The Fashion Blogging Phenomenon

Think of your favorite fashion blogs – Chiara Ferragni’s The Blonde Salad, Scott Schuman’s The Business of Fashion…the Anjé Clothing blog by yours truly 😉. Fashion blogging is a modern phenomenon that is now a norm in our culture. Imagine telling people 40 years ago that in the near future, they’d be able to make a living without having to suffer through a classic 9-5 job - simply by writing about their opinions and experiences with fashion from the comfort of their own homes. You’d probably be laughed at…scoffed at! The concept of fashion blogging is actually a little peculiar if you think about it too much. But where did it all begin? How did we, as a society start reading and following people based on what they write online?

If we want to take it wayyy back, I would argue that it all started with Bill Cunningham. This adorable, bike-riding, gem of the fashion world was known for his uncanny ability to spot trends by snapping impromptu photos of NYC’s most fashionable residents on the streets. In 1978, Bill Cunningham’s street style column of the NY Times rocketed to popularity when it showcased a photo of the famous icon of androgyny, Greta Garbo. Cunningham’s column is often thought of as the first bout of street style mania that led to fashion blogging.

Of course, a few technological developments along the way have facilitated the fashion blogging craze that we know and love today. In 1995, the online platform “Open Diary” was created, allowing people, for the first time, to write about their thoughts and experiences in a very public way. The conception of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) was another major step to the “following” society that we are today. RSS, to put it simply, allowed people to subscribe to websites and receive notifications when new content was added, (essentially allowing people to follow a website for the first time).

With these tech developments brewing, the very first fashion blog, StyleDiary.net was created in August of 2004 by a woman named Patricia Handschiegal. She was the first to document and write about her outfits and purchases, gaining a strong following although admitting that she wasn’t an authority on fashion. It didn’t take long for many eager members of the fashion world to follow suit. By October of 2004, Bryan Yambao created his iconic blog, BryanBoy, where he chronicled his daily life and shopping adventures. The Sartorialist, written by Scott Schumann, began in 2005 and is still highlighting fashion from the streets today. There is a plethora of other blogs that arose in the years after, including Susie Lau’s Style Bubble, Tavi Gevinson’s Style Rookie (which she started at the age of 11), and Imran Arned’s The Business of Fashion.

Now, to get technical, today, there are three main types of fashion blogs. We have fashion industry insider blogs (like The Business of Fashion and Anna dello Russo) that are written by fashion professionals who share their thoughts and first-hand experiences working in the fashion industry. Then there are personal style blogs (think The Man Repeller and The Blonde Salad) that are written by everyday people sharing their own style. These bloggers can eventually become fashion insiders based on the success of their blog. And then we have photoblogs (like Street Peeper, and Jack and Jill) that mainly showcase images of streetstyle, especially on the streets of a fashion week.

Image via streetpeeper.com

 With the blogging boom that has taken our society by storm, it may seem useless to try it out yourself. But what I love about blogging is that it provides a platform for anyone and everyone to express their thoughts and opinions! Fashion is not dictated solely by those who work within the fashion industry. If there’s anything that fashion blogging has taught us, it’s that fashion rests in the hands of everyday people more than ever!

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If fashion blogging sounds like something you’d get a kick out of, go for it! Who knows, maybe you’ll become the next big influencer 😉.


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