Monday, February 11, 2013

Are bloggers too united?


These days, it isn't surprising to see bloggers sitting in front row seats at fashion shows, gracing magazine covers, or appearing in mainstream media as legit forms of celebrity and influencer. Case in point: Bryanboy. The self-styled Filipino blogger now has a judging stint at America’s Next Top Model, among other projects I’m sure you have heard countless of times.

I myself am a blogger and find this idea democratizing. You don't need to write a book, carry a hit single, or act in a big-budget movie to make yourself famous. All you need is a decent bandwidth, a shameless ability to promote yourself, and some haters. Wit is optional.

A subspecies of this breed, and perhaps the most popular, is the fashion blogger. This type is gaining momentum as one of the fashion industry's darlings. Flip to any page of Vogue and you’re bound to see them posing in their trademark pose. In the Philippines, quite a number of them began endorsing SM. I think fashion bloggers are put on a pedestal because of the organic appeal of their style – their clothes are wearable and aren’t like what we see on the runways, which is a carefully curated look. Fashion bloggers are real, and wear what they want. But why is it that these bloggers are beginning to look the same?

Blogs used to be a very personal thing. It reflects the things, tastes, and thoughts of the writer. Each blog is unique in its perspective and style. But browse through some of the more popular sites and you’ll see these girls (and guys) wearing the same things in the same styles from the same stores. Then there is the blogger pose: looking down, feet facing each other, hair down, one hand on hip and the other playing with a lock of hair.

You begin to wonder if these bloggers have the same tastes or are copying each other. You also wonder if the sameness of everything is a result of clever PR folks who see the golden opportunity in bloggers and their readers. Gone are the days when you’d read entries about their crushes (or cats) and their latest vintage find at the Cubao ukay. Today, most blogs read like catalogues of advertisements. Today it’s about retweet this, hashtag that, and can you please, please, please hype this look on Lookbook?

Blogs are beginning to look the same. What used to be an alternative space for unique voices is now an army of well-dressed clones. Well-dressed, yes, but isn’t running into someone with the same exact outfit a major fashion faux pas? What happened to that rule?

It's funny how the blogosphere is a microcosm of real life. The more established bloggers are supported by sponsors, endorsement deals, and the power to influence. Unfortunately, some of these are the bloggers in question, to whom originality is not put to a premium. Like real life, we have the small independent bloggers who silently relay their thoughts and #ootd, many of which are highly entertaining and great.

I'm not saying that these bloggers should change styles. I’m a live and let live kind of guy and I’m a big fan of floral prints myself. I love color and leopard prints. If I had more time, I think I would venture into the business of fashion blogging and would fit in with these bloggers.

What we need are bloggers who are original, who have a unique approach to fashion and who dare go against the grain. We demand people who have cute shoes and original points of view, not bloggers who beg for hypes and end up with endorsements with makeup brands and online stores. All I’m saying is, stop being a vehicle for promotions and post some original content. I mean, how many satchel bags and wedges do we really need to see before it becomes ironic?

On our part as readers, we should ask for more. There are styles beyond peplum skirts, skyscraper-high heels, and bangs. Let our tastes evolve. Explore the interwebs and you will see a wide variety of bloggers that you can associate yourself with better. Or find a real blogger who actually posts content. Being invited to cover an event is one thing, but copying and pasting the press release is another thing altogether.

Bryanboy is perhaps the best example of a fashion blogger. He has lived the life even before fashion blogging became a cultural and glamorous phenomenon. Stories have circulated about his checkered past, but he has succeeded because he refused to fit into a stereotype. His clothes were often trashy, but they were original. If I see another bag being modeled in 10 blogs, I think I’m going to die.

15 Comments:

GeloYellow said...

Very nice article! :) I strongly agree on posting original content instead of copy-pasting the press release :))

Koji Arsua said...

IKR? There are some bloggers who post original content even if they are invited to cover an event (like Cecile Van Straten of Chuvaness), but there are those who are too lazy and just copy-paste the press release. Nakakahiya din sa PR because they invited you.

Wonder Woman said...

AMEN! We also need more bloggers who actually write engaging stuff on their blogs amidst the many OOTDs and promotional shiznit that they post - preferably in flawless English like the one I am currently commenting on.

P.S. You're welcome for the mini ego boost. Don't let it get to your head. Haha. Following you now :)

Koji Arsua said...

Hi, Ariangel! Thank you for dropping by!

I think you are a perfect example of the blogger we need. You feature events (like the preview of Rama Hari) and items (like the bracelets), but you write about them from a personal point of view.

I also like your couple shot. Cute skirt!

Michelle Tumanpos said...

This is true. I've been taking sweet sweet time reading as of blogs as of late. It's really hard to find something untainted by the hullaballoo of marketing strategists. No one writes about their point of view without trying to plaster an endorsement from hair color, contact lenses to pedicures in their blog. Parang natatapilok na ako habang nagbabasa.

Maybe it has some personal advantage to do what a corporation wants you to do, but it's not smart to put all endorsements or be in events without even writing much about it.

Koji Arsua said...

Hi, Mich! Many blogs these days are catalogues for the brands they are "collaborating" with.

I can recommend some of my favorite bloggers. I really like Carina Santos (http://www.nothingspaces.com/blog) and Regina Belmonte (http://vivatregina.tumblr.com/)

How about you, care to recommend some bloggers? :)

Nikko Panti said...

I also find it hard to find bloggers who posts things that they "really" like and "really" use. You can see on their posts that they use this certain shoe, but the next day it's a different kind, and the next day new endorsement. Plus the pose, so hard to digest -- but not all! I love bloggers, but the trying-hard bloggers, honey whatchadoing?

Michelle Tumanpos said...

Ohh, I read Regina's once in a while.

I get busy with backpack diaries :) I need great convincing that I can do it too, explore the world

My recommendations would beeee...
http://thetravellingdork.com/
and http://www.thelongestwayhome.com/blog/


and something for the funny bone:
Ms. Chinieh Diaz, 40-ish woman's doodling:
http://fabafter40.tumblr.com/

Koji Arsua said...

Nikko, that's true. It's hard to find sincerity in the blogging world. But I guess that's how advertising works? You don't really expect Kris Aquino to trust a business networking venture, whatever the ads may say.

But blogging is supposed to be personal, an online diary. It's supposed to be your voice, not the PR and marketing team's voice.

Blogging is dead, if I may quote Don. Chaux.

Koji Arsua said...

Hi, Michan!

I love Regina even if she blogs mostly about makeup. We have some common friends and though I have yet to meet her, I can feel that she is humble and down-to-earth. Take note, her grandparents are Sonny and Betty Go-Belmonte. Plus, she buys the makeup that she "endorses" on her blog.

I will check those recommendations out!

Anonymous said...

Nice read. I think blogging killed journalism.

Keeno Videncio said...

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/the-circus-of-fashion/

This seems appropriate for yourpost. :)

Koji Arsua said...

Hi, Keeno!

Thank you for the recommendation. I have read that post by the brilliant Suzy Menkes and she is spot on in the current state of "fashion journalism." I totally agree.

singlemomincebu.com said...

Hello Koji,

I'm not sure how exactly I got here because I was just randomly surfing the net but I'm glad to find your blog especially this post.

It's really enlightening and I must say that I agree with all the points raised.

We, however, cannot blame PRs or marketing people for the proliferation of these lazy free loading bloggers.

We can only hope that these shameless bloggers will set some deal of ethics for themselves or for the readers to be able set apart the pretentious from the real. ;-)

Koji Arsua said...

Hi, Regina! Thank you for dropping by my blog.

Yes, I agree that we can't blame PR because they're after metrics, and big blogs can provide that. I also agree that bloggers should have stricter ethics and be more original.

P.S. Lance is so cute!

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