With fashion blogs becoming increasingly powerful in the world of media, and sales of almost every major fashion magazine falling in recent months, the question of whether monthly glossies can continue to compete with their online counterparts has once again been raised.
Having been around from as early as 2002, fashion blogs are nothing new, but their influence is now more widespread than ever. With their ability to offer an immediacy and accessibility that print magazines simply cannot compete with, it’s no wonder that many successful blogs, such as stylebubble.co.uk and fashiontoast.com can reach tens of thousands of unique hits per day. For some prominent bloggers, their originality and creativity has led to opportunities beyond their websites, from design collaborations and modelling for top brands, to freelance writing. Blogging success story Emily Schuman of cupcakesandcashmere.com even gave up her career at Teen Vogue to focus solely on her website, which spawned a bag-designing-partnership with Coach and an upcoming book due out in Spring.
So what makes fashion blogs so special and why are they so influential? Maybe because it’s so refreshing to see a real girl, showcasing trends in a real, relatable way. No stylist, no airbrushing, no makeup artist. Or maybe because, in an industry that’s so fast-paced, we simply can no longer wait a month for the magazines to hit the news stands.
Vogue Italia Editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, certainly doesn’t buy into the hype and believes blogs are “a trend and like it happens with all trends in fashion, it gets blown up out of proportion and creates many followers”. The appeal of the glossy magazine is long-standing and despite a recent decline of 9.2% in the business, they certainly don’t look like they’re going to become obsolete anytime soon.
The expertise and knowledge that goes into creating a magazine like Vogue or Elle every month is unparalleled, and Anna Wintour herself recently told Women’s Wear Daily that “with all the new media outlets out there, with all the noise, a voice of authority and calm like Vogue becomes more important than ever”. Anna certainly has a point — when thousands of style blogs exist, all dying to share their latest purchases and street style looks, it can seem pretty overwhelming. Magazines then become a haven, somewhere where you’re guaranteed page upon page of beautiful clothes, expertly written articles and high-fashion editorials.
Magazines do seem to be taking note of the huge influence and selling power blogs have, often featuring interviews or profiles on top fashion bloggers and continually embracing and expanding the online side of their company. The American version of Glamour magazine even have resident bloggers posting multiple times a day on topics ranging from fashion and beauty to relationships and exercise. Perhaps this is a sign that the two types of fashion media understand the importance of one another and are forming a mutually beneficial relationship.
In reality, it’s difficult to imagine blogs and online magazines ever replacing iconic monthly fashion magazines, magazines that have a history spanning decades, a prestige, and the ability to propel a designer’s career with a single mention. It’s difficult to imagine blogs fading into obscurity either; in our digitalised culture, they are only becoming more relevant and necessary to feed our seemingly never-ending quest for the latest news and information. And when they both seem to be sticking around for the foreseeable future, putting one in contention with the other does seem a little pointless. Maybe then, it’s time to appreciate fashion blogs and magazines for what they are: two very different forms of media, with different benefits and intentions, but both still offering a wealth of inspiration and advice. After all, support for creative and original writing or art is fundamental, no matter what form it comes in.