At a time when bloggers are taking over the fashion scene, Sharon Green discovers four Australian-based girls who have entered the online world and how it’s working for them.
Christina Dietze – Blog: SRC783
After “falling” into the fashion industry as a model, Christina admits that she couldn’t imagine herself doing anything else. Descending from a family of creatives and parents who took an interest in fashion, it’s only natural that she would find herself succumbed to the industry. Her successful fashion blog started about a year ago as a personal log of editorial fashion images, “with a few of my own narcissistic self portraits,” Christina adds. She didn’t think much of her blog when it started and had no prediction that it would receive so much attention from fans and followers. “I never thought anyone but my friends and family would follow it,” she said. But four million web hits later, the blog can surely be deemed a success. While brushing up on some photography skills, Christina’s blog has opened up endless opportunities within the fashion industry. “It has put me on the cover of a few Australian fashion magazines, made me the face of some great fashion labels and opened doors to the possibility of a fashion label,” she explained. All this after a “spur-of-the-moment” decision where she named the blog SRC783 after her car registration and it the name seemed to stick. She mostly includes images and behind-the-scenes photography of backstage fashion events but claims that the content selected for the blog is dependent on what she fancies at the time. “I will only ever do a post on something I find inspiring,” she said. Christina believes that people enjoy blogs because they are so readily available and constant – with no waiting around for a whole month before the next issue of a magazine comes out. “Although, personally I would never trade in a print magazine for an online publication. There is just something about having your own hard, crisp copy of your favorite magazine in your hot little hands,” she said. Then why is there such popularity with the blog? For Christina, it comes down to the individuality of the medium that cannot be compared with any other. The trick is, she says, is the ability “to know the good from the bad, the credible from the not-so-credible”. She has decided not to accept advertising on her blog yet and instead works as a model in the fashion industry. “Lots of people monetise their blogs and can make a living out of it, but I haven’t reached that stage yet”.
Hayley Hughes – Blog: Fashion Hayley
When a trip to Japan a few years ago inspired a travel blog, Hayley Hughes remembers her first days experimenting with a blog. Her posts became more fashion based when she was fascinated by the Japanese street fashion. “Street fashion in Japan is very decorative and crazy – the kind of stuff you’d never see in Australia.” After being lured in by quirky dress styles and the elaborate expression of individualism in Japan, Hayley decided to live there for a while. And so began her interest in the fashion world and a blog that accidently happened to become successful. “I never set out with my blog to be successful. But it has been,” she said. It has opened up more doors into the industry than Hayley could’ve ever imagined and she managed to make connections with the industry through her blog. “I always wanted to get into the industry but never thought it was possible,” she said. Consequently, all jobs come to her through her blog now and she has the liberty to obtain freelance work on a regular basis working across visual merchandising, fashion styling and street photography. Although, she does admit that freelancing can often be hectic and unpredictable. “The work comes in spurts so the income comes in spurts. But my blog has helped me begin my career in fashion and explore the possibilities in fashion,” she explained. She even appeared on national current affairs television show Today Tonight and was subsequently hired by City Chic (who saw her on the program) to act as an ambassador to the brand on an upcoming trip to New York. Hayley believes that readers find blogs appealing because they have personality and the fact that they document real stories. “I am a real person showing my own clothes and my own style,” she said. Hayley also feels more personally connected to her followers because she can interact with them online and feels she is part of a community. Unlike other bloggers, Hayley’s view on blogging is that the credibility is deteriorating. “So many fashion bloggers don’t cover events well and don’t have good writing skills or a professional approach.” This, she feels, is lowering the standard of blogging. But perhaps this is simply the peril of the ability to self publish on the web? Nonetheless, it doesn’t appear to have affected the Fashion Hayley blog. She is one of few success stories that can boast making a living directly from her blog. A combination of advertising revenue, paid writing opportunities and other offers of fashion work have all combined to generate an income for Hayley. That’s not to say she hasn’t worked hard at it; she’s spent years building up a reputation and persona online and is only now reaping the benefits. “It all takes time. Although, starting a blog now is easier – it’s faster to grow because the readers are already out there and other bloggers can link you to their blog.”
Tessa-Jay Slight – Blog: Circa Now
With a background in fashion as model, it’s easy to see how Tessa-Jay ties in a fashion theme for her blog Circa Now. “I love to find and document all the inspirational photos from other great models, photographers and designers,” she said. Her blog came to life in 2008 when she was inspired by other blogs but claims that “blogs didn’t seem to be so popular then as they are in the fashion world now.” Her blog started out as outlet for all her fashion, modelling and designer photos. “It was really just a website for me and my friends but it became public quickly a few months in,” she explained. Her blog has sky rocketed since and received an overwhelming amount of web hits along with a strong following from public viewers. Consequently, Tessa-Jay has welcomed new opportunities presented to her as a result of having her blog. She’s continuously receiving invitations to industry events (including to ones overseas) and gets a lot of designers and photographers approaching her to be featured on Circa Now. When a friend travelled to Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW) to take photos, Tessa-Jay took the opportunity to post the photos on her blog and covering this event was in part a response to what her readers wanted. “All the blog posts I did on RAFW got a great response especially from the Australian followers because they were interested to see the upcoming fashion and the new models,” she said. She has discovered that readers of her blog often prefer backstage photos to catwalk photos because the models and fashion come across as more candid. Tessa-Jay also believes that fashion blogging is receiving more credibility and perceived as a reliable source of information for devoted fashion followers. At the forefront of the latest fashion releases, models and collections, Tessa-Jay believes that fashion blogging has become so popular over the last year because there is a demand from a passionate fashion audience who want up-to-date photos and breaking news in the industry. “We’re really doing the hard work looking for the best things to post for our readers,” she said. Working in the online world, Tessa-Jay embraces the medium for its immediacy and fast pace and can always find something interesting to publish. “It’s [blogging] more of an immediate method unlike magazines who publish monthly, and newspapers that don’t often go into great detail,” she explained. Her prediction for the future of fashion blogging is that it will become more popular and more commonplace. “The key is you have to find something you love to blog about otherwise you will run out of ideas. The weaker ones will fade and the popular ones will continue strong.”
Megan Aney – Blog: An Australian Wintour
Megan’s entry into fashion blogging comes as a different story. Before she started her blog, she had no background in fashion. As a professional dancer, she sustained an injury that prevented her from ever dancing again. Subsequently, she spend many months bed-bound recovering and fell in love with magazines, fashion, the industry and the people involved. This is how her blog An Australian Wintour came to life in February 2008. “I started my blog as a way of reaching out into a community which I had never had been involved in but was desperate to get to know,” she explained. Although the blog has been pretty successful up to this point, Megan admits that it’s still a work in progress. Like other bloggers, she too has been offered career opportunities within the fashion scene. “I developed my career in fashion by using my blog as a springboard,” she said. Megan has combined her writing skills and fashion knowledge and has written for Oyster Magazine, Fashion Palette and Gold Coast Fashion Week – all as a result of having a presence through her blog. She also travelled to Sydney as a guest of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW) and claims that she did this to specifically place fashion week content on her blog. For Megan, attending RAFW served two purposes: to fulfill a demand for her readers and in part for personal interest. “I wanted to cover it [RAFW] to strengthen myself as a blogger and also fashion week news is always a hit online,” she said. Megan believes that people enjoy reading blogs because they’re fast and connectable. “It’s an opinion that isn’t tied to advertisers, which is rare in media these days”. She also thinks that the debate over whether fashion blogging is more or less credible than magazines has been raging for far too long. Her take on the discussion is that two different mediums simply cannot be replaced by another but that they do offer different elements to their readers. “It’s a different kind of credibility. It may not be an experienced opinion like the magazines but it’s an honest opinion. It all depends on what the reader is looking for. It’s about giving fashion lovers the liberty to choose their medium,” she said. While completing her studies at university and working across two jobs, Megan hasn’t focused on the revenue side of her blog and claims that she does it mainly for love. For the future of fashion blogging, Megan says she would love to see more collaboration with the magazine world. “It’d be great to see the glossies embrace bloggers and work with them more.”