11 May 2008

Fashion On the Internet

Blogging materials like how-to-books-on-blogging are quite scarce. I mean there are loads of articles and advice on the net but it’s up to you to make time and web surf for the advice and info you need. So when an opportunity comes along to attend a talk by bloggers or online fashion editors, you take it! Being as I live quite close to the apple store and I’ve been reading Style Bubble’s blog for two years there was no hesitation to go up there and listen to the advice and experiences of Guy Hipwell (founder and editor of fashion 156.com), Style Bubble (international blogger and reporter to fashion156.com), and Elliot Sainsbury (Menswear correspondent and daily blogger to fashion156.com).

It’s important to recognize what fashion156.com is and what it represents to the industry, to then appreciate its contributors and what they were sharing with us. Back in 2006 when the fashion industry was iffy about blogs and the fashion on the net, Guy Hipwell wanted to start an online glossy magazine that showcases new designers with edgy stories and photo shoots. For example, he was very inspired by the 2046, the movie, and wanted to put together a photo shoot that was inspired by it.

When no one showed any interest in his idea and Miu Miu put an ad campaign together that took inspiration from 2046, he knew he was unto something. After his AHA! Moment he decided he wanted to start a magazine where he could shoot what he wanted.

He worked with photographers to produce strong imagery, and hired great models to dress them in high end clothing. His previous Autumn 08/09 shoot was one of the hardest to shoot and pull together because it no one had seen the clothes yet and it was quite early on in the season that he wanted to shoot them for his mag.

There is a new issue every 12 days- talk about speed! But I guess that is the beauty of the net, how fast you can get information out there. Guy talks about how important it is for fashion156 to have a simple clean site so he can upload content faster without worrying too much about changing the template. He works with a simple template system. He talked quite passionately about his new issue, the paint issue which will include all hand painted garments that will then be auctioned off for charity. He is also working on putting together an exhibition showcasing the hand painted garments.

What is equally innovative about fashio156.com is the number of pages dedicated to menswear. There are 10 pages dedicated to both men and womenswear. Talk about symbolism. Its clear Guy thinks of men and women’s fashion as equally important. It is no new fact that there is lack of menswear coverage, and it’s great to see Guy challenging that concept.

There are roughly 30 people who contribute for each issue, and Guy puts together a theme for each one. It allows him focus and direction; it also keeps things edgy, and makes planning for the next issue easier.

What struck me most about when Guy was talking was truly how fast things work on the net. As a whole fashion is a fast paced, even insane paced industry, and its coverage on the net is even faster and more spontaneous. There is just so much to take in, it’s almost overwhelming. Fashion trends, and catwalk coverage are out within minutes of the shows, people could be commenting/reviewing them on the same day, and everyone is looking for the next new thing a few days later.

In conclusion Guy seemed engaging, passionate about fashio156.com , and most importantly open to new ideas and working with new designers, bloggers, writers. It was refreshing to hear him speak. You also get a real appreciation for what he has put together because just a couple of years ago online glossy fashion magazines were unheard of.

Style Bubble writes the Fashion Spy Column and the news bits and current news for fashion156.com. She tries to make fashion news and headlines sound more interesting and personal than the press by experiencing things herself as well as writing it from her point of view. She also looks at her column with fashion156 as an extension of her blog. She started the blog back in 2006 at the same time as the launching of fashion156. She works as a digital media planner during the day and blogs in her spare time. She was inspired by Diane Pernet who pioneered fashion blogging at a time when you could count the number of fashion bloggers on your fingers.

Susie tries to cover things that are under the radar and the real aspect of fashion. She writes about new labels, shops and exhibitions she visits, as well as her personal experience with fashion. For all of you Susie fans who wondered why her blog is called Style Bubble, her nic back in her childhood was Susie Bubble because she always seemed like she was in her own world.

Susie sources her info by spending about 100 pounds buying magazine every month, and reading about 200 blogs (I don’t quite know if it was in a day or a week). She also likes to experience things herself and tries to attend as many events as possible to then report it instead of using bland pr releases. Talk about being updated!

Writing doesn’t take her long, but sourcing the right images and then laying them out together takes her longer.

She gave away a lot of tips and advice for bloggers like how she explores style and fashion and by demonstrating it and exploring it herself instead of copy pasting images. You get a real sense she is emotional about fashion and she’s blogging for the love of fashion instead of the business aspect of it. She also tries to keep her blog as ad-free as possible. For new blog boomers Susie tries to inject as much as of her personality into her blog as possible, and I think that is the best way to approach blogging.

Elliot Sainsbury read about Susie Bubble in the metro and ripped her off by creating a blog very similar to hers but from a boys point of view. He called it mainstreamliving. He talked about men’s approach to fashion and how in general it was hard to convince them to try something new and were a tad slippery when it comes to fashion in comparison to women. He then sent some his work to Guy Hipwell who then signed him up as menswear correspondent. He alongside Susie, both get free reign to write about what they want.

He talks about the positive aspect of blogging which he says toughens you up and makes you become faster when researching, writing, blogging etc. Elliot also recommended checking out the new Topman blog, TOPMANZINE, ponystep.com, mensrag.com and the ever so popular Sartorialist who documents both menswear and womenswear, and hones in on detail beautiful details in clothes.

By the end of the talk I was really aware of the industry’s negative view on blogging and fashion on the internet a few years ago, but you can now see that it is becoming better and the big players are realizing they have to deal/correspond/accept bloggers to their own benefit. There is still so much to learn about the mysterious blogging industry and not enough info available but it just makes attending these events more worthwhile. If you couldn’t make it, I hope this post is full packed with info which can be of some use, it def was to me.


poppy lee said...

such a good post.

i can't remember if i said that i went to this too (i was pretty drunk when i commented on here late on friday night and can't remember what i put!) i think you pretty much covered everything they said.

i might mention this post on my blog actually, when i get round to updating.

fashionambition said...

thankss! yeah you told me we both went ! what a small world seriously! yeah i was taking down notes like crazy!! im such an obsessive note taker!

yeah link this this to your site- go for it !

poppy lee said...

it's done.

i seriously need to stop commenting on blogs when i'm drunk. what an absolute loser!

Francis Girard said...

Goodness, I was there also, why didnt we all get together and for a drink - next time something like this pops up we all need to be more vocal on line and grab a cocktail after the gig. ps. i would love to link. xf

fashionambition said...

so true francis! us bloggers have many things in common! hahah , we should organize some sort of get together, i read about fashion bloggers in ny getting together for a dinner once a month to network!

Anonymous said...

Странно, искал совсем не это, гугл выдал Ваш сайт, и судя по всему не зря, есть что почитать! Goodwork!