Bloggers With Influence

Aren’t you sick of hearing about which fashion bloggers are influential? Have you ever been influenced by a blogger to do anything besides vow not to make an ass of yourself?

Okay, that was a little harsh. Many fashion bloggers are stylish and level-headed. But I can’t imagine being influenced by any of them to buy the stuff they like or anything else. I can think of only two instances of being moved enough to spend money to follow a style blogger’s lead: Once I bought a nail polish that Faux Fuchsia wrote about, and once I was compelled to wear leather shorts after seeing them on Queen Michelle. (She graciously saved me from myself by sending me a pair.) This is a total of two actions (and only one purchase.)

And yet, someone believes that fashion bloggers are the way to market products. Coach believes this, and even Barneys believes this. But at least Barney’s is on record as feeling that Jane Aldridge speaks to the Barneys customer, and not a general audience.

Here’s Jane herself on the subject:

“I think the media industry is changing and bloggers are leading the change. The term ‘blogger’ doesn’t do it justice – so many of the top bloggers are trusted experts that have developed loyal fan followings.” “Fashion bloggers are a unique combination of publisher and talent. This is part of the next evolution of advertising – a more integrated approach. It’s important for both bloggers and advertisers to stay true to their brands.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t regard any blogger as a “trusted expert.” And I don’t like “integrated advertising.” I like to know when an ad is an ad. When I watch movies on TV, I still like to yell out “Product placement!” when I see the Mac laptop or the Nike running shoes.

Looking at a panel of Tavi, Brianboy, Diane Pernet, etc etc, I can’t even imagine letting them dictate what I’ll buy or wear. I look at style blogs for the pictures, and sometimes for the inadvertent comedy. I am more inspired by Elle or Vogue, because I enjoy the fantasy evoked by a gorgeous model. If I want to see average looking people wearing trendy clothes, I can go to the mall.

Here’s Jane again:

“I think our blogs are freshly personal. There are a lot of blogs out there that cover fashion, but for us it’s totally homegrown content. We’re not going to blog about Chloe Sevigny’s Opening Ceremony collection.”

What does she mean by “content?” When did content become photos of yourself? I would rather someone cover the Opening Ceremony collection, because at least that constitutes information.

I am hearing about fashion bloggers making lucrative deals with companies like J. C. Penney and Urban Outfitters, but I wonder if the investments will pay off. How many readers are so impressionable?

But wait. A new comment appeared on my post about Gala Darling. A long, heartfelt and eloquent comment that I will quote only in part…

Dear Gala,

You caught me at a very impressionable age and quickly became my idol. You told me that young girls like myself could make a living from blogging, could live a carefree life of shopping for shoes, sparkles and photoshoots and more so that that was how my life should be spent. If it wasn’t what I wanted, than I just didn’t love myself enough. If I loved myself like you loved yourself than my life too would be consumed with shopping sprees and soapbox speeches for animal cruelty whilst wearing fur.

You already know how it ends. Gala Darling betrayed the girl’s trust because Gala Darling is a brand, not a person. And her fans were consumers, not friends.

Bloggers who align themselves with products become products themselves.

Me, I have nothing to sell, but I’d still like some money. I’d like to influence my readers to see or think or feel as I do, or to want to entertain me. Anything else seems monumentally presumptuous, or like Tavi’s infamous hair-bow, absurd.

Any thoughts on this?

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82 Responses to “Bloggers With Influence”

  1. Dru Says:

    I also like Libertylondongirl- she does get a lot of stuff to review but is always up front about sponsors and getting gifted stuff, since she is a real-life fashion editor/journalist and not just a fashion blogger. It also helps that she’s funny, articulate and a good writer- a VERY rare trait on fashion blogs, and she doesn’t only write about shows and products.

  2. Sister Wolf Says:

    I should have cited Make Do Style as a “trusted expert” because she has actual expertise as a stylist, and because I trust her without reservation.

    Also, Susie B is the prototype that no one else has been able to duplicate: She just loves fashion and wants to share her discoveries, without wishing to become a “brand.”

  3. Sister Wolf Says:

    Oooh, and tonight I learned that Jane Aldridge is endorsing a shoe contest with Barneys, as well as starring in a “back to school” fashion video sponsored by JC Penny. It’s Jane’s world; we just live in it.

  4. mel Says:

    idiots.

  5. RedHeadFashionista Says:

    I don’t understand the difference between Jane and her constant bigging up of certain vintage stores and designer labels and the ‘poorer’ bloggers who talk about Opening Ceremony. She’s got a far more elevated opinion of herself as a blogger than she deserves. If she was producing coherent posts with a unique and interesting narrative that’s worthy of all the attention she gets, that’s fair enough (like Tavi, who actually writes posts), but since all she’s doing is occasionally posting pictures of her outfits…yes, bloggers are changing the narrative of the media, but it’s largely thanks to bloggers who actually put effort into their blogs, not just the wannabes who ride their coattails to Fashion Week and use personal friendships and family connections with big time editors to become important. Jane is a big deal because she’s Jane from Sea of Shoes and wears interesting clothes, not because she’s a talented and skilled blog-journalist. Her type of lazy blogging and claiming that she’s an expert cheapens the whole enterprise. Stick to shopping and sharing, and leave the hard stuff to the real experts.

  6. RedHeadFashionista Says:

    And yes, this is an amazing post and has generated some great comments. jane can’t call herself an influence since Commentgate as how could she possibly generate the kind of response you do here?

  7. Sheri Says:

    I blog because I feel like I have a lot to say and this way I can pretend I’m actually saying it to someone. (Cuts down on the muttering to myself, which irritates my family and makes people in The World look at me funny.) I can’t say I hope to influence anyone — most people have their minds made up about most things anyway — and I certainly don’t take fashion advice from people who look like their prime consideration when getting dressed is how “creative” or “unusual” they can look. My sons calls that “Trying Too Hard” and it is apparently verboten.

    I wonder if “blogging as brand” is going to take over from newspapers; do people remember those? Where people were hired based on their perceived expertise in a certain area and who wrote about said area after doing actual research and consulting actual experts. Unfortunately many bloggers don’t carry that same sense of responsibility. One could say the same about politicians, but that’s another topic entirely.

  8. HelOnWheels Says:

    “as well as starring in a “back to school” fashion video ”

    Oh, the irony! WTF does Jane know about going back to school? Did she finally graduate from high school?

    And RedHead hit the nail on the head. Beautifully written too. Another blogger I enjoy reading.

  9. sketch42 Says:

    What a complete group of morons.

  10. E Says:

    Also – in not closing comments (and ignoring the instances where slavering feckwits see fit to gift us with their maladjusted, hateful and unsavoury thoughts) – see what happens when people engage in meaningful exchanges … it’s a beautiful thing!

    Thanks Sister Wolf!

  11. sam Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqiD0KTZrKE

    you might like this sister

  12. Pretentious Bloggers Says:

    Am I the only person who thinks Susie Bubble is pretentious??? Anyone who has really taken the time to read her entries( in their entirety) will see that this girl is full of herself and her smarts.

  13. Catherine Says:

    These people need to really get over themselves. I understand lots of people are paying attention to them and giving their blogs hits but at least a fourth must be just to “hate on” and mock. Lots more in some cases.
    The ones, like Jane Aldridge, who from what I have seen only post pretty pictures of themselves in fabulous clothes who think they are giving something of value to the fashion community really bother me. Just start a tumblr and post your photos for me to look and shut up. Don’t think you’re engaging me in any way beyond that.

  14. Elena Abaroa Says:

    I just know 3 of the bloggers of the pic, Tavi, the silly boy with the glasses and Susie. I only like Susie, sometimes I like Tavi too… Who are the others? Are they famous?
    Im quite agree with you, bloggers dont have any influence on me, but not all people are like us, some people really follow them, thats why the media and the companies are using them, they make money with bloggers cause if some bloggers say “buy this” some people buy it. Its a pity but there are lemmings with no personality everywhere.

  15. marie Says:

    people follow what attracts them, as in, you are more influenced by bloggers whose style resonates with yours. Queen Michelle influences me to take apart my shit and wear things in new ways. Tavi, yes Tavi, influences me to look at a fashion collection as a whole. Sister Wolf, you influence me to think critically, and assess whether i have anything to add to a conversation – too often i don’t. and because of you, and your very smart readers, i’ve grown way self conscious about not capitalizing consistently. so yeah, influence. you have to be primed for it.

    maybe these folks don’t speak to your readers, but they must speak to someone. as for buying shit, it will take more than influence to sell me something. give me some money, and maybe i’ll buy your leggings made of pony hair.

  16. Dru Says:

    Pretentious Bloggers- you’re probably in a minority if you find even Susie pretentious. There are lots of blogs out there that don’t seem to use their writing/text component to do anything but show off how cool they are (paraphrase: “I was such a punk!”/ “I loooove The Virgin Suicides!”/ I looove Kaisik Wong!” . Subtext: “I’m cooler than you, the chump who’s reading, because I know/like this stuff”. This is not to knock punks, The Virgin Suicides, or Kaisik Wong, who really was a great designer), but Style Bubble hasn’t ever been one of those in my eyes, and I’m not sure what you mean by saying she’s full of herself. If anything, she comes across as fairly self-deprecating and doesn’t condescend to her readers.

    Also, even if she is “full of her smarts”, as you say, I wouldn’t mind a few more blogs being full of the blogger’s smarts in that manner.

  17. Joy D. Says:

    I agree with Dru. Susie started blogging at a time when no one was discussing fashion in length. She has maintained a great readership because she engages with them. Hell, she even commented on my blog a couple of times and put me on a blog roll. All that aside she is a good writer that doesn’t think of blogging as an art. But more as a business and a way to expose new ideas and concepts to people. I think that is one of the most unpretentious things you can do.

  18. hammie Says:

    I think you should start a cult called “WWSWD” It will piss all over catholicism and scientology and make us much better citizens – although Sting and that skanky photographer will have to watch out.

    I like trying stuff that bloggers I like like – and if they are getting paid to tell me they like it, it would quickly be apparent. However, if I ever start my “send me free shit and I will write about it” you must all buy the shit I write about so I get more free shit. Mmmokay?
    xx

  19. miss jackie Says:

    SW – forgive me if i’m repetitive… but did anyone notice precious gala darling (not her birth name, but legally changed in 2006… just call me princess consuela banana hammock, thanks) has an AMAZON WISH LIST?

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2J6FA30SV8OEX/

    ????????????????
    LET’S ALL JUST CHIP IN AND BUY HER THE $3000+ COUCH SHE WANTS.

    oh, okay. fine. let’s just buy her the hangers on page 3 that she needs. how ever will she hang all her priceless treasures????

  20. Emily Bleak Says:

    ^ You missed the whole section of Kabbalah/wiccan spell books for teenaged girls coupled with $200+ facial moisturizers – you’d think there would be a spell for smaller pores.

  21. Madeline Says:

    ^ Or what about the $500 in-home laser hair removal device? $100 Swarovski crystal cell phone charm? Three pairs of $70 stripper shoes? A damn Barbie decal sticker?

    To quote the about me section of her wish list, “You can totally buy my love.”

    Fourteen pages of potential love that we could receive from Gala by buying her garbage. FOURTEEN PAGES.

  22. Diana Says:

    “You can totally buy my love.” Gala Darling, go fuck yourself.

    The irony is this uneducated Paris Hilton trust fund fraud is HERSELF scammed. Gala Darling falls for expensive products that obviously don’t work, like her regime of 4000 vitamins and Bubbly Juggly anti-sag boob creams and face serums and horoscope EFT tapping sessions. It is a shame that Gala praises these shit products and misleads young girls to thinking they will fix their lives.

  23. Lady Smaggle Says:

    I think Susie Bubble is fab, I think Tavi is quite a talented little writer and I think you, Sister Wolf are fantastic.

    I read each of these sites and feel entertained and fulfilled by all of them.

    x

  24. Nat Says:

    Im bored by the majority of fashion blogs I started to read 2 years ago as they have done nothing to keep my interest or keep me reading. That is not to say they are crap as such; maybe my needs have changed and Im looking for something different. The only blogs I like to read now are LLG who doesnt just post about fashion and will rarely do “outfit” posts but is highly intelligent, informative and on the whole interesting, Sophy Robson / Wah Nails / Beauty blogs as I am interested in working in the nail industry, and our beloved SW of course. As much as I would love to say that I keep up reading KOS and Style Bubble as these were blogs I loved a year ago, I find that they have perhaps gone a little stale for me.

  25. RedHeadFashionista Says:

    @Pretentious Bloggers – I do too, but mainly because she runs rings around people like Jane who claim to be aware of brands. She knows so much about her chosen subject it scares me and she’s fully immersed in it. Naturally she’s a bit pretentious, but she is pretty good at what she does.

  26. RedHeadFashionista Says:

    @Hel awwww thanks.

  27. Aja Says:

    You know, I was just about to say “I can’t see Jane ever endorsing some stuff she wouldn’t wear herself” and then I read the comment about her JC Penny video and that thought went straight out the window! Jane, really?

  28. hokey Says:

    How about, instead of giving more airtime and pr to these blogs which clearly don’t need it (not too denigrate any of them, I’m just saying, they hardly need our praise, though some perhaps do need our pity), how about we create a list of new interesting, insightful, cleverly written, not-only-about-fashion blogs that could do with some more influence?

    I for one am a big fan of Yoruba Girl Dancing and Layers & Swathes. The latter is fashion, the former isn’t really but they’re both good reads. With your influence SW I reckon we could form a brilliant list of new pretenders/usurpers…

  29. susie_bubble Says:

    I’m catching up on SW time – I’m no longer shacked to my RSS reader and unfortunately read blogs sporadically. Huge bouts of SW do keep me firmly in check though, illustrated by posts such as these.
    First up, thanks to Dru, E, Joy.D, The Real Andrea, HelonWheels, Elena Abaroa, Joy.D, Lady Smaggle and of course Sister W for the mentions.

    As for RedHeadFashionista and Pretentious Bloggers… I can’t really write any other way, especially about fashion – if this is perceived as pretentious, so be it.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Hokey about Layers & Swathes – best new blog to come about in a while…

    I’m late to all of this but it’s an ongoing discussion that seems to pop up a lot now and it seems silly for it to be so one-sided and not to have the so-called influential bloggers speak back. I’m not going to go all-guns a-blazing with a defense mechanism because to be honest, the idea of a blog as a brand is an iffy thing. I’ll admit that I partake in projects on the back of this notion but I’m not sure I myself fully believe that it exists. Influence is such an immeasurable thing even in a world where click-throughs, impressions can be measured and goes beyond a blogger linking to a Topshop product and it racking a few sales. It can also be arbitrary on some levels too with seemingly ‘smaller’ blogs also being influential in their own ways.

    I’d like to think that readers read blogs with a pinch of salt, just like they do with all media because like it or not, blogs along with magazines, TV and radio are becoming agenderised. This isn’t a bad thing for ALL blogs (and I mean on every level from the personal ones to the ones attached to corporate media companies…). But then again, even when blogs didn’t come with an agenda, did the sheep-like reader ever exist? I’m not so sure… or at least…I hope not!

    I never claimed to be a true informant and certainly no ‘EXPERT’ and I think it’s dangerous territory to throw those words about when readers with smarts can quite easily come back and haunt you….

    Even if it’s not always consistently two-way, I’d like to think there’s an implicit understanding between readers and myself – that I’ll fuck up, get it wrong sometimes, that what I think isn’t golden, that what I do may not be right, that what I recommend won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that I’ll try to be as open as possible to let them know what the dealio is if the involvement of those bloody evil brands etc come up (sadly, I’m also getting sick of the ever-tiresome ‘This post is paid for, ISN’T IT – admit it, you WENCH!’ accusations but I’ll ALWAYS reply back with a sensible “No this isn’t…” – nothing worth getting all barmy about…!)

    God I looked so blank and deranged in that panel photo…

  30. Sister Wolf Says:

    Susie B – Hahahaha, no you don’t but sorry that photo implicates you. It’s good to hear your thoughts on this subject. And I agree with most of them. As for sheep-like readers, I think they do exist but that’s not your problem, and I’ve never seen you try to market yourself to them.

    You and your blog are kind of sui generis (if i may be pretentious enough to use Latin.) Style Bubble can’t be compared to anything else. It’s in a class of it’s own.

    And if I’m looking for pretentiousness, I’d never choose Style Bubble.

  31. Dirt Says:

    Has anyone checked out Emily from Cupcakes & Cashmere? Gitl is like a walking advertisment…she even designed a bag with Coach *gag*