Fashion blogging and YouTubing is such a multifaceted concept. What are we here for? What do we do? What do people get from us? Personally, I see it as part sales and advertising, part inspiration/ entertainment, and part self-promotion (I mean, posting pics of yourself online is definitely rooted in narcissism whether we like it or not, surely!?)
Where the proportions of every bloggers own personal pie chart of those three things falls will differ not only from individual to individual, but also from project to project – so of course a #ad #spon is always always always going to be hitting up a higher slice of the advertising and sales pie chart, whereas just a random outfit post featuring totally whimsical images will hit much higher on the #inspo chart. Recently, I’ve become slightly confused at my positioning in this industry. What am I here for? Am I here to make money selling myself on the internet? Am I here to inspire? Am I here just to make a name for myself? I feel like I’m having a very Zoolander-ish moment, where he peers into the puddle in the road and says “who am I?”
– Girl is just trying to make a living, doing what I do, and doing what I love.
Sometimes when tagging all of my products I feel conflicted in whether I’m more than just a saleswoman – a fashion whore, selling the clothes on my body as opposed to, well, just a normal whore selling my body. Yes, I hope to inspire people with what I wear and of course what I write – I really hope you know how much time and how much of my soul I’ll put into my writing – but a lot of what I do is about selling. Selling a top that you NEED (but don’t really need) and promoting a dress that’ll ‘literally change your life’ – exact quote from my one of my hauls about that Urban Outfitters dress. The ultimate LBD to end all LBDs but truthfully, I know I’ll be wearing another one in the future. And then, not to mention, I’ll selling to you my lifestyle in some way.
Of course, this is in by no means me having a go at people doing ads and sponsored posts – 2 out of my latest 3 posts were created in collaboration with companies. I never see sponsored opportunities as just money, for me it’s only ever going to be campaigns that I get to handpick and work on collaboratively to create something in the form of an advertorial. And if anything, often, a lot more work goes into those posts because I want it to be just as well received as anything else that I do.
Writing is at the forefront of Fashion Slave – I have two journalism degrees and I started this blog to write, not just share my outfits! I’ve tweeted before how although I LOVE the fashion side of what I do, what I love more is to make the fashion in my posts come alive because it’s the memories we make, and the lives we live in the clothes that matter – and I always try and make my posts as entertaining, and as real to my life as I can, rather than writing about my totally cute outfit that I absolutely love love love right now… So I suppose for me, it’s never about making money (or never just about it, at least!) – it’s about telling stories through clothes and words and beautiful imagery, whilst also inviting you in to buy a slice of the action.
But I feel conflicted in that I’m helping people get some form of happiness – albeit perhaps misplaced and certainly temporary – through the form of purchases. Because buying something we love and that makes us feel great is amazing. To quote a film I really connected with on a totally personal level (although the ending ruined it for me…) “When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and I need to do it again.” – yes, that’s right. Confessions of a Shopaholic. And it’s true. I always think clothes can bring happiness to a certain extent, but it is, bottom line, totally materialistic and totally temporary.
One thing we really really can’t ignore is the pace the industry is growing at – fashion blogging has exploded over the past 10 years, and even more so with Instagram. Fast fashion is getting faster. And as my following gets bigger, it seems so does my wardrobe. And I worry, I worry that I’ll donate to charity 2 tops I no longer want only to buy the exact replica 6 months down the line because I want it all over again. Because Instagram made me do it!
Fast fashion makes everything so disposable, and this can have devastating effects in the factories creating these cut-price clothes. It can also have a huge impact on the environment – and these are two things I have selfishly and actively chosen to ignore. I should shop more wisely and more consciously.Yes, I’ve stopped trying to buy from Primark as much as possible. I try to make investments rather than frivolously throwing my cash at disposable pieces I’ll shoot once then forget I own. But when the lure of new clothes and that hit of dopamine it brings is too strong, it can definitely be hard to resist at times.
I don’t know the exact answer. And I know I’ll be still promoting all of these clothes because that’s (partly) what I’m here for and that’s (partly) why you’re here too! I like to think my job here is more about inspiration and less about selling, but I know I have to be more mindful of what I buy, not buying the same old things.
Photography by Kyle Galvin