Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Conspicious Consumption on Fashions Blogs Turn On or Turn Off - Fashion Forum Fortnight

Guilty as charged having recently aired my spoils in the purchase of a decent coat for the first time ever! And I know lots of us like to parade a good designer buy. Given we live in an economy and society that prizes the obvious parading of goods whether it is the house, car, bag or shoes, I doubt we can turn off our consumer being. After all it is linked in with our innate sense of personal style. We choose how we adorn our bodies and what images we create. If we accept as fashion bloggers we love fashion and we enjoy trends, new designs and creating looks, the real question here is when does a fashion blogger go too far?

There is something endearing about young Tavi in the midst of the designer frenzy to court her, but some people think it is the manipulation of her by others.

Then who can forget the hilarious photo of Bryanboy with laptop on front row. I still think Anna Wintour retains the upper hand with her poise and dignity. She had certainly embrace fashion blogging but then she is extremely savvy when it comes to trends and keeping control. There is nothing threatening to the fashion industry by creating a blogging 'in crowd' and keeping them firmly in the grip of products.

Talking of products it is with Sea of Shoe and her mother that the accolade of conspicuous consumption must rest. Creating the X factor of fashion blogging, the idea all one has to do is post outfit after outfit of designer or vintage wares referenced by non monetary terms of 'acquired', 'curated' and 'sourced' to be an A star blogger. The repetitiveness of the posts in respect of goods does much to place the fashion blog in the position of vacuous.

Lack of discourse amongst fashion bloggers has created an imbalance of products before content. Although numerous fashion bloggers with and with no public recognition, do attempt to fill a void of helpful and useful fashion tips plus ideas not solely based on high end fashion or income. Whilst I recognise that we all want to look at goods and wares, be informed on specific fashion items but do you think this type of fashion blog is a turn on or turn off? Is it something that can be sustained? After all X factor keeps going (currently) but after 10 years Big Brother imploded and its demise was rapid. Is there a need for a new vogue of fashion blogs?


  1. Honest answer here now and I hope I don't upset too many people. I love blogs, all types, I adore fashion, from designer to vintage.
    I love to see a stylish young person that is not dictated too by the masses.
    I follow a lot of different types of fashion blogs, but the ones that interest me the most are the ones that offer something a little different from what I can already read in a magazine. I love the fashion photography from the streets, I also do love to see the collections.
    You have a great blog as you offer advice too, which is useful to everyone, everyone can always do with a new "tip" or idea. In the end i think it will probably be that people will keep reading their favourites or the friends. But I do believe it will fizzle out in popularity I certainly don't believe it will earn you money unless you are also blogging from your own site as Wendy Brandes and Belle from Belladora both who have great blogs that also attract attention to their product.
    Sorry I hope this is not too long winded Kate xx

  2. I don't really read any of the 'famous' fashion blogs. I find Tavi, BryanBoy, Sea of Shoes et al. very hard to relate to. Jane from SOS once posted a 'chilling out' outfit that featured a pair of Chanel booties worth thousands of pounds. It turns my stomach.

    I also get tired of endless, endless outfit shots and bleatings about the latest this, the newest that. I like to read insights into bloggers' lives (not in a creepy stalker way, I might add!) - I want to know what they like, what drives them, what makes them mad. I want to feel like I know them. Best selling books get to the top because their lead character connects with the audience. People need to read something that hooks them in.

    Really great post.

  3. I'm not interested in any of the blogs that list items or just repeat what everyone else is saying about what clothes to buy/wear/stop wearing, etc. I like blogs where the authors offer opinions and have personalities - and also have lives beyond fashion.

  4. As an industry insider I prefer to remain anonymous. I enjoy lots of blogs and have read yours for a number of years. I remain amazed by the numerous ones that come and go. Melanie Rickey with her blog went out on a limb but soon got brought into the fold of Grazia. I do agree there is manipulation of bloggers to some extent.
    Anna Wintour showed a lack of judgement with Sea of Shoes. I suspect she was slightly reminded of herself in some respects but in reality the mother and daughter team are hardly the dream team one would have hoped for. Tacky doesn't cover it.

    Blogs have to change to remain relevant and those that will survive will be the ones who can perform well and be adaptive. Style Bubble is one of my favourites but it has spawned a thousand try hards. It still remains the original and has adapted but at some point it will have to changed. I look back fondly at magazines before the advent of celebrity!

  5. I am sure I left a comment before saying what type of blog I like to read and that I can no longer be bothered with those that just show endless magazine covers and celebs I don't know. Someone recently said to me that my blog has personality and I hope they are not alone in that opinion. I guess I write what I like to read from other fashion blogs, I like to see what people have bought, how they style it but I also like to be pointed in the direction of a great collection that a high street store may have in, especially if it is from somewhere I wouldn't normally shop. So I like a mixture really. As the comment above, I can't relate to Tavi or Bryanboy and don't force myself to read their blog just because they are the "in" thing, I wonder how they get the recognition they do to be honest....I really don't "get what makes them so special"

  6. I only came across Sea of Shoes via Sister Wolf (which I came across via your blog) and I'll admit, it did hold a certain fascination for me at first. So much stuff, such expensive looking photos... But then I very rapidly realised that the rampant consumerism made me feel a bit ill. I just couldn't countenance spending so much on (mostly) awful stuff, let alone flaunting it to the world.

    I don't mind a bit of consumerism - it's fun to read the odd post where a blogger has tracked down a bargain or, as with your gorgeous coat, deliberated over a big purchase for a while and is then thrilled when it arrived. Even a haul post can be great if it's charity shop/sale stuff. It's just the endless "I got this from Topshop today" posts that bore me because they tell me nothing about the blogger other than that they fritter away most of their money and that's just not something I can or want to relate to.

  7. I think there's definitely something for everyone, blogs that are purely new trends, collections and designer outfits don't do much for me nor do the 'this is what I wore today' blogs, but that isn't to say I don't look at them - I do, just less often. I think they will continue as there is always going to be an abundance of content for them and I'm sure there are people that love this kind of blog.

    I categorize blogs, those I look at everyday, those I visit a couple of times a week and those I pass by once or twice a month just to see if I've missed anything interesting. I suspect most people do the same so these blogs will continue, but maybe not always with the same popularity.

  8. I must admit I don't read the "celebrity" blogs either: i've only ever once looked at bryanboy and sea of shoes got too samey and conceited to keep reading. I like to read blogs I can relate to and gain something from.

  9. I don't follow any high fashion blogs like Tavi or Sea of Shows. I also don't want to see what they've bought, I'd rather see it in a high fashion magazine. The blogs I like have some consumption (because it's fun to share) but also a balance of designer, high street, vintage, suggestions on accessories etc.

    I also thoroughly agree with Tor, I like to relate to blogs and those ones...

  10. I absolutely love Sea and Judy's blogs (though not so much all the cookery). I love seeing high end designer pieces style outside of magazines and I think they do it fabulously. I think a lot (not all) of people reject their blogs through a little bit of jealousy. I really dont give a toss what someone just bought from Topshop, but what someone bought from Prada well that is something to lust after, its exciting to me. That said I also love nothing better than to see Mrs Bossa in her amazing selection of vintage, and Florrie in her floral obsessions! I like your blog and Fabs blogs as you always have a story to tell. I like blogs in general for their diversity. I dont read any of the celeb blogs I read Tavi and Style Bubble every now and again but I never got hooked by the others such as Bryan Boy and Rumi et al, not saying anything negative they just arent my cup of tea.
    I write on my own blog whatever I fancy be in outfit posts, fashion history or sometime I just saw and liked. I have had some spiteful comments but you know what I buy Chanel so what! If you dont like it dont read my blog! I also buy Primark.
    I think some celeb bloggers think they are above all the others and have read some quite up their own arse comments, but as you say they are certainly on a tight leash.
    I certainly will be intersted to see where the blogging world is in a year xx

  11. Think this is my first time commenting here but I've been reading for the past year or so now.

    Anyway, more to the point. I don't read any of the 'famous' blogs either as I find them all a bit same old same old with nothing much I can personally relate to.

    I also don't really like blogs which list week in week out what they bought, what they didn't buy, as that makes me want to spend more on things I don't need.

    The reason as to why I've been reading your blog so long is because it has something for everyone. It isn't wholly fashion orientated, which keeps me interested. I loved the fact that you blog about fashion in a different way to others in that sometimes, your posts aren't directly about fashion, but indirectly.

    Needless to say, I'll be staying a subscriber to your blog for a long while, I'm sure. Keep up the good work :)

  12. Hi my dear-wow, its been great to see all the diverse opinions and views of fellow bloggers out there!! Personally, I will lurk some of the more famous blogs, purely out of curiousity rather than as a daily must read. I enjoy reading blogs that show a mix of designer, vintage and high street style and see how these styles are adapted and put together in a more original way. I love seeing the current designer wear in vogue, but for me personally, I like to interpret these looks through my shopping at charity shops and boot sales to recreate a similar look-its all about quality and not quantity-buying copious amounts of designer, vintage or high street seems more like a competition with a lot of bloggers and goodness what sort of debt some of these people must be accumulating just for the sake of the most savviest or stylish blog ;-)

  13. I don't like the majority of the "famous" fashion blogs. I certainly can't stand the Sea and Mom of Shoes blogs, Rumi, Bryan Boy, Karla, etc. They're too vapid, banal, and grossly consumerist. I enjoy reading bloggers who have something to say and who share their ideas about the world, who are NOT posting endless outfit photos or magazine editorials: Style Bubble, Sister Wolf, you, Wendy Brandes, Already Pretty, and many others. In other words, I need some substance, goddammit!! I like outfit posts (one photo will suffice, thankyouverymuch) that are unique and representative of a blogger's personal style and are an interesting mix of high-end designer, vintage/thrift, and high street styles. All that being said, if a blogger gets a great bargain on a beautiful designer goody (your coat comes to mind) I'd love to see it. But I don't want regular posts about somebody's "snags" from Topshop or their daily "curated" designer haul.

  14. Excellent post and great comments.

    Happily I am not a fashion blogger. God knows that I don't have a sea of shoes or ocean of any any other product in my closet nor do I know the right people to snag an invitation to a high end fashion show.

    I also don't read the high end corporate sponsored fashion blogs. They are too obviously commercial.
    I prefer what I call lifestyle blogs where I can read about Ruth's remodel project and her poetry, Jill's outrageous outfits and dinner menus, Christina's parties with 'the actor', Faux Fuschia's 'actioning' of all kinds of tasks, Tish's street shots of fashion in France, Metscan's minimalist decor, Sharon's thrift store finds, Wendy's book reviews, the list goes on and on.

    Also, knowing how many hours it takes to keep up a blog, I have no problem with bloggers who push their products. Product promotion, when is is done so cleverly, like Wendy B does on her blog, is a pleasure to read.

    Like Wendy, I too try to promote my product and hopefully BHB isn't too boring to read. Also I hope that my readers have learned something about estate jewelry that they didn't know it the past. I try to be informative.

    I think that the corporate fashion blogs will burn out but the lifestyle blogs will endure because we've wierdly become a kind of online community.

    Sorry for such a long comment but I just had to put in my two cents worth.

  15. I think people wring their hands too much over this kind of thing. Why are we all so nosy about how other people make/spend their money? As someone once commented on my blog, "Get out of my fucking wallet already." I feel like if the blog turns you off, don't look at it. Life is too short to worry about how other people spend their time and dollars/pounds.

    Also, as I pointed out here, we don't have this reaction to people spending their money on electronics, sports, travel, cars and real estate:

  16. For me it's all about being able to relate to the blog. Blogs like Sea of shoes, I really can't relate to, everything is too out of reach and for those who do have the money to spend on designer gear. I like to look at them every once in a while but purely from an entertainment point of view. They're 'fun' to read every now and then but it doesn't get any deeper than that.

    Definitely personality, individuality and relatability are key things I look for in a blog. If you have all three then bam, I'll be an avid reader!

  17. I read/follow/dip in and out of Fashion blogs and use it as a chance to see how the other half lives. Some are ridiculous but I guess the whole point of the internet is being to have a voice and share your opinions - if you don't like it don't read it. Fashion as an industry used to be the preserve of the ultimate rich - those who could afford to pay to travel to Paris and be dressed in the seasons must have right down to hand sewn lingerie. I guess in our modern age things have moved on and consumerism is open to a bigger majority. Yes the excessiveness is extreme but on balance all those ideas filters down to the high street in some shape or form for lesser mortals to buy into. Fashion bloggers in all different guises have a place on the web. Fads come and go and one day you are miss popular and the next you are gone. Celeb bloggers seems to be out there for their 15 mins of fame and good luck to them.

  18. I like reading blogs where there is a personal element to posts. It makes far more interesting reading. With the current economic situation and the impact on print media I can only see that the use of blogging and other social media will increase rather than reduce.

  19. First and foremost, I like a blog with a point of view. I like a blogger who has something to say. If you just pose in your acquisitions, you only make me feel angry or sad about your vanity and cluelessness.

    I can see new fashions on net-a-porter or even shopbop. I don't need a young woman to show me how she bought them and wore them.

    I like Susie B for learning about new or obscure designers. I like KOS for this as well.

    Bloggers who don't have an original voice are not worth my time, except for the perverse amusement factor.

    Bloggers who don't or won't take a stand aren't worth reading. If you can't express or won't express risky ideas, you shouldn't be writing.

    What the future holds for fashion bloggers....I think they will have to work harder to get attention, that's for sure.

  20. I read fashion blogs and other blogs but do not blog. I like a lot of blogs that are food based and some political ones as well.

    The showing off factor is pertinent to fashion blogs. Most other blogs are content driven and engage with their readers. I think lots of fashion blogs do this and I agree with Sister Wolf about Style Bubble and Kingdom of Style. I like Disneyrollergirl for her quirky information and take.

    Perhaps the American blogs get lost in translation although Sea of Shoes is now blog that is waning a bit thin. It is not about spending the money on items but the fact that is the only aspect of the blog, spending money. It doesn't matter if it is travel, food, gadgets or any other consumer goods, only being centred around this is the problem.

    I agree with Pearl as she does seem to like Chanel a lot but she is refreshing because she is upfront on this matter and it is her passion. Probably blogs not just fashion blogs are a passing phase. It is quite refreshing this research does care about discussing these matters.

  21. I think that the first style blog I ever read was the Manolo's. And from there I went to Linda Grant and gradually fanned outward, looking particularly for blogs that had wit, a strong, appealing voice and a definite perspective.

    Truly, you could have knocked me over with a feather (cliche, I know) the first time I saw a daily ensemble-posting blog. It felt voyeurish (some three years ago), though I now understand and appreciate many "look" blogs.

    But it's the ideas, the voice, and the (writing) style that keep me coming back to most blogs.

  22. Dear Kate, I like your blog because you write about all sorts of things and you keep it interesting. I don't think you should feel bad about blogging about your new coat. I like to see what you've bought.

    I'm not into blogs that are just about consumerism. I read some of the blogs you mentioned, but not regularly. I prefer something more personal, to see something beautiful, or to learn something. I also like to see a bargain or a great high street piece that's affordable, which you post about.

    My blog is definitely not a fashion blog, the name came from a shoot I was working on and I intended to interview a variety of people that were "in fashion" and I think "fashion" encompasss far more than clothes. I like to share all sort of things I've found and like. I think endless posts about expensive fashion is boring and it's unattainable to most people.

    I would say blogs with a personal element have far more longeavity and are worth visiting regularly, rather than blogs that are just a platform for endless click throughs xx

  23. To be honest, I really don't see the difference between Sea of Shoes and other fashion blogs (yes, like yours!), which to some extent showcase latest purchases or objects of desire. Where are the rules that say there has to be "discourse" about fashion to be considered a "real" or "worthy" fashion blog.

    I don't enter into any kind discourse about fashion or design on my blog, yet I consistently showcase objects for consumption. Does that make my blog "imbalanced"? Or less worthy? Or something to snigger at?

    I don't think so...

    To be honest, I'm really uncomfortable and terribly disappointed with the personal level of attack directed at other bloggers. Particulary by older women who should really know better.

    Sorry Make Do, you've lost me on this one.

  24. i cant get over some of these young things and the amount of STUFF that they own, about a zillion white t shirts from zara that probably end up in the waste land the following week.

    where do they get the energy/money and STORAGE SPACE for so much stuff!!


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