Friday, December 23, 2011

"Hello, I Love You" or "Why Fashion Blogging Smells Like Raw Fish"





Do you remember that scene in Wayne’s World when Mike Myers pulls out a Coke and says “product placement?” At the time it was funny because it was 1992 and seemed so gauche and obvious. But advertising is tricky, because it’s not always that blatant. Advertising only works when you’re not aware of it, precisely because you’re not aware of it. If you think advertising doesn’t affect you because you are able to “tune it out,” you are wrong. Product placement isn’t always as clear-cut as it is in Wayne’s World. It isn’t just billboards and commercials on tv, it’s logos, brand names and the blogs you love.

Once you start to look at the world through a critical lens, things that previously seemed innocuous morph into full-blown manifestations of corporate control. It pains me to say this, but the vast majority of fashion blogs have become little more than glorified advertisements for online shops and products like Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots.

If you can imagine the world in 2007, before blogging was a job, some people had little buttons they posted proudly on the sidebar of their blogs. These buttons featured a cute little owl and read “Ad-Free Blog.” Personally, I got pretty attached to that owl and it featured prominently on this blog for years. I barely even noticed when the market started changing and people started getting paid to write certain words and feature links to improve the SEO of other websites. For a long time, I thought that refusing every single offer of payment was the best way to maintain the integrity of my site. I simply wasn’t interested in having a hand in advertising products I didn’t care about.

I first started to ‘advertise’ after receiving lot of sweet e-mails from Etsy sellers or online retailers who loved my blog and wanted me to pick out something to wear from their shop. There was no talk of compensation; writing about them was simply seen as a “thank-you” from me to them for sending me the dress. Then things got a little murkier. These simple exchanges were now referred to as “product reviews” and I started getting more and more offers from companies to hold giveaways for their product. Sure, a giveaway is a nice way to treat your blog readers, but when you really think about it, having to post about some product that I will never get to see or use and have no way of making sure my readers actually received the item reeks of utter dishonesty. I’m not getting a sample of the product for myself to see if it actually works, and only one person gets to win the product while your entire readership has to read a post about a specific product they have that chance to win. . I’m not being selfish here in my desire to not give back to my readers, I just can’t stand the idea of being used as a vessel of advertising, used to raise profit margins I will never have a stake in.

Some bloggers are out there chasing sponsors, treating their blogs like a full-time job. These days, I never solicit advertising, but whenever I get an e-mail and feel like having a little extra cash in my pocket I don’t refuse. Still, this sponsored content seems to stick out like a sore thumb amongst my eclectic sea of babble about 1990s music, kitschy laughs and downright strange outfits.

I am not an entrepreneur, just a regular person with a savant-like obsession with fashion. It distresses me that I have not learned to compete in this market, where the Sartorialist is hiring a Digital Ad Sales Director and I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that some people make an income off their blogs alone. It embitters me that I am stuck working in retail when I know I am a talented and passionate writer (oh, I mean “content producer”), just simply lacking in business sense.

Social media is no longer just a way to express yourself, it is now a tool for companies to promote and connect their brand with consumers. But as social media becomes increasingly the territory of big business, it becomes less and less appealing to the tech-savvy early adopters who helped to pioneer the medium.


A few weeks ago, I read a great blog post written by Danielle of Final Fashion about how being an insider in the fashion industry might be good for your career but is completely toxic to your creativity level. This truly resonated with me, because perhaps the reason why I continue to do new things and experiment with styles after six years blogging and it remains fun is because I’ve never “made it.” I started blogging before Susie Bubble, before Tavi Gevinson, before Bryan Boy and I have never achieved insider status or anything close to it. For example, in October 2011, FLARE Fashion created a slideshow asking 22 Canadian fashion bloggers to wear something from a Canadian designer. Picture after picture featured a blandly “fashionable” aesthetic that appeals to people with too much money, not enough taste and a charge account at Holt Renfrew. While I am being painfully honest here: I’m really self-conscious, sensitive and it hurt to be excluded. But even after the initial sting, I was embittered that none of the creative Canadian fashion blogs that I read and love (Nice and Shiny, Pull Teeth and Calur Villade) were included either. Whoever is creating this content was clearly going for mass appeal over unique perspectives.

But you don’t get anywhere in fashion by being a follower. The people who made the biggest impact in fashion, Isabella Blow, Alexander McQueen, Kate Moss etc. were the people who didn’t quite fit in but kept doing their thing and never let it bother them. I’m still as weird as ever, but unfortunately, I do care. Funnily enough, Danielle was the first fellow blogger that I ever met in person. She was a little older, and inspiring and funny and I told her that I would never “sell out.” Whatever that means, I have stayed true to myself to a fault, and never created anything I felt uncomfortable with. I’m proud to think that I haven’t “sold out” but I feel like simply by presenting myself as a fashion blogger, my irrelevance and inadequacy is highlighted.

Something is off, I can feel it. People no longer blog because they have the desire to share their unique perspectives with the world. Every single fashion blog is starting to look the same. That old quote “you are unique, just like everybody else” is starting to feel uncomfortable accurate. I don’t want to be a fashion blogger if that means (once again) being that loser girl with no friends who just doesn’t fit in compared to the glossy DSLR photos of girls with sleek hair wearing Celine. I still shop at thrift stores, will never be able to afford Celine and that’s totally okay. But I can’t compete with that because it’s just not my arena. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still interested in sharing my writing, my style and ultimately myself with the world but I would like to diversify and step outside of my comfort zone.

I understand that my relationship to blogging is similar to the relationship a musician would have with his or her own music. Each song is something they created, nurtured and worked really hard on; it is a part of them. But over time you change as a person, and that is always reflected in the music you write and the message it conveys. Your fans grow up, lose touch, start listening to something else. Sometimes the music industry as a whole changes and you become irrelevant, that is, unless you start making dubstep. But I hate the idea of clinging onto the music until it becomes progressively crappier and crappier and everyone hates you for not letting go when it was still good. It’s why tv shows that were only around for one season (Freaks and Geeks) are the best, because their message was perfectly preserved, cut short before they even had the chance to go downhill.

It kills me to think that this is “the end” of blogging, and I will not guarantee that this is the last blog entry I ever post. But it is undoubtedly the end of an era, and I thank you all for reading.

I will leave you off with pictures of me and my friends partying it up at the Alternatives Journal 40th Anniversary Party.




67 comments:

Caitlin Mullallers said...

HEAR HEAR! Could not agree more, well said girrl <3 There are no words for how spot on this is.

Hannah said...

I've been reading yr blog for years, & you express everything that I hate about th fash blog realm so perfectly. I know there are some excellent personal-style blogs still kicking out there, but th overall feeling of 'community' is so different & tainted compared to how it was even less than 5 years ago. Maybe that's why I could never fully devote myself to keeping a regular fashion blog, as time wore on & th advertising/selling yrself became more & more blatant. Blah. Don't stop blogging, though, you're a 'good one.'

megan said...

Great blog. In relation to what you said, it always bothered me that fashion bloggers who dressed head to toe in designer labels while looking exactly like everyone else got so much attention, versus the people who shop at thrift stores or mix up high/low end purchases for a look that is uniquely them. I really hope you keep blogging (if you still love doing it) because we need your voice.

megan
http://mallratcouture.blogspot.com

Meli said...

So much of this is spot on. However, I hope you won't leave us completely. Your style is so different from the "DSLR girls" that you mentioned, and I relish that difference. Sometimes I can't take any more of that type of blog, and then I have you, who are refreshingly different.

On a different note, I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson this week, and those whole time I was thinking that the character Jane could be a high-school version of you. I may be completely off with that, but as I read, she had your face.

coldrooms said...

This made me sad, but also hopeful, because bloggers like you still exist. Beautifully written.

Samantha Lui said...

Thank you for posting something that I have been thinking about for so long!! I used to follow a bunch of fashion blogs but they became so corporate and only featured outfits that said Courtesy of______, etc, etc.

They didn't even feel like writing content anymore! It was just oversized pictures!! So after a while, I started unfollowing a bunch of fashion blogs, but never yours. I enjoy posts that are insightful and I'm glad you have stayed true to your style and content and never did sell out.

Sorry for the long post!

Anonymous said...

Don't leave us we love you!

Christiane said...

Dear Isabel! I couldn't have written a better statement myself and I truly love you very much for this. Thank you. I am a huge admirer of you staying true to yourself and I love your fashion sense without being "Celine". You're closer to me than any other blogger, I can't name anyway. Please, return with whatever it is, that makes you feel comfortable, relevant and adequate. <3 Thank you!

Christiane

Madeline Quaint said...

I hope you're giving up this blog though - your style has always been so refreshing and of course your writing makes it even more super!

Don't let the bastards get you down, and I sorta mean this as a quote but this is what I'd tell you if I got to talk to you now in real life.

The DSLR girls who wear things we could never afford, the jetsetter bloggers who behave like celebs, the business bloggers who give away cutesy stuff every week... They are not the people who really inspire others. If we read them, we might feel like "I wanna buy that" "I wanna live the high life" "I wanna make money". Is that inspiration? No, that's jealousy.

Great piece of writing... Thank you for sharing, for having us. :) Keep up the real thing, Isabel!

Stephanie said...

I agree and I appreciate you being you. The tide can't easily be changed, but it's the under current of society that adapts and reappropriates technology and trends to create something more meaningful beyond the scope of the main stream.

Max said...

Extremely well written, and gorgeously honest post.
Please don't leave.
Though at the same time, I would never suggest blogging just for the sake of it, which if you feel disassociated with the fashion blogging world, you may be afraid of slipping into.
When I started blogging I was amazed that even one person wanted to read my blog, I blog for that one person, who takes the time to read.
You may never change the world (although knowing you, you may), but if you can reach even one person, like you've reached me,then isn't that amazing in itself?
Wish you all the best, and look forward to reading more from you.
Max

Laura said...

Bravo on this post. I was noticing the same trend in fashion blogs and thought that surely, someone else was aware of and unsatisfied by this trend? But I have never heard the problem articulated so well until your post.

To echo everyone else - I love your blog! I identify with you and your clothing choices, also being a young 20-something that can only afford thriftstores and will never be able to justify the expense of high fashion. In google reader I always b-line straight to your posts if I see you've updated. So, to repeat what many have said - don't feel like you have to blog out of necessity. If you feel good about writing and have something you want to share, we'll always be excited to read about it!

a. hrnić said...

Such a great and honest post, it really resonated with my own feelings on this subject. Thank you very much for taking the time to write this. Good luck with everything and I hope to read more from you in the future, some way or another.

Bryanboy said...

Great post.


However, I started Bryanboy.com in 2004. Before that I was blogging in a different platform.

Júlia said...

If this turns out to be your last post... Well, We'll miss you.
You have inspired me to try new things, showed me new bands and taught that the best camping clothes are always tye-dyes.
This is kind of sad, but I can't say I didn't see it coming. Your last posts sort of had the feeling that you are moving on and all.
Good Luck in life!

Anonymous said...

You were and are my favorite blogger all because you are real. You don't advertise. You stay true to yourself. Your outfits aren't certified by the fashion industry; they're your own personal style. In fact, I quit checking fashion blogs a long time ago all because of the reasons you gave for not wanting to be apart of that community. I still always check yours though, for you stayed true to yourself. I understand your decision, but damn, I'm gonna miss the one sane blogger left.

mynameisgiacobba said...

I only started reading your blog maybe a year or two ago, I love it because it is fresh and realistic. It's easy to get sucked into the glamorous miu miu infused blogs out there (which are good in their own way, who doesn't love miu miu?), but what I appreciate about your blog is exactly what you've said in this post: you haven't tried to be anything but yourself and you have shared yourself with your readers online in a way that is endearing and interseting!

Blanca said...

Isabel,
You expressed one of my biggest concerns about fashion blogs and the direction they are taking--though in a far more eloquent, organized and thorough way than I ever could.
I'm not a blogger myself, but I also have this "savant-like" attitude towards fashion. Your blog--THIS blog--was one of the first I ever followed, way back in 2007.
I hope this is not your last post, because I will miss you and your "musings" incredibly dearly.

Danielle said...

Dear Isabel,

You are one of my all-time favourite fashion bloggers. When I first found you I thought you were remarkable and inspiring and I still do.

It's strange that someone I think is so wonderful isn't more recognized for her good work, but then again, I feel somewhat under-appreciated as a committed, ambitious, idiosyncratic fashion blogger as well. I guess the things that I like just aren't appreciated on a mass level. Which, while sometimes being a bit frustrating, can also be very validating.

You and I both know as people who have been blogging for 5+ years that sometimes it grooves and sometimes it ruts. Sometimes your own blog makes you want to vomit. Sometimes that very same blog will feel like a divine gift that allows you to access your dreams.

I don't think that blogs are like TV shows. TV shows are ensemble creations, carrying a massive overhead that's hooked into the commercial system, and all of those factors contribute to the reason why it's difficult to sustain.

Blogs on the other hand, are individual creations - we're auteurs. We're driven to express, otherwise why would we bother? We don't need capitalism to underwrite what we do, to do what we do. It's a choice we can make, and I agree with what you've written here, it's a significant choice. I also like how you compare blogging to art. I think it is.

You might take a break, but you'll be back. At least, I hope so, because I miss you already.

love,
Danielle

Kamila said...

For the very reason, that fashion blogging became what it is now, you shouldn't stop! Your blog is so refreshing, in the flood of people who have absolutely nothing to say. It's so disheartening to see that what should be journal with inspirations and reflections on fashion becomes a Shopping Guide ("Buy it! Buy it here! Here!").

So please don't give up, beacuse you really make a difference. And the fact that not many people can see that - maybe that's a good sighn? That you're not what the 'mainstream' (ugh, i can't believe I used that word! XD) would appreciate. You're too smart for them, girl!

Katie said...

That was such a perfectly written (potential) last entry. I'm going to miss reading your entries, not just for your unique and refreshing outfit posts, but your strong and empowering voice. You have been so much more than a typical fashion blog, at least for me. You've been an intelligent, strong, feminist, modern, and enlightening perspective that the blogging world needs more of. Thank you for the intellectual and fashion stimulation over the years.

ana said...

Isabel, don't stop blogging. Yours is a singular and important voice in the realm of fashion blogging - you're consistent in writing thought-provoking and interesting 'content' and we need it to prevent it becoming wall-to-wall glossy girls with celine bags. Your blog reminds the rest of us that fashion is important in the lives of women and girls in a way that isn't just the usual commercial and money-driven rat race. it's a form of creative and emotive expression, as you're so good at saying.

you're completely right, though, and i understand what you mean about it being hard and feeling left out. But don't quit, please!
Ana

julia aka garconniere said...

holy shit. this is so much of what i've been thinking for years.

i'm not coming from the same place as you, though: i've only had my "fashion blog" since 2009, i've never accepted a single sponsorship but have been offered more than i can count. i hear you on the consistently feeling pushed to the sidelines in favour of more conventional blogs that toe the line. my blog is never going to make money for the same reasons as yours: we're too critical. not to say that those who accept sponsorships blindly are dumb and passive, but there is a part of it that is accepting/endorsing those ideas to some extent...

my fear is that fashion blogs are now reproducing exactly the same kind of norms they purported to challenge in the very early days. seeing "real" people's styles instead of being sold products via magazines.

personally, i've been writing about my life online for over ten years, and talking about fashion for a big chunk of that. most of my followers come from those days, even though the focus is pretty fashion centric and a lot less personal. i remember when someone posted about tavi in newestwrinkle and it started a big debate of sharing in livejournal fashion communities vs. having your own fashion blog. the reason we shared in livejournal communities, for the most part, was a way to get feedback especially if you lived in tiny towns where you got teased for dressing outside the box. where people would encourage you to thrift, and not just to buy the same brand of shoes/bag/etc. now those communities are completely dead, and a handful of the most popular posters (zana aka garbage dress, hannah of hannahandlandon, anja of clever nettle) are some of the it girls of fashion blogs.

i think i just categorically reject the idea that just because everything CAN be commodified/used for marketing purposes DOESN'T MEAN IT HAS TO BE. you really hit the nail on the head with this post and it really makes me want to take you out for a beer. come to quebec city and we can start plotting how to make a living by being stylish, critical babes.

Caitlin said...

I've been following your blog for quite some time now. I've bookmarked so many "fashion" blogs over the years and then consequently deleted them because they just never stuck with me. Yours has always been one of my daily reads, always stuck with me. I hope that you keep on writing for us. I love that you have a purpose, and that your page isn't loaded up with little Etsy and Modcloth ads (even though I love Etsy and Modcloth). I hope you stay with us, and if not, best of luck and good wishes for your future!
-Caitlin

Unknown said...

You are totally right. Don't blog because you feel you need to, do it because you want to. We'll miss your posts so much! Thank you for your honesty!

NIGEL NO TRENDS said...

Smart observations. The very reason why you shouldn't give up blogging

Carla said...

Even though I have only really been reading fashion blogs the past few years, I have begun to see even my favourite bloggers 'sell out' or spend more of their time trying to create and push their brand.

Fashion as consumerism was never your intent though, so it makes sense it doesn't fit with today's corporate industry. It's just a shame that fashion journalism and opportunities often only arise for those who are willing to show loyalty or fealty to a brand or product.

I'll keep reading whatever you're writing, so let us know what you're up to from time to time because I'm sure many of us would love to check in :D

meagan said...

nononononono please don't stop :\ that being said, the system these days REALLY sucks and everything you said is true, so I don't blame you. But good god, your blog is one of the painfully few that does not suck, is honest and true, and challenges norms rather than futhers them.

I think about it this way. If people like us stop blogging, they win.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, thanks for being a great inspiration + rebel grrrl! The internet and world needs more like you. Keep creating in some way though, your voice and swagger is needed and appreciated in a time when art and creativity is continually raped and pillaged for its money making and consumer appeal. Anyway, hope life gives you lots of love.

ariana said...

You are the best. Yours was the first fashion blog that I started reading and none have compared since. Your intelligence and feminism helped me find my own feminist and fashion identities, and for that I can't thank you enough.

Leah said...

Many others already commented on how well you articulated something that I (or we) have been feeling for some time. It's refreshing to know that's it's not just in your own head, it's something others feel too.

I've had 3 blogs in the time you've had your one and I remember reading yours wayyy back in the day, before you even posted outfit photos. Back in the time where blogging was a wee nipper, didn't feel quite so oversaturated with the same messages, and personally, I felt less bizarre commenting on blogs because I felt like I was connecting to like-minded people.

Hilariously, I imagine there are still plenty of 'like-minded' people who, perhaps, have felt progressively more frustrated with blogging, simply because of the constraints that seem to have appeared. It's a shame, in some respects, that so many are abandoning blogs due to the frustration of, well, not feeling that their voice is heard (enough), amongst the veritable chorus that is being churned out.

Anyway, it's your decision entirely whether you choose to continue or not. Personally, I enjoy reading your blog and what you say hasn't been lost, if you feel that, but I understand your viewpoint. I've been mulling over whether to start a blog again, because in uni, they're telling us on how useful they are now in terms of career blah blah blah (I'm studying fashion design, as so many hopeful designers are, if that makes it sound any less pretentious). Annoying because I've never wanted to be a 'blogger' - it's just something I once liked to do occasionally. My mother (who has never blogged in her life, but mother knows best) reckons that I should just treat it like any other medium and dip in when I want to use that outlet, or just move on to something else. I think what I'm trying to say is... whichever approach you take, I have no doubt we'll see something wonderful from you in the future.

(Sorry I wrote so much - maybe this is why I should keep a blog again...)

anna zefferys said...

i hope you keep trying to do what you are doing as it does make an impact. for myself when I'm creating, I gather inspiration from blogs like yours for the originality and honest passion. best wishes.

Anonymous said...

From your recent tweets, and this blog post, and the time of year it is.. It kinda seems like you're just feeling some holiday blues. It happens, and it's natural. Many people get depressed this time of year, myself included.

Don't make any important decisions, like shutting down your blog, during this time. It will pass. You will be back to your old happy and cute self in no time. I promise. :)

Magnet said...

I can't leave a huge post because I'm extremely pressed for time right now BUT, I have been reading your blog for years and it would be sad to see you move on.

I agree with everything you said. It's so damn obvious that loads of people have started to blog for fame. So much of the style I see on blogs now is no longer unique. So many of the girls dress so generically, like the popular girls at the high school I went to.

It's sad, no doubt. I read both issues of plant btw, I really liked it :) I posted a photo of myself holding them on my blog haha. Anyway, good luck with whatever you choose to do!

Luis said...

This post was amazing. You definitely hit everything on the nail, especially to those endorsements of JC Litas & Miu Miu Infused blogs.

Your blog definitely stands out, which makes you different than all of the other bloggers. To you it may not be a competition, but to everyone else... it is.

Please don't stop blogging.


Luis

Anonymous said...

I do appreciate your point of view. However, I find your tone rather elitist. Don't target Tavi, or anyone else, because they're blog gained them recognition in certain communities. I hardly think that a friendship with Ed Meadham that results in a post of a rad pipe cleaner crown constitutes a staunch business agreement. I enjoy reading your blog, but recently you have appeared a little uninspired. I don't appreciate your blanket statement about "fashion blogs today" as if there is no true inspiration to be found anywhere on the internet but here on your blog. Have a little perspective, please.

Sade said...

I went through a major fashion blog phase that border-lined on obsession. It got to the point where I began to engage in unhealthy comparison to the polished girls I looked at everyday. I decided to wean myself off of fashion blogging, but for some reason, your blog resonated with me in a positive way. It's the only one I have bookmarked. Everything about your style and personality seems so real to me, and I really appreciate that. I hope you don't disappear forever. We need you.

Anonymous said...

you are a fabulous, wonderful, and beautiful person. you will be missed.

ZombieLace said...

I don't think you should let the outside forces get to you. Just keep doing your thing and follow your bliss. People will either read it or not read it. That's why I don't like to think of myself as a "fashion" blogger but rather a "personal style" blogger. I'm just a person who loves the act of getting dressed in the morning and poking around the internet to see what other kind of getups are floating around. I definitely notice what you're talking about with the fading distinctions between fashion blogs and advertisements, but that's what THEY're choosing to do. Brush your shoulders, off, and don't deny us your crazy Isabel point of view! Chin up, buttercup. xoxo

Lindsay said...

I would just like to say AMEN. I have talked about this issue on my blog a few times now and it's just a shame that blogging has such a bad name. While I occasionally take opportunities to make money, I only do it out of sincere appreciation for the brand and what they do. With me, there is no middle ground. I either love something or hate it. Therefore, what is on my blog only captures what's in my heart.

Madeline said...

Lately, the fashion blogging world has become polluted with literally thousands of tiresome, self-promoting tools with nothing worthwhile to say except for "Love the shoes! xoxo [www.vapidblogname.blogspot.com]." I am so wistful for the much smaller, friendlier, inspiring arena that it was when I first started reading and writing blogs about 6 years ago. It was a sanctuary. It was a place to talk with like-minded people who weren't just trying to advertise themselves. I wish this forum for discussion still existed, but it's long gone.

I have been reading your blog since before I even started blogging, and since then I have started and stopped several fashion blogs, deleting them all for basically the same reasons you cited in this post. You may even remember me- we used to comment on each others' shit occasionally, but that's neither here nor there.

The point I am trying to make is, thank you for the eloquent and honest piece. You are easily worth more as a blogger than 20 of the Celine-wearing, fancy-brunching corporate shills. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those activities, but you know what I'm saying.

Thanks for keeping it real, I will keep checking up here as compulsively as I always have.

rachel said...

Aw man, i'll miss this blog. I totally relate to your clothing choices since I'm broke and buy almost all my clothes at thrift stores too. In a sea of ridiculous blogs yours is definitely set apart. Party on.

arno said...

Hi Isabel! Wow! You changed header of your nice blog. Happy 2012! I moved my blog (remember, rubber riding boots fashion!). Many kisses & happiness!

Anonymous said...

I started reading this blog in 2008. around the same time i was reading fashion toast and various other blogs. since that time this is the only blog that i still read regularly because its the only one i can still relate to

Laure Durand said...

I haven't been following your blog for years, or even months, but you have grown to be one of my favorite blogger. One that I look up for, one that shares her taste with her readers, that has an opinion and a mind of her own to think with. I have grown to admire, your determination and confidence have inspired me. Just to say that if you feel like you have to stop blogging, there is so many people out there that recognise your talent for writing and if they had the meen to make you famous would.
Sincerely, Laure

Angie Bitchface said...

I can't say I didn't see this coming, but I feel like the fact that these "DSLR girls" have taken over the fashion blogging sphere makes it even MORE important for people like you to be out there offering an alternative perspective. you have 2000 followers, so clearly there is interest in what you have to say, and I would venture to guess from the comments I've read that your followers are also more regular and more interested readers than the people who follow, say, fashiontoast.

as an analogy, Fugazi had a difficult time supporting themselves off of their art and managing everything themselves. they never made anything near the money they probably would have made if they had signed to a major label, but they were able to make a decent living, and made a whole bunch of amazing music and acquired a devoted fanbase that are still devoted 10 years after they went on hiatus. should Fugazi have broken up in 1990 because they would never reach the success of, say, Guns 'n' Roses? and because they were massively underappreciated? of course not. think of all the people who love them.

honestly, probably over half the people who read the popular fashion blogs are just there to mock or envy. my friend who's into fashion and I always make fun of those kind of blogs. but blogs like yours are the ones that I actually read and enjoy. so, in three words: don't give up!

Eline said...

Such a good posts, this has been on my mind for so long yet I was never fully able to express myself.

I think there are still some personal fashion blogs out there that bring their unique perspectives to the world, mostly very young girls and it's awesome to see that yet you do notice it has changed for the bad. I think expanding blogs to something more personal is what's up next for me. Or you know, quit.

Charlie said...

This sums up how I feel about blogging precisely. Sometimes I get down on myself about it, but there also came a time when I accepted that my blog wouldn't get as much attention as, say, The Style Rookie, that was okay. Those who read it like it for what it is, and don't want it to change to be more "successful." I know I read your blog a hell of a lot more than I even glance at the Satorialist. That being said, I hope you keep posting Isabel, even if it isn't as often, because you're my inspiration.

Róisín said...

Isobel!
I have never, ever commented on a blog before, I'm shy like that! But, I've been dipping in and out of Hipster Musings for years. Such a cliché (and an awfully weird thing to say to a stranger!) but I've loved reading your blog and you've actually inspired me in small, strange ways. I don't really know what to say that hasn't already been mentioned here, but I'll miss this blog. Really hope this isn't the end of HM, but best of luck with everything! x

Laura. said...

This really spoke to me.
I am not against advertising - I do get sent things and I have an advert on my blog. But I have turned plenty down too because I simply hate what they are offering or I wouldn't use it all.
I have tried to pull my blog together abit of the past 6 months and my readers have increased. I have clearly pictures - from a better camera etc. I don't think there is anything wrong in investing in your blog if you want to.
What annoys me is if I do spend time writing a post it gets hardly any views... :/ but I am going to power through.

The thing is I started my blog to become an industry insider - I want to be a fashion journalist - so the best way for me to start off in my mind was to blog.

WendyB said...

I always admire the musicians who keep evolving -- not clinging to their old music, not trying to repeat their breakthrough moment -- but still being creative.

Anonymous said...

ahhh please don't stop blogging! on a side note, the girl (not you) in the pictures at the end-is it just me or does she look exactly like that girl who occaisionaly appears in nchick's (nostalgia chick's) video as a fairy? i think so. here's a link to a video with her in it.
http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/team-nchick/nostalgia-chick/32202-shes-all-that

she appears around the 5:20 mark.

Roma said...

please don't go! I'll eat you up I love you so!
Seriously isabel, I'll fucking kill you if you stop blogging because your an internet genie with a writing related gift.

Sofie Marie said...

This was a fabulous read,not only well written,but full of relatable,interesting content. I started blogging about 2 years ago,and slowly I almost began to get a little mechanic in my blogging style(not to any great extent),because I got a little influenced by fashion blogging. I was on my own creative whirl,but at the same time I felt obliged to produce what is meant for "fashion bloggers"-"oh crap I haven't done any outfit posts in a while" "oh I probably shouldn't write about this super interesting but non related thing" were teasing my mind.I've changed my tune,selfish as it may seem,I really don't want to care about what my audience wants.

And I appreciate what you said about bloggers becoming corporate machines.It has been distressing me for a while,that blogs seem to be filled with of mainstream content,lacking in creativity merely for increase readerships and advertising purposes.
Thank you for sticking to your guns Isabel,it's always so wonderful when my dashboard lets me know of your recent post.
Sofie

Taylor said...

It would be a shame if your beautiful blog slowly fizzled out. Stick it to the man! Please keep posting regularly! I love your blog (me and about a thousand+ other people. I do admit to following some other blogs that post a "freebie" about once a freakin' week, but whenever there's a new post from you it's like a breath of fresh air. I've posted your outfits on my tumblr a bunch of times. Even if continuing doesn't exactly work out, thanks for being so Isabel.

Marlon Marie said...

In agreement with the rest of your readers, 'don't leave!'. Your talents truly come alive in this piece, they are a testament to the reason why your presence in the fashion cyber world is much needed!

From 'Nam with Love ;)!

edgeindustrialphotography said...

Isabel,
yours was one of the first blogs I found over 2 years ago.
undoubtedly without your blog I would not have even thought
of doing a blog. your template of writing what you wanted
to write (and so often not even clothes related) inspired
me a lot ... like when you wrote how you regretted not going to
gaga when your roomate did, and all the ian m/black flag/moz
bits that popped up - there's no way I'd have been influenced
the same by a lot of the current blogs that just write about
forthcoming collections, offer give-aways (and reveal very
little about themselves) it reminds me of when I used to do
a zine and would get cds sent to me to review - the thing
is I liked all the music that was sent to me but I hated
feeling obliged to write about them - I just wanted to write
about the things I wanted to ... that's why I did a zine
(and why I'm doing a blog) ... it may be one thing to get
1000s of followers doing a shiny fashion blog ... being
able to write like you can is *another thing altogether*
- George

Kelsey said...

Fantastic blog post. Could not agree more.

Space Cadet Betti said...

That was a truly brilliant read. I've been following your blog for a while and it's one of the few I read regularly because there isn't anyone doing what you do so well. I completely agree with you that most 'style' blogs these days conform to a certain mainstream aesthetic, and are more concerned with posting pictures conforming to what Elle has decreed are the trends to pick up this season. Not enough focus on true individuality and creativity. Hell, 90% of blogs I stumble across are written by people who can barely spell or use grammar. Please please PLEASE keep posting, the blogosphere would be a far worse place without you! Betti (torchthetreasure) x

Lylim| Flyleaf said...

"It distresses me that I have not learned to compete in this market, where the Sartorialist is hiring a Digital Ad Sales Director and I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that some people make an income off their blogs alone."

This is so well said. Even though I'm not a fashion blogger, in the world of lifestyle blogging I sometimes find it unreal that there are people out there who lobby for readers in a very real business-sense kind of way while all the time posting dreamy airbrushed posts and pictures of their daily lives. And its hard to admit, but just as much as it baffles me, it also distresses me that I haven't learned how to compete in my chosen field of blogging either.

LauraBee said...

Not everything you said resonated with me, (only in that I don't really relate and this is the first time I've read your blog ha) but I appreciate what you've said about bloggers hungry for ads.

I'm new to the blogging scene and would like to become established with other bloggers, but it seems like since I'm coming into it late in the game, everyone is just out to push their own pictures and product down everyone else's throat.

Of course I want other people to read my blog, but it's because I would like interesting feedback and conversation- not hey, great post check out my blog! (copy,paste,repeat)... I'd prefer complete obscurity over that-- which, given that I'm starting out, I have ha but on other sites like Lookbook or bloglovin it's constant spam.

Personally, I think that blogs with content do stand out a lot more and people can tell when you are being genuine.

Anyway- I don't know if any of this was cohesive- I'm kind of writing as I think, but thank you for being genuine and I enjoyed reading your post. Sincerely. Not just because I want you to read mine. haha

eyeliah said...

Great post. For me, reading blogs is like shopping 'vote with your dollars'. I am not wasting my time on cookie cutter bs, girls who just want sponsors and to be pretty, thin and famous. The blogs I connect most with are the quirky, the lesser known, the unfussy. P.S. You have one of my favorite styles on the interwebs and I am glad you see you continued posting after this.

vliin said...

Never (try to) fit in. Don't care and just do your thing. I read a quote today that said: "Everything we do is irrelevant, but it's extremely important that you do it." I used to get comments on my blog times when it featured more outfit posts and less text, I went for text all the way without pictures and receive no more comments. I think you should always stay true to yourself and do whatever YOU like, that way you'll be at your most natural. And you're doing that great. There, your 63rd comment!

Tiffany said...

I agree with these people. Everything is very well said.

death_sexxx said...

hope you stick around.
x

Kat said...

Just throwing my five cents in...but don't go! I enjoy your intelligent perspective too much.

Paulina Jones said...

Please please don't stop blogging!