished, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone in the audience – or better still, backstage – has recorded every silhouette, signature shoe, styling detail and sulking supermodel, then uploaded it onto the internet for style watchers across the globe to Enjoy."[6]

Number of fashion blogs

There is considerable disagreement regarding the number of fashion blogs in existence.

In a February, 2006 Women's Wear Daily article, Corcoran stated:

There is an enormous, and growing, number of fashion and shopping-related blogs: about 2 million, according to Technorati Inc., [...] or slightly less than 10 percent of the 27 million blogs the company tracks. (That number includes blogs in languages that use the Roman alphabet and that contain anything fashion-related, including sites such as Pink Is the New Blog, which focuses on celebrities.)[7]

It is likely that this figure is inflated by a substantial number of personal blogs that mention fashion. These are not considered fashion blogs using the criteria above.

All other estimates of the popularity of fashion blogs are considerably lower. In September 2005, La Ferla stated that "as little as a year ago, the number of [fashion bloggers] could be counted in the dozens. Today there are hundreds."[4] Lara Zamiatin estimated in November 2006 that there are now "several hundred fashion blogs".[8] The Style99, a ranking of influential fashion and beauty blogs is drawn from an index of more than 400 blogs, which are reviewed on a quarterly basis to ensure the content of blogs is updated on a regular basis and primarily focused on fashion or beauty. [9]

Types of fashion blogs

Fashion blogs can be categorised in a number of ways.

By writer's expertise

Fashion blogs may be written by insiders, outsiders or aspiring insiders.[1]

Insiders are people who work (or have previously worked) in the fashion industry or for the traditional fashion media. In addition, some fashion insiders blog occasionally as guest on larger sites. For example, the fashion designer Nanette Lepore has contributed to Glam.com.[7]

Outsiders are people who know a lot (or at least have strong opinions) about fashion, usually by virtue of being very dedicated consumers of fashion.

Aspiring insiders are people who want to work in the fashion industry or media and believe their blog may provide a ‘back door’ entry into a mainstream fashion writing job. Examples of people who have been employed within the fashion industry on the strength of their blogs include:

  • The Budget Fashionista, Kathryn Finney, wrote a book called "How To Be a Budget Fashionista" that was published by Ballantine Books.[7]

By ownership

Fashion blogs may be owned either by individuals or by companies.

The types of individuals running fashion blogs are listed above.

The types of companies now running fashion blogs include large mainstream media organizations and fashion retailers. Mainstream media organisations that own fashion blogs include The Times (UK), Condé Nast Publications (US), Variety (US) and the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). Fashion retailers with blogs include Bluefly, Queen of Suburbia and Splendora.[4]

By theme

Most successful fashion blogs follow a particular theme or angle. Some narrow their field to one type of fashion item e.g. shoes, handbags or denim. Some specialise in a particular price point: usually either very high-end or very budget conscious. Some cover celebrity fashion exclusively, while others cover street style. Some cover a mix of two or more of these topics. Many show the authors own personal style and asks for the readers opinion.

History

Fashion blogs are a relatively new phenomenon, so there are no detailed published accounts of their history yet.

Fashion blogs first appeared in the blogosphere prior to 2002[10] Both the number of fashion blogs and the number of media mentions of fashion blogs has grown considerably since then. Published accounts of the growing number of fashion blogs are mentioned above, and a Facteva search reveals that media articles mentioning "fashion blogs" grew from one in 2002 to over 100 in 2006.

In 2006, the commercial success and growing profile of fashion bloggers were the two main themes in coverage of fashion blogs.

In 2009, CNN wrote about a blogger, Rumi Neeley of Fashion Toast, who went from a small website to the runway for a popular label.[11]

Early fashion blogs

Fashion blogs first appeared in the blogosphere prior to 2002,[10] and at least one fashion blogger was invited to New York Fashion Week as early as September 2003;[7] a short time later, Fashiontribes.com was being seated fourth row at shows like Bill Blass. By 2008 Tina Craig and Kelly Cook of Bag Snob.com were seated second row at shows like Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta.[5]

The fashion blogs that attracted media attention in 2002 include two that are still in existence: LookOnline Daily Fashion Report and She She Me.[10]

In 2004, the first accessories blog, Manolo's Shoe Blog, was launched. While it has been stated that Manolo's Shoe Blog was the first fashion blog,[12] Manolo himself disputes this.[13] He says he read a number of fashion blogs in 2003, and these inspired him to start blogging.

Later in 2004, Michelle Madhok introduced SheFinds.com, "an online shopping publication". By 2005, the site earned $300,000 per year, although most of that revenue went towards running expenses and Madhok paid herself just $40,000 per year.[14]

Recent developments

Recent media reports state that some fashion blogs have become highly profitable, and that the influence of fashion blogs within the industry is growing. It could be said that fashion blogging is now developing from an interesting hobby, to a viable new media business.

Mainstream media acceptance of fashion blogging

Fashion blogs are increasingly becoming a part of the mainstream fashion press.

An increasing number of fashion bloggers were invited to designers' fashion shows in 2006 compared to previous years.[5] Large advertisers like H&M and Gap have bought advertising on fashion blogs,[5] and other large companies like the underwear-maker Jockey are targeting fashion blogs in their PR efforts.[4]

Many big media organizations have started fashion blogs and the best fashion bloggers are now also being offered mainstream media positions. (See above for more details.)

Fashion blogging is also now regarded as worthy of mainstream media coverage. The reference list below shows the very high caliber of media publication that have written about fashion blogs. These publications include the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Street Style blogs

Street fashion has recently made its way into the world of blogs. An increasing number of blogs now feature fashion on real people, and show how trends are applied in the street.

Commercialization of fashion blogging

Fashion blogging is rapidly becoming a highly profitable new media business, with a mixture of independent blogs and well-funded fashion blog networks competing to dominate the space.

Manolo's Shoe Blog is believed to be the most profitable independent fashion blog, "rumored to be [earning] around $700,000 a year" by 2006.[12] Manolo has confirmed he earns a six-figure salary through blogging.[15] Other commercially successful independent fashion blogs include The Budget Fashionista, which reportedly brings in $150,000 a year in revenue[16] and The Bag Snob, which "generates a six-figure income, mainly from advertising".[12] More examples of independent fashion blogs that have achieved commercial success can be found in the references listed at the end of this article.

There have also been a series of business deals have brought serious investor money into the fashion blogging space. These include:

  • October 2006: Sugar Publishing Inc. raised Series A funding from legendary venture capital firm Sequoia, to a rumored value of $5 million.[17] Sugar's small blog network includes FabSugar, a fashion blog.
  • November 2006: Glam.com raised $18.5 million in Series C venture capital from a consortium led by Duff Ackerman & Goodrich Ventures, with other investors including "Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which helped launch eBay, Accel Partners, an investor in Facebook, as well as WaldenVC and Information Capital".[18]
  • October 2007, Sugar Publishing purchased early fashion blog network Coutorture Media for an undisclosed sum.[19]

Monetization Techniques

Blogging is hard work, and few bloggers in any industry are willing to devote the kind of time and effort necessary to build and hold a significant audience without some hope of financial reward.

Bloggers like Manolo of Manolo's Shoe Blog generate enough traffic that they can monetize it directly by selling impressions to advertisers. This is rare.

Pay per click advertising placement is another monetization tactic employed by many fashion blogs. Recent advances in contextual ad placement have rendered PPC placement an increasingly attractive option.

Virtually all fashion blogs employ some form of affiliate marketing, the most straightforward being the simple product review. A Fashion Blog which successfully integrates affiliate marketing techniques within its site is FashionBeans. The writer blogs about voucher codes, sales, men's fashion collections and news but then links through to relevant men's fashion retailers using affiliate links. In addition, there is a recommended fashion section which is generated using affiliate CSV data feeds to create 1000's of product listings with up-to-date prices and deep links to the appropriate men's clothing. Affiliate networks like Commission Junction and LinkShare facilitate this process in exchange for a piece of the action - normally a commission of around 5 - 20% of the total transaction.

The proliferation of XML product data feeds has added a new twist to the affiliate marketing play. Companies like GoldenCan now aggregate product feeds from multiple affiliate networks and provide tools that make it easy for fashion blogs to expose product data to both shoppers and search spiders. Velvet Way is a good example of a site that has integrated affiliate data feeds with locally-generated product reviews.

Fashion blogs around the world

While there are tens of thousands of English-language blogs dedicated to fashion, the vast majority have little to say and even less of an audience. Identifying the most influential ones can be somewhat of a challenge.

Australia

Australian blogs that have attracted media attention are Sassybella, The Bargain Queens, Beijing Baby! and Imelda. Sassybella is an online fashion magazine that allows anyone to "find information about the latest It bags, see what It girls are wearing, as well as what's going on in the industry" with an emphasis on the latest fashion and beauty news.[8] The Bargain Queens blog is a blog "dedicated to sharing information on how to sniff out a bargain".[20] Beijing Baby! is a site dedicated to a young women's daily insights and stories on life and fashion.[8] Imelda, a blog written by Sydney public relations executive Matt Jordan, is the first Australian blog to focus on footwear.

United Kingdom

In December 2006, it was stated that "Britain still lags behind the US in developing the fashion blogosphere, but things are picking up."[12] Grant mentions Catwalk Queen as an example of a UK fashion blog.[12]. Catwalk Queen began as a personal blog by Gemma Cartwright before it was sold to Shiny Media[21]. It grew into one of the biggest UK based fashion blogs with a handful of writers blogging for it at any time.

The London fashion blog Style Bubble has also attracted media attention with her "guide to trends, designers and shopping hot spots in Britain's capital city".[8] In 2008 Susie Bubble was named among the Evening Standard's 'London's 1000 most influential' in the Fashion category. [22]

Other popular british fashion blogs include Frassy and London Rose, which both stand out due to the bloggers' unique styles. Frassy wears eccentric vintage combos, while London Rose dresses in a glam-grunge/rock style.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Corcoran, Cate T. Blogging for bags, "Women's Wear Daily", October 23, 2006.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Weil, Jennifer with contributions from Corcoran, Cate T. and Moir, Jane. In their sites, "Women's Wear Daily", June 29, 2006.
  3. Newman, Andrew Adam. "What's That Label? Why, It's a Mongo", The New York Times, April 23, 2006. Accessed November 24, 2006.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 La Ferla, Ruth. "Online, Feisty Critics", The New York Times, September 8, 2005. Accessed November 24, 2006.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Dodes, Rachel. "Bloggers get under the tent", The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2006. Accessed November 18, 2006.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kay, Karen. The fashion blog stars, "Daily Mail", January 15, 2007. Accessed January 22, 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Corcoran, Cate T. The blogs that took over the tents, "Women's Wear Daily", February 6, 2006.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Zamiatin, Lara. Let slip the blogs of wore, "Sydney Morning Herald", July 27, 2006. Accessed November 24, 2006.
  9. Style99: The 99 Most Influential Fashion and Beauty Blogs, "Signature9", September 1, 2009. Accessed January 24, 2010.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Sinclair, Jenny. Fashion blogs, "The Age", October 17, 2002. Accessed November 18, 2006.
  11. CNN MONEY: A fashion blog leads to the Paris runway http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/22/smallbusiness/fashion_bloggers_go_into_business.smb/index.htm
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Grant, Linda. Trade secrets, "U.K. Vogue", December 2006.
  13. Manolo the Shoe Blogger "Manolo the First Fashion Blogger?", Manolo's Shoe Blog, December 5, 2005. Accessed October 13, 2007.
  14. Tahmincioglu, Eve. When the Boss Is Last in Line for a Paycheck, The New York Times, March 22, 2007. Accessed May 29, 2008.
  15. Rowse, Darren. "Six Figure Blogger Interview - Manolo from ShoeBlogs", ProBlogger.net, September 23, 2005. Accessed October 13, 2007.
  16. "13 Questions for a Fashion Blogger - Kathryn Finney", New York Daily News, October 17, 2007.
  17. Arrington, Michael. "Sequoia Invests in Blog Network Sugar Publishing", TechCrunch, October 16, 2006. Accessed October 13, 2007.
  18. Schachter, Ken. "Glam Media Fashionistas Get $18.5M", Red Herring, 14 December, 2006. Accessed October 13, 2007.
  19. McCarthy, Caroline. "Sugar's shopping spree goes on with Coutorture buy", CNET news.com, October 9, 2007. Accessed October 13, 2007.
  20. Sansom, Marie. "Sara just loves a bargain", Inner West Weekly, November 8, 2006. Accessed October 13, 2007.
  21. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/the-online-fashion-100-1663809.html?action=Popup&ino=33
  22. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/influentials08/article-23562665-details/Fashion/article.do?ICO=influentials
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