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. Alicia Says:

    I think blogging is becoming more and more of an advertising niche and that bothers me. A lot. I thought this was supposed to be about bringing points of view to the people on the other side of the screen. Forming e-relationships and shit.

    When I see a company purposely tapping bloggers for the sake of reaching a market they’ve already saturated with ads in every other type of media, I can only throw up my hands and wonder if what is being sold is of any reputable quality. When I see dedicated blog posts to a brand that has sponsored a blogger, I don’t know if I can trust what they’re saying (and I’m using those words very loosely since I don’t know a great deal of these people from a can of paint). The writing doesn’t come off as authentic or genuine…and if a blog isn’t that, then what’s the point?

    Then again, I’m probably just hating that I don’t get free shit.

    Eh well.

  2. Nicole Says:

    What a fantastic post…I feel like the particular age that I am and being introduced to the “internet” when I was (I was 15 and it was 1996..you do the math) that it’s left me in the strange position of remembering a time when community was something you created, not on an abstract level, but something tangible. Something that wasn’t so fleeting.
    It’s difficult relating to people 10+ years younger than I am because everything they’ve experienced is so instantaneous and seemingly effortless..I can’t help but wax nostalgic on making zines..xeroxing, cutting, taping, typing on a typewriter, not editing for an audience.
    I don’t fault younger kids and their experiences, but I suppose I was just raised with a different mentality and a focus on work ethic…a lot of this just seems too easy…free clothes from sponsors/designers, etc.
    It does lend itself to mistrust because that’s a completely rationale viewpoint..why trust a person when they’re obligated to promote the item?
    Maybe my pessimism is showing, but the real reason why bloggers are “influencial” is because they represent cheap advertising and have audiences that DO buy the products because they are lazy, uncreative, and an easy led herd.*
    *This is not the case with every blog reader..obviously.

  3. TheShoeGirl Says:

    Great post!
    Well Sister… You’re an influential blogger as far as I’m concerned. I’ve told you before but I’ll say again that you’ve made me sort of check myself quite a few times. Whenever I feel like I may be too much of a douche I like to ask W.W.S.W.D?
    What Would Sister Wolf Do? haha ;)

  4. Diana Says:

    hear hear, Sister Wolf.
    I turned on Gala Darling when her blog turned into one big advertisement. I can’t begrudge bloggers for making money but I think there are ways to do it without degrading the blog quality and turning readers off.

    Gala Darling as people mentioned is lazy and doesn’t care about her readers. She now posts almost nothing but ads and filler, like 1 Flickr photo.

    I hope you continue the comments for Gala section, Sister. Her readers are angry with her, see the comments in the Make Me Over post:
    http://www.facebook.com/xogaladarling?v=wall&ref=ts

    They complain about the trust fund fraud recommending expensive shit that she got for free. “The make-up is nice and all, but a lot of it is way, WAY out of my price range (and I’m guessing a lot of your other readers too). It’d be nice to see a few budget buys on the site now and again given our recession-y times. Or just some stuff to do that doesn’t involve massive budgets (the spas, hotels, make-up etc on the site recently are kind of difficult to relate to :-/ )”

    Can’t help but agree.

  5. Taylor Says:

    Sidenote: I actually thought Chloe’s Opening Ceremony collection was one of the best celebrity clothing lines. I would have bought all the shoes, had I the means.

    What I cannot imagine, however, is purchasing ANYTHING from J.C. Penney. No matter how “covetable” the item is, I couldn’t buy it because it is from FUCKING J.C. PENNEY. It’s like how you have mentioned Haute Hippie before. Or how I couldn’t buy a Dooney & Bourke bag because of the mental footnote I have made about all Dooney and Bourke bags.

  6. Cybill Says:

    I have bought something recommended by Deja Pseu of http://www.unefemme.net/, also I have shopped following instruction from Kate of http://makedostyle.blogspot.com/. Oh god and I’ve bought stuff that Super Kawaii Mama recommends too – I am so easily led. I am waiting now for a WWSWD t-shirt – thanks to Shoegal.

  7. Denise (denisekatipunera) Says:

    AMEN!

    Am happy for these bloggers success. Especially for Bryanboy. He started his blog not knowing where it will lead him, not expecting anything. He’s funny and gay, I love him.

    Some of these “influential” bloggers, I just don’t get. Maybe am not their market.

    And puhleaseeee non of them are expert. Jane’s just blabbing.

    Now newbie bloggers wants the same for them too. The fame, the seat on shows, the mentions. It’s not bad at all. But I think it’s not meant for everyone. Now blogging is the stepping stone for fashion career. I can’t believe I just said that, but it’s true, it’s crazy. They wanna be seen on every event.

    For me blogging is just a hobby. Means of expression. Hoping someone would read you. But never serve as inspiration. Something not to be taken seriously. There’s more to life than blogging.

    Well maybe if you have a case of self delusion, sure you wanna be an inspiration.

  8. Faux Fuchsia Says:

    Hello, was it OPI’s Jade is the New Black from the Hong Kong colours?

    That was a very attractive polish.

  9. Denise (denisekatipunera) Says:

    ps,

    btw i love the photo above. Makes me laugh. I wonder what goes into their minds while they’re up there looking down at their audience.

    Tavi girl is fierce. Am really following her. Not what she writes, because it’s always sooooo long. But am following her. I wanna know what’s for her 3 years from now.

  10. enna. Says:

    I think I agree with Alicia, that blogging has become more of an advertising niche than anything else. (Which is really sad.) I’ve stopped reading most fashion blogs lately, because they’re either incessant “what I wore” posts, or have the same ~content (often PR related) that many other blogs are posting.

    Once the novelty of blogging wears off, I think a lot of the blogger/retailer/brand relationships will lag. Right now blogs are the New Thing for fashion to chase…it’ll be interesting to see if they (we?) can carve a legitimate niche in the industry. And it’ll take more than merely latching onto marketing proposals to do that.

    Part of the reason I started following you, Sister, is that you don’t pander to the hype and the marketing, and actually dare to have an opinion that differs from the status quo. You bring your brain to fashion, and actually say something intelligent and new, when most blogs (and most magazines, too) don’t.

    At times I’ve thought of following Gala and her friend Nubby Twiglet’s advice about branding oneself, but then I realize that if I do that, everything I do has to “enhance my brand.” I can’t just live my life–I have to live my brand. And even if I’m the one creating my brand, I don’t want to be constrained by that. Too much work.

  11. Sister Wolf Says:

    Cybill – Well, of course I’m going to be selling the WWSWD but that’s NOT marketing, that’s just, whatever.

    Faux Fuchsia – It was the Chanel Particular (sp?) and it’s my only Chanel nail polish. Jade was one we both bought simultaneously, because of our unerring taste.

  12. Faux Fuchsia Says:

    That Chanel Particuliere was very nice too.

    It was the exact colour of wet cement. Or a baby elephant.

    But it really polarised people-they either loved it or hated it.

  13. Romeo Says:

    Please tell me that an infamous hair bow is a bow made of hair.

  14. enna. Says:

    Romeo– It’s not, unfortunately. That was Gaga’s shtick. Tavi’s hat was made of feathers, I think.

  15. Christina Lindsay Says:

    Dear Sister Wolf, I have discovered your blog through Kate at Make Do Style and like it very much.

    I wish anyone well who makes money from blogging but I think a lot of people are quite deluded. It’s unlikely to become a career for 99% of them and fashion really doesn’t pay. I work freelance and blog for fun.

    I have to admit I didn’t know who Gala Darling is! I’ve just checked out her blog which has a huge amount of product placement on it. I’d much rather read yours. Have a fabulous day xx

  16. Sister Wolf Says:

    Faux Fuchsia – If they hate it, they are wrong.

    Romeo – So, How many of the WWSWD t-shirts will you be ordering?

    Christina – I’m still not sure what the deal is with Gala Darling. She seems like a Paris Hilton with more ambition and less charm. I don’t think I get her.

  17. Dru Says:

    I think turning yourself into a “brand” via blog tends to cause a deterioration in the quality of content on the blog- Gala whatserface is a prime example of just that, with her nauseating self-help cliches combined with even more nauseating amounts of product placement. Anyone who believes her spiel now is just being had, if you don’t mind my saying so.

    In terms of “influence”, I’d definitely say Susie Bubble is hugely influential in my eyes, as is Queen Michelle- but their influence is more over the way I think about fashion, and that doesn’t always lead to buying stuff. Same with some smaller fashion blogs that Barney’s would never even deign to look at, never mind cite as an “authority”, but caused me to read more about it and look at fashion critically rather than just going “oh this is amaaaaazing, I waaant!”
    I mean, Faux Fuchsia might not inspire me into buying nail polish, but I do catch myself thinking things are 11/10 all the time now. That’s influential, I’d say. “Influential” in advertiser-speak only means “can be used to sell stuff”.

  18. Dru Says:

    And here’s another thing- Style Bubble remains one of my favourite blogs even after four and a half years not because Susie has great clothes or insider access to fashion, but because she’s remained Susie through all this (at least, from what I can tell, being only a blog reader and all)- not bought into her own hype and decided to start living as a cloudcuckoolander.

    The same goes for any blog I love- we create personas for ourselves online, but if your real-life self gets taken over by it, it’s not pretty to watch.

  19. mia Says:

    when I first started getting into fashion a few years ago, and blogs at the same time – they were a fun and refreshing distraction from the acres of paper I had to wade through in academia. It was light-hearted, creative eye candy, from other people who seemed to view their blogs in the same way – as cheerful distractions from the daily grind. But I am so uncomfortable with how they have been co-opted into being a marketing tool, and more uncomfortable with how happy many of those same authors I once admired are to go along with the demands of this machine of consumption. I find the idea of conferences and seminars of bloggers patting each other’s backs on how ‘influential’ they all are really absurd. Yes, blogs should be used as a medium of self-expression, experimentation and creative thought, and some of them have put a lot of time and thought into what they do, but there’s no need to put them on a pedestal! New Yorker features (I really wanted to pull my teeth out with a pair of pliers at that one), designers collabs etc – urgh! And Jane’s comments really exemplify this madness – what the bollocks is she on about?? Her words make no sense whatsover and illustrate how naively some of them are approaching this brave new world. But I have a morbid sense of admiration at how well the media and businesses have suckered these guys in.

    I now work in photography and the whole debacle reminds me of something a military photojournalist told me – about how anyone with a camera phone can call themselves a photographer, nevermind the years of skill, experience and investment a pro might have. Democratisation is a good thing, but not when it cheapens and devalues the efforts of those who have worked hard to develop their skills.

  20. Brie Says:

    Ahhh Sister Wolf, you are an influence…you make people stop and think about what they are reading and viewing in blogs and online/in the world. You make fun of things when they need to be made fun of. You say what almost everyone is secretly thinking but afraid to say for fear of being ‘mean’.

    I like that about you and the fact you are not afraid to call a spade a spade is an influence.

  21. Make Do Style Says:

    Pitch Perfect!

  22. ellio100 Says:

    Some blogs have definitely influenced me, I think because they are the ones that have their own voice and character. When I first read White Lightning it was lively and accessible and even though I’d been reading blogs for a few months, it was that voice that set me off. I’ve bought stuff on recommendations – most memorably a mad leather mask after Queen Michelle…

    Personally although I blog, I don’t want to use it to chase freebies. I’ve noticed a few fairly mid-size blogs have started getting invites and freebies from high street shops and whilst that’s cool if it’s what you’re really into, often it seems a bit middle-of-the-road. I’m into blogging for the chat – I’d rather get a bunch of interesting comments than a voucher for a high street chain.

    I was a little surprised to discover that recently a bunch of bloggers got together to get kind of corporate… I can see why they’d like to get paid for their ‘content’, but to me personal style blogs are nice if they’re personal and a hobby. To be honest, I think it was Charlie Brooker who pointed out that as soon as something gets called ‘content’ a piece of it dies.

    Blogs used to give me something different than magazines. The best ones still do.

  23. Anon Says:

    Fashion blogs are narcissistic and most fashion bloggers are fashion victims who *must* chase after the latest looks on the runway, slavishly copying and flaunting their excitement and devotion, including those featured in this “influence conference” even those cited here as favorites. This vacuous devotion and worship is a bit sick, imo, and I wonder if their legions of fans are likewise imitating their “lifestyle” of spending their days putting together trendy outfits, combing sample sales, eBay, etc. I much prefer street photography or those who put out their own content and creations as inspiration. Perhaps being witness to increasing economic woes experienced by many around me, not to mention ongoing wars and disasters, is putting me off this sort of total fashion consumption. I used to find bloggers fresh and fun, but this comes across as too self-indulgent

  24. Nikki Says:

    There are so many reasons regarding why people blog and/or why people read them. Leaving aside those who simply enjoy writing about their interests, regardless of outcome (gifts in the mail, mass readers, positive comments aplenty), in some respects I see what you’ve addressed as a multi-laned passageway of mutual usage. Clever advertisers whose interests are only to covet our hard earned dollars, remain quietly in the background after baiting younger bloggers to tout their products. They hand-feed the disillusionment of being in a position of power, offering gifts as a way of wooing them into spreading their word. Fashion advertisers are cunning puppet masters… spread their agenda, give them your money & everyone else‘s you can manage to convince to do the same. Particularly in the age range in which many of the fashion bloggers seem to reside, these new friends bearing gifts are their best friends. The promise of more, more, more… well, what kids don’t gleam when given a shiny new bike or the hottest blah-pod to wow their friends. I’d imagine in some cases, if it also has the dual affect of giving one who strives to fit in recognition for harboring inside knowledge of some sort or the latest news on the current trends, rather than standing out as a fashion malcontent, geek, nerd or misfit in the school or neighborhood corridors, then a sigh of relief is taken & once again, the who’s fooling who game has gone full-circle. For such a person, the bit of attention from a now-hot blog has bought one more day of feeling important & given the illusion of elevated stature. Now instead of only wanting to fit in, this youngster feels a leader, perhaps for the first time.

    Coin flip is the transparently blatant begging I’ve seen, particularly on blogs written by women who are far passed their 20’s, which is sly, purposeful & crashingly boring. Oft times their posts merely offer a concise portfolio of a particular line’s fashion ads/runway pics with “I must have that/these/it to feel complete!” headline… some followed with interesting, well written prose… many not.

    Those under a certain age without parental supervision must be given a pass in some respects… they are momentarily basking in the facade of adulation they believe the conglomerates are bestowing upon them… they revel in the glowing words from the many anonymous net-ships they’ve cultivated over many months… they’re kids. It’s the cunning adults I feel a bit more distrust towards, as they’re in full control of knowing how they’re manipulating their audience & simultaneously willing participants in being beggars & choosers… write a post about the ABC fashion show & receive a shiny new box in the mail Tuesday next.

    Advertisers will always search out new ways to wrangle our wallets away from us. It seems some fashion bloggers have found a new avenue to fill their closets. Since our world is commerce driven, either both are to blame or perhaps that statement is being hard on those who’ve simply found a different path to get what each desires, for low cost & scant effort. If one wants a new, free tattoo, write a blog about a well-known tattoo artist/s & post lots of pics which flatter his/her life & work… need new kitchen gadgets, write a blog about Whirlpool & Hotpoint & many posts on how condo owners shouldn’t possibly live without them.

    I’ve never been catagorized as a follower, but this concept may have just influenced me to begin a blog on Jaguars… the motorcar, not the cat.

  25. sam Says:

    I look at fashion blogs, I’ll admit it – then I turn them off and get on with my life. I use them like I would people watch in the street – I can be inspired by them but I can also be amused by them – which is where you come in, your observances parallel my own.
    I certainly don’t subscribe to the ones that piss me off – although I do from time to time take a sneaky look just to get annoyed.

  26. Miggs Says:

    You inspired me to buy MAC Russian Red. So there you go.

  27. Angelica Says:

    “trusted expert” –> “personal brand”
    “loyal fan following” –> “next evolution of advertising”
    YIKES.

    I dunno about you, but once a blogger starts talking about “personal branding” it makes me want to run away from them as fast as possible. I still do check some of those kind of blogs from time to time out of morbid curiosity but the blogs I truly love are the blogs where I feel like an actual PERSON is behind them, instead of just a tool of the machine so to speak. Actually one of my favorite bloggers, Isabel of Hipster Musings, once wrote a sponsored post but she was really upfront about it and did it in such an anti-advertising way that it was actually more funny than anything else.

    Also just a thought about Tavi…I feel like she doesn’t realize the extent to which she’s being “marketed” by advertisers when she’s sent free products or asked to write/speak somewhere. I’m not gonna say it’s because she’s young but I would say it’s more like, she just hasn’t thought about the extent of influence that advertising has over everything. I never really understood why you dislike her because what I always liked about her is that her blog is still very much her own. Her writing is on a much more thoughtful level than “hey Proenza Schouler sent me these $500 pants, aren’t they so fucking rad?!” and she seems to have a really genuine love of most of the clothes she’s sent (like the Miu Miu line) and she’s not afraid to talk about other things like feminism, and call people out on their bullshit.

  28. E Says:

    Ummm… I think fashion bloggers who influence is one thing – straight up bloggers who influence is another. In terms of who they are influencing – well there’s a world of difference to be had between connecting with an individual browsing and seeing how – threatened (ahem) – influenced the ‘traditional’ media have been by certain people.

    In the space of twelve months it seems that fashion bloggers have gone from amateur nobodies (who couldn’t get invited to an envelope-opening much less a fashion show) to people who need to be courted desperately. And of course now it has become a bit – everybody-aboard-the-gravy-train in the same way as a lot of literary bloggers felt a sense of entitlement about getting a book deal.

    The pendulum will gradually stop swinging – and it will be interesting to see who remains. Tavi and Susie (from Style Bubble) I guess will still be with us as they are not the trophy-shopping/narcissist type – they actually have worthwhile things to say.

  29. E Says:

    Addendum: any blogger who refers to their work as ‘art’ or ‘organic’ needs a wide berth and a dictionary.

  30. miss cavendish Says:

    Product placement on screen drives me crazy, so I’ve been thoughtfully mulling over your observation that “bloggers who align themselves with products become products themselves.”

    I’m always a little disappointed when I learn that a post has been “sponsored” by a product, i.e., a blogger promotes something that’s been given to her (dislike the new verb “gifted”)–I don’t want to read blogs that are blogvertisements for someone else’s brand.

    However, I enjoy it when a blogger promotes something that she has made herself–jewelry, clothing, etc. It’s active and creative, rather than passive.

  31. Joy D. Says:

    Speaking as both a fashion blogger and as a person who attended this conference: The conference was strange, people were trying to divide their talking time into a short amount of time. This fucked with the audience’s connection to what they were saying.

    I love fashion blogging but I have always loved the way the internet has altered journalism or a lack there of. My favorite and most influential bloggers would have to be Susie Bubble and her boyfriend Style Savage. It sounds silly, I am aware. They both want to enlighten their readers on brands that get little press.

    I have been tossing and turning over the idea of ads on my blog for almost a year…I currently feature no ads on my blog. I am waiting for that magic solution: How can i present ads on my blog that does not compromise my (small) readership?

  32. te Says:

    The very first blog I read was TheShoeGirl. (I’m a late bloomer. ha!) I love that she is honest, she actual wears this stuff, and it isn’t crazy stuff that I wonder whether she has a mirror at home or a padded room. From her, I was linked to your blog. I love the random things you write about. It isn’t one thing all the time and I can always relate to something. I may not agree w/ everything a blogger writes about, but I’m definitely open to other opinions and love to hear about them. Then there are other blogs that I read b/c it is literally like driving by a horrific car accident. I have to see what bullshit they will post next just so I can feel some sort of normalcy in my every day boring life.
    Bloggers put themselves out there where I could never. Even if I don’t agree, I love that someone has the courage to post what they wore or shared an amazing recipe or a proud moment in their life. I see it all as entertainment and that’s what I love.

  33. liz Says:

    Blogs influence what I buy only in the way that sometimes I am introduced to new designers, but I’m not going to buy something just because tavi or jane or anyone else told me it was cool. I think that’s a big reason why I like Kingdom of style, the queens introduce new brands to me every single time I look at their blog.

    I don’t really have a problem with ads, if you want to make money, go ahead, and hell, if I could make a living blogging, I probably would go crazy but I would do it. Beats this 9-5 corporate machine piece of shit I’ll be living for the next year

  34. the real andrea Says:

    I love the topic of this post. The fact of the matter is, these bloggers do have influence with the masses (not you and me because we are fiercely independent and know our own personal styles). The ones that get stuff sent to them so they will write about the stuff, or are the topics of stories in print magazines are like the popular girls in school who they all want to be like. In some cases, the bloggers do have genuine talent, such as Tavi, who happens to be a very good writer and storyteller and seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion, and Susie Bubble, who never says it’s about me, me, me and seems like a genuinely sweet person, Jane happens to be, I think, a good artist. However, I have an issue with her and her mom’s rampant spending, and I think both of them are extremely narcissistic, which is never a good thing. As the mother of a 20 something who I hope, was brought up with good values re: helping the less fortunate and not being too impressed with herself (she happens to be model gorgeous but is not interested in that life even after being given the opportunity), I am appalled by the narcissism displayed on the sea blogs. But like a traffic accident, I/we keep checking in and looking. So just as there are people that would never buy something just because the blogger says so or likes something, there are also people that put these bloggers up on a pedestal in their mind and want to emulate them. Young people who are just finding out who they are are extremely impressionable, and this is what the product placement and attachment is all about. Why do you think that the Luisa Via Roma store in Florence paid the have a bunch of bloggers flown to Italy for a celebration? They have a web site for shopping and wanted to attach their name to the popular bloggers. In the end, It really is all about money.

  35. Emily Bleak Says:

    @Diana – looks like Gala pulled down the commentary on her FB. Negative feedback might discourage more advertisers, heaven forfend! (Wish I had a screencap!)

    @miss cavendish – oh no, I’ve been using “gifted” to denote items that I’ve received from friends/family/whatever and can’t trace where it came from or don’t want to endorse buying from that specific brand. Guess I’m doing it wrong. ;)

    I’ve been influenced by some fashion bloggers, sure, either by finding out about a creative that I’ve never heard of and eventually going on to support them, or by seeing some bloggers who have a similar body type to mine and using it for inspiration while dressing myself, or – my favorite – DIY guides. I don’t WANT to be another person, though, and at heart I am still a utilitarian dresser and an impulse buyer.

    Another part of it is that I don’t WANT to be anybody else. I wouldn’t rush out and buy the 5″ heels that Hallie or Rumi are wearing because I am six fucking feet tall and would look like Lurch. I wouldn’t cake on the neon makeup that Gala’s shamelessly hawking, primarily because I don’t trust her farther than I can throw her, but also because it’s not something that works for me. If anything, I’ve been pulling a little here and there from Man Repeller.

    Personal branding repulses me as a concept. Bloggers who bandy it around generally lose their credibility to me. My (admittedly pretty pitiful little) blog isn’t something that I want to use as a tool to sell things to people or change readers – it’s my miniature creative outlet and a platform for me to plug local bands and events that I personally enjoy – friends who need to drum up attendance for movie screenings or their bands’ shows. I’m still wobbling around in the dark when it comes to dressing fashionably, so it’s also a place for me to get feedback. I threw some Adsense squares up because I am a broke bitch and wouldn’t mind making back what I spent on the domain registration, but I’ll swallow turds before I let someone at Urban Outfitters tell me what to shill.

  36. Lara Says:

    “Bloggers who align themselves with products become products themselves.”

    Amen.

    There’s a similar quote I love: “If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer. You’re the product being sold.”

    There’s a certain blogger whose style I didn’t really like for myself but I thought she was sweet and cute and I like to sew and admired her skills but, things have really changed. (I won’t name names but let’s call her Squeeko Fin.) Every outfit post includes a ton of stuff given to her.

    Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m jealous! I want free stuff too but when your entire blog caters around you feeling obligated to pimp your gifts, you’re essentially being used for an $80 pair of shitty shoes.

    I had hopes of monetizing my blog but I’m seeing more and more ladies with those same aspirations being realized and they’re starting to feel like crap because they have a giant Verizon banner blinking across the pretty site they worked so hard on.

  37. the real andrea Says:

    Oh and btw, isn’t it interesting that Tavi now has an agent? I guess that’s the next step after you become a “brand”.

  38. kristen Says:

    The blogs I read are by people who I regard as (to borrow a phrase from Wendy Williams) “friends in my head”, who share an aesthetic that I enjoy. I appreciate them doing what they do, essentially putting all of these editorials/video/references etc. that I find interesting in one place so I can easily click through it all while I’m eating lunch. Thanks friends in my head.

    Reading these blogs has definitely influenced the way I dress, not in that I’m running out to buy this and that because someone featured it (because I am brokity broke, y’all), but I’ve gotten new ideas about how to put outfits together- to loosen up and get more creative with shape, texture and mixing things up.

    And if I see something I really love, it tends to get added to the diy list, which tends to result in purchases from the BCF (Burlington Coat Factory woo!) followed by a trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics. So whatever these advertisers are hoping to accomplish certainly isn’t working with me…I don’t have a lot of friends who read these blogs, so I can’t tell if I’m the exception or the rule.

    And then when it all gets to be a bit much and I need to get my head screwed back on straight, and it occasionally does, I come here.
    Much love to you, Sister Wolf.

  39. Erika Says:

    Freshly Personal – sounds like a slogan for Massengill douches or Tampax tampons.

  40. Diana Says:

    @Emily -Big surprise huh, Gala Darling deletes comments that don’t kiss her pink ass. Thank heavens for SW’s Comments for Gala, where nothing is censored! The truth hurts, Amy Paape..

  41. Lara Says:

    @Joy D
    I have a small Google AdSense block at the bottom right. Tried it for the hell of it and have made zip in over a month. I just joined Project Wonderful. It’s geared more towards small business and takes up a minuscule part of my sidebar. We’ll see how that goes. I give it all another month or so and it’s all coming down.

    I read everything in an RSS reader, so it’s easy to miss out on (most of) the flashy ads until you click over to comment.

  42. drollgirl Says:

    i’d like to make some money from blogging too. what a dream! google ads are a joke, as are most others unless you get mad traffic. making pennies on the week isn’t really all that lucrative or exciting. SIGH.

    with regards to so self-important fashion (and other) bloggers that think they are influential, B-A-R-F. once they start tooting their own horns they really start alienating some of us. christ, they are just playing dress up, and most of us are capable of doing such. horn tooters are such turn offs!

  43. ...love Maegan Says:

    I love your honesty. . . . that panel of bloggers was from last year. Will you please PLEASE rip on the ones from this year? …so I can read it and agree with you? …though I’m a part-time fashion blogger myself so be nice ;)

  44. Erika Says:

    Good comment posed re JC Penney. I like entering contests however when i see the ones from JC Penney I think WTF would I want from there ?? Also seeing people shilling for Forever 21, hate that store. I have to ask myself would I sell out for something I don’t personally believe in ?? No, not for $5000 bucks or a free t-shirt. I believe that life really only affords you so many selling out opportunities ( take note of that kids ) and when I do it, it’s going to be HUGE. The nickel and dime freebie crap, kiss ass to corporations stuff is lame.

  45. Ma Says:

    I honestly see Tavi almost as a victim. The industry in many sectors is just so obsessed with prodigies that they end up creating monsters. I hope she’ll be an exception… You guys, she’s just a kid. She’s fucking 13! (or 14 or 15 or 78 I DONT KNOW HER BDAY) We’re all supposed to be ridiculous at that age. She seems smart and full of potential to me. I really hope something good comes out of this whole fashion frenzy. It might be a bad deal, but at the same time would it be right/smart not to take the chances she’s been having? I don’t know.
    That being said, I can now share why I have a personal problem with the fashion bloggers elite bullshit.
    I work in the fashion industry and even though I’ve always liked fashion it became more than a hobby simply because I had a good opportunity when I got into college. I embraced it and never got out of it.
    I’ve always studied a lot, traveled a lot and worked hard. I moved to Europe to get a masters and learn as much as I could while working. I came back last year with an incredible baggage, hoping to pick up from where I left and do great things in the industry in my country.
    STUPID DUMB ASS ME.
    Sea of shit at least reads (or tries to read) books. I have to deal with the fact that the cool fashion bloggers here are girls who can’t even speak properly OUR FUCKING LANGUAGE. They openly say they don’t like books. They never do ANYTHING but shop. And they get even better opportunities than I do.
    Now. I understand the whole economics/sociopolitical arguments to explain why it is the way it is and I know such TRENDS will not be absorbed the best way possible around here. But it doesn’t make it less revolting to me.

    Maybe I should have spent my whole education money on a collection of birkins. I would be able to blog only about it. hahahaha

  46. That's Not My Age Says:

    I think some bloggers are experts – but none of those you list!

  47. HelOnWheels Says:

    I’m heavily influenced by Jane, Roomy, Gnarled Jen, Galabia…

    Heavily influenced beat them over the head with the hideous crap they get for free and try to shill to their readers. I have so much disgust with these “bloggers”!

    However, I have honestly been influenced by a few bloggers that I really enjoy reading on a regular, usually daily:
    - Susie from Style Bubble has made me look at my wardrobe differently. She’s inspired me to be fearless in putting together outfits and how to look at my clothing and accessories with a new eye. And she’s constantly introducing new designers (from whom I may never buy but whose creativity and imagination and skills I admire).
    - The Kingdom of Style Queens is always an interesting read and who have exposed me to new designers and craftspeople.
    - Kate of MDS is always a wonderful read and someone I consider a real fashion expert. I’m trying to do her Slow Fashion campaign.
    - Faux Fuchsia is funny and smart and makes me want to “action” some manicures and baked goods.

    There are so many other bloggers whose work I read daily who influence me, including you SW. However, they are never ones that are trying to sell to me crap from their latest sponsors, which is masquerading as unbiased and honest reviews. And they’re literate – they know how to read AND write, which is more than I can say for most of the bloggers you listed above.

  48. Audi Says:

    Wow, not only is this a great post but the comments are amazing too. As a blogger myself, I’m really put off by those who prostitute themselves for every crap product that’s dangled in front of them. It’s one thing to be offered a sample to review, determine that it fits with your style and might be something you’d choose for yourself, and then give an honest review that can inform other people who might be considering a purchase; it’s quite another to build your entire blog around promoting products just for free samples. Magazines charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to run a print ad, but some bloggers will waste their time plugging a brand in exchange for nothing more than a crappy hair clip or a tube of lipstick. Obviously companies have seized on this cheap form of advertising and are busy exploiting it to its fullest extent, and many of the foolhardy bloggers are none the wiser; in fact, they begin to fancy themselves experts, or worse yet, celebrities.

    Bloggers can be influential, but personally I’m only influenced by the ones I feel I share something in common with. I visit other blogs to get new ideas for using what’s in my own wardrobe, to find out about new designers or shops, and also because in the technical environment I work in I really have no outlet for talking about clothing or style. But it seems like a lot of bloggers — younger ones especially — think they can parlay a mediocre blog into an elite fashion career, when in fact they have no formal training or even anything unique to offer. Blogging in this respect is just a way in which people can seek an easy road to fame without having to bother developing any actual talent. And don’t even get me started on the bloggers who demand complete adoration or else they’ll shut off comments; SW, your clever mockery of these deluded narcissists is one of my favorite things about this blog.

  49. K-Line Says:

    OK, you are a totally influential blogger – look at the comments here!

    I don’t know that there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said. But I do find myself “influenced” by like-minded spirits (of, generally, my age range). Hmmmm, kind of like the real world.

  50. Brunehilda Says:

    Jane is completely insufferable.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.”

  53. 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.

  54. mel Says:

    idiots.

  55. 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.

  56. 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?

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. sketch42 Says:

    What a complete group of morons.

  60. 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!

  61. sam Says:

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

    you might like this sister

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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

  69. 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????

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. RedHeadFashionista Says:

    @Hel awwww thanks.

  77. 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?

  78. 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…

  79. 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…

  80. 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.

  81. On the (Rest of the) Net. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm Says:

    [...] I’m Mad profiles “Bloggers With Influence”, and has some particularly scathing words to say about Gala Darling. [...]

  82. Dirt Says:

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