Fashion lovers make careers of blogging
SYDNEY, June 11 (UPI) -- Amid mounting reports of job losses across Australia, a new way of making money is emerging and it's defying the layoff trends. It’s doing so while donning a swimsuit from ritzy Australian label Zimmermann and the latest accessories by Chanel.
Enter the world of professional fashion blogging; where the tools of the trade are nothing more than an iPhone armed with photo-blogging app Instagram, and fashion-forward gusto.
“I'd like Annawanna.com to simply be a space where people can visit for my personal take on all things fashion,” said Anna Nguyen, talking backstage at Sydney Fashion Week in April.
Nguyen, 26, is a professional fashion blogger and social media specialist for a major department store. Her user profile on Annawanna.com sums up the voices of many like her: “A little site covering stylish stories written by a girl who facebooks, tweets & blogs about fashion for a living!”
Fashion blogging involves the convergence of multiple traditional media roles into one authoritative entity. Think of the blogger as police, judge and jury of the fashion Mecca. Pay is usually non-existent at first blog but once a following is generated, savvy bloggers say revenue streams open up.
"My hobby of blogging helped me achieve a full-time career," Nguyen said. "I think bloggers should take on the fact that you may start off making no money from a personal blog but it can definitely lead you to other money-making avenues."
Elaine Lally, an expert in digital cultures and arts-business collaboration, says fashion blogging may be the way of the future for creative media industries.
While no formal, robust business model exists yet for making money from blogging, Lally points out that other revenue streams are out there.
“There‘s an emerging business model around crowd sourcing and funding to get projects off the ground,” said Lally, an associate professor in Communication at Sydney's University of Technology.
“Combining creative funding platforms such as kickstarter.com with social media to create word-of-mouth type buzz around Twitter and Facebook means you can get grassroots and viral marketing going for your fashion blog.”
For the professional fashion blogger who has worked hard and built an international audience, the rewards are substantial. With substantial follower numbers come the possibility that upmarket advertisers like Prada or Chanel may pay for upmarket advertising space.
A quick browse of the fashion blogging fraternity on Facebook throws up a perfect example in the form of facebook.com/#!/sydney.fashionblogger." "15,719 Likes" is the thumbs-up icon that greets visitors to its Facebook page, alongside a polished image of a glamorous brunette whose identity is masked. The top half of her face is obscured by her manicured hand, adorned with a bangle embossed with the unmistakable Chanel logo.
This blogger's current banner ads include Rogue, Europcar and GLAM Publisher Network, suggesting that the site is more than likely paying for itself.
Industry figures play down speculation that professional fashion bloggers pose a threat to the future of the traditional fashion magazine.
Nick Smith, Editor of GQ Australia, says it all comes down to the costs of presenting fashion authority.
A single issue of GQ costs approximately $80,000 to $100,000 to produce, excluding salaries and overheads. Against the near-zero expense of an online fashion blogger, costs this steep are an immediate and major hurdle for traditional media to overcome.
“These days a fashion image edited through Instagram can pull an audience as much as a $100,000 Mario Testino shoot for a magazine can,” Smith said.
Magazines have learned to work alongside bloggers over the years, especially where men's fashion is concerned.
"I think people will read the bloggers' work and we will still be seen as the anchor of authority because we’re trained and qualified,” Smith added.
“Fashion bloggers supply great content that is very engaging and aspirational to avid followers, but they will never overturn traditional magazines like Harper's Bazaar, Vogue Elle , who in my opinion are the pioneers of supplying superb fashion coverage,” she said.
“These magazines have their own strong presence online."
Fashion fanatic Kristina Ljubicic, a disciple of Sydney Fashion Blogger, says the bloggers are "always on-trend and up-to date” in a way that magazines cannot be, due to the three month delay between print deadlines and release.
“Even the most recent titles on shelves are automatically old news by the time they hit the stands," she said, explaining why she no longer purchases print titles.
"I would much rather read this information on my tablet or mobile screen, as it's instantly accessible and personalized,” Ljubicic said. "If the print world fails to adapt to this digital revolution, they are going to end up a medium of the past much like the music records in dad’s closet.”