By Stephanie Huang '16 This week, I am responding to a fashion article on BuzzFeed titled “Why the Era of Personal Style Blogs Must Come to an End.” Personal style blogging is a form of fashion blogging in which bloggers showcase their own style on a photo blog. This is where it starts to get sticky: I am a personal style blogger. Obviously, it’s somewhat obligatory for me to defend the role of personal style bloggers, or the past two years of blogging I have done would have be, essentially, pointless. So, here is my response to BuzzFeed’s claim that: “People who want lasting careers in fashion media won’t find it by simply inviting the world to ogle their clothes.”
BuzzFeed writer Amy Odell goes as far to call personal style blogging “shameless preening.” Yes, I guess it does seem a bit narcissistic to post photos of oneself, but it does happen to be the most convenient way to share your style by snapping what you’re wearing on the day you’re wearing it. Odell reduces this blog form to “photos of one person wearing clothes.” She seems to see top personal style bloggers as undeserving of the fame and credit that they have acquired.
Yet despite her disdain for personal style bloggers, Odell makes some vital points about the increasingly “fierce competition” among the fashion industry, and the possibility for personal style bloggers to lose their footing among the hierarchy if they don’t introduce any variety other than photos of themselves to the mix. In response to this, I say: yes, fashion blogs have become incredibly monotonous, and it would be refreshing to see something new on blogs as well as creative efforts placed elsewhere. I, too, admit that my own blog lacks the variety of content and photography that it would have in an ideal world with more time.
It is true that there are, in fact, a smattering of bloggers who are trying to become professional full-time bloggers, relying on blogging as their primary source of income and aspiring to make the annual half million that the crème de la crème of the blogosphere make, like Chiara of The Blonde Salad. As for these bloggers, I do agree with Odell that the bar must be raised higher for them to stand out and make something of themselves. Such bloggers should also reexamine their true motives in blogging—is it a means to get to an end, or are they enjoying the process itself?
Odell misses a step in assuming that all bloggers are like the aforementioned with career-seeking ambition. I, like many bloggers, am a full-time student, and have a life other than fashion blogging. Fashion blogging is not my career, and I have never intended to let my future career stem from the roots of my blog. Odell’s entire article rests on the premise that personal style bloggers are trying to make something of themselves in the fashion world, but she neglects to embrace the fact that some people just blog because they love it, because they want to. There is so much love in the blogosphere and the community it encompasses, and blogging allows for people to share their sense of style as a means of expressing themselves.
By overlooking these reasons for blogging, Odell creates an extremely cynical representation of bloggers, and portrays them as grubby people who are simply in it for the collaborations, the fame, the career, and the money. But there’s more to blogging than that; it is a pastime, a passion, an escape, and a refuge—so why does it matter if these bloggers don’t have a lasting career in fashion? Who ever said they wanted to?