I remember 8 years ago when I was 16, rushing after class to connect to the library wi-fi and checking lookbook.nu to see what my favourite bloggers were wearing. Today, things are a little different. Every second stranger you meet is a blogger. While I love being able to connect with designers, artists and bloggers from all over the world and I appreciate the amazing business opportunities available all thanks to the internet, sometimes I get overwhelmed. I find the never ending Instagram scroll is a dangerous power to be entrusted with, it leaves me wondering if anyone is authentic and blogging for the fun of it or if the key motivator is money and popularity.
Past & Present.
In the past, name brands were desired because of the status they provided. To own a name brand identified you as upper class, wealthy and fashionable. As time went on we evolved and saw the well structured social hierarchy diminish, to an extent, as the lines between each social class blurred. At this stage people aspired to be eclectic, to be one of a kind and have a unique style. However, with the rise of Instagram, it could be argued that the majority of bloggers now covet both popularity through number of followers/likes and funding of their ever expanding wardrobe. Just as Bianca Stratford, from 10 things I hate about you taught us, there’s a difference between like and love; there is also a difference between fashion and style. In the context of clothing, fashion is the most recent or most popular item of clothing or design/trend of clothing while the definition of style is based on a distinctive appearance. Style is not limited by clothes; it extends to incorporate personality, mood and communicates an individual vibe. Fashion and style are very much different concepts; fashion emphasises the clothing item or man made product on the person while style highlights the person them self.
Given the current state of fashion and style and the relationship they harbour with social media, in particular Instagram, it prompts the question does the business side of blogging, where a blogger receives a payment for wearing an item of clothing, distract from the individual’s style? A business association with a brand is much like receiving a gift card from a store you don’t regularly shop at for Christmas. You’re going to spend the gift card on anything in the store, wether it represents you and your style or not, as the other option is watching $100 go to waste. Similarly, if you get the offer of wearing an item of clothing for a sum of money, you’ll take whatever item is on offer and use the pay check for this weeks rent.
Keeping the definitions of fashion and style in mind, to be paid to wear a garment that is trending throughout the current fashion season is advertising fashion and the brand who designed/made the piece, not the bloggers style. Therefore, it could be proposed that the influx of bloggers advertising for brands and showcasing fashion is leading to the departure of blogging to showcase you, your personality and individuality; all conveyed through your unique style.
However, before you agree or disagree also consider this from a brand’s perspective. This is also a modern form of advertising, which is advantageous for brands to maximise their contact with their target market. The more followers the blogger has allows the brand, to reach a wider audience through a social media platform that your target market uses compulsively. For the blogger, they receive both clothing and a payment thus, it is a mutually beneficial business relationship.
The future of blogging and the relationship between social media sites, such as Instagram, and businesses is unknown, but here’s some food for thought….How far will the integration of Instagram and business go? Will one Instagram like start equating to credit points at a store; after 100 likes will brands send you a $10 voucher? Will fashion advertising through bloggers lead to the demise of unique, curated style? Will purchasing pre-loved/vintage items save the concept of style? Only time will tell.
Images sourced from Pinterest