Why Fashion Blogging Isn’t Dead Yet
This month the fashion blogging world has been all in a kerfuffle over rumours that no one wants to read fashion blogs any more, so we all need to pack up our red lipsticks, our sock buns and our Starbucks cups, and find another niche to occupy.
Most of this hand-wringing has been prompted by BlogHer’s recent study of women in social media, specifically this section of it:
So, according to this, of the women surveyed, only 52% read blogs for ‘style tips’, and we should all start posting recipes instead, because that’s what the people want, and by God, we will give it to them!
Actually, I should probably just give up altogether, because I don’t post style tips (I don’t count photos of my outfits as ‘style tips’) OR recipes, and according to the infographic, ZERO PERCENT of the women surveyed said they were looking for the ramblings of a redhead who commits random acts of stupidity on a regular basis. OH NOES!
As you can probably tell, I’m taking this news with a huge pinch of salt, because, as far as I can tell, the proclamations that “no one cares” about outfit posts are based on a mis-reading of this survey. The survey asks specifically about “useful info”, which, for fashion bloggers would translate to “style tips”. Most of us, however, don’t actually post “style tips”. In fact, most of us aren’t actually “fashion bloggers” at all – or not in the true sense of the word, anyway.
The fact is, most of the bloggers I know who’d be classed as “fashion bloggers” would be better described as “personal style” or “shopping” bloggers. (I don’t mean that as an insult, by the way: I put myself in that category, and those are the kind of blogs I like to read, too…) I, for instance, have pretty much zero interest in “fashion” in the true sense of the word. I have a rough idea of what the current trends are, because I write about clothing every day, but I don’t follow those trends, and I don’t care if what I’m wearing is “fashionable” or not. If I like it, I’ll wear it: if it happens to be in fashion, that’s great, but I honestly don’t care.
Most of the bloggers I follow are the same: they’re not providing ‘style tips’ or in-depth analysis of the fashion industry. They are not experts or insiders: they’re regular women, saying, “Hey, here’s what I wore today.” The BlogHer survey doesn’t seem to have a category for that: it doesn’t ask what people read for entertainment, or for inspiration, or because they’re just plain nosey, and like seeing what other people are buying. Which, let’s face it, is probably why most of us read fashion blogs.
The confusion in name isn’t really the fault of the so-called “fashion” bloggers, either (Which is why it annoys me a bit when I see people being all, “OMG, she calls herself a fashion blogger, but I bet she’s never even heard of <insert obscure designer >”. I think it’s a fairly natural thing, which you find in the “real” world, too. For many people (particularly people who don’t work in the industry), “fashion” is simply the word they use to refer to anything related to clothes, shoes or shopping.
“Oh, that Amber, she loves her fashion!” people say, when confronted with the bulging clothes rails in my dressing room. I don’t, actually – as I said, I honestly don’t find fashion trends particularly interesting: I don’t watch the shows, I don’t go to fashion week, I don’t worry about whether I’m “on trend or not”. I like clothes. And, you know, shopping. Clothes I can talk about all day. Fashion, not so much. But “fashion” is the word that people tend to use to describe the kinds of things I’m interested in, and that’s why people like me describe ourselves as “fashion bloggers”. It’s not because we have visions of being the next Anna Wintour, or because we want to trick you into thinking we’re industry experts – it’s because when people hit up Google to search for bloggers who take photos of their outfits, “fashion blog” is the term they type into the search bar.
Is THAT kind of fashion blogging – or, you know what, let’s call it “outfit blogging”, huh? – dying, then? Well, probably not. It’s true that there are definitely trends in blogging, just as there are with everything else in life, and over the last year or so, there’s been a noticeable shift away from “pure” outfit blogging, with more and more bloggers choosing to start incorporating some lifestyle elements into their content, too. That’s the great thing about blogs: they can do that. If a particular subject isn’t working as well as it used to, they can shift focus slightly, or even change direction altogether.
So while I don’t really forsee a time when people are all of a sudden no longer interested in clothes, or in shopping, I do think we might to see a little more diversification from outfit bloggers – and that might not necessarily be a bad thing. Or I guess it might, depending on your point of view: I know some people get quite upset when their favourite blog changes, but personally I think it’s a good idea not to stick too rigidly to a particular niche, and to give yourself room to grow and change, if need be. Fashion blogging might not be dead yet, but there’s a chance that one day you might get tired of taking photos of your outfits, and want to write about something different: so this week’s blogging tip is to be prepared to change and adapt if you need/want to, and don’t get too caught up in the idea that you MUST stick to only one topic.
What do you think? Is fashion blogging dead?