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THE STYLE INTELLIGENTSIA

 

 

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

― Mark Twain

 

Welcome to the Age of Aesthetics – a time when image and public perception has become inextricably linked with one’s worth in the society. Ours is a show and tell generation, as in “show us what you’ve got, and we’ll tell you who you are.”

 

This climate of hyper consumerism is made even gnarlier by the recent strides in communication technology. Nowadays, everyone who has a social media profile has a platform. Everyone who has a website is a brand. Everyone who has access to Google is an expert. Everyone who has an opinion has a voice. Like it or not, this is the world we live in now. It’s great for the consumers – but for fashion editors, not so much.

 

Recently, Vogue.com editors published a recap of the Milan Fashion week, which ended up making headlines for its vicious commentaries on the rise of the blogging industry. Yes – the exercise now warrants the word “Industry,” for not only are bloggers “many,” they have also become increasingly academic – obviously, to the point that fashion editors now feel the need to mitigate their presence in the media space by undermining their qualifications.

 

We sat down with some of our favorite bloggers to get their insights on the blogging phenomenon, as well as their opinion on the issue of Bloggers Vs. Editors.

 

USHI SATO

www.theshadesandscarf.com

www.ushisato.com

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Style Philosophy

When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else.

What makes your point of view unique?

I guess the urge to revolt against what most people identify as “stylish.” I tend to make my own flow than to go with the flow. There’s always a story to the outfits I wear, and I think it’s that element of expression that makes dressing up more interesting. I don’t sacrifice my style or sanity to fit in. It’s just never worth it.

A day in the life of a fashion blogger

When I was still balancing being a blogger with my job as a buyer and merchandiser, it was full of fashion and out and about moments. It was pretty hectic but fun. But now, having my own business as a full time designer, I have to focus more on the quality of my content, and not just the quantity. The content that I usually blog now are related to what I like to do and what I currently do. It’s more on sharing my lifestyle – more suggestive and informative.

In a week I blog around 4-5 posts. I’m not the best writer, so I tend to like on focusing to it than sharing social media photos. I draft my blog post in advance whenever I’m not too busy.

Just how much work goes into maintaining a successful blogging career?

I’ve been blogging since early 2009 and I must say if you put a lot of fun on doing it, you’ll never feel that there’s a lot of work on maintaining a blog. Dedication is a must, and you need to work hard on it patiently. Success doesn’t come overnight. You know you’re successful if you manage to maintain the image of your blog throughout the years. Your content and reach grow, but the core values of your “brand” remains the same. That’s how you become unique and memorable. Staying true to your identity is the best way to carve your niche in the mediasphere.

Are bloggers the new fashion editors?

There’s a big difference between the two. The whole point of being a blogger is independence. We are free agents. We do not have a boss to review and approve our work, and constrict our thinking with editorial calendars. We are the creators, editors, and critics of our own content. Everything is direct and honest. Fashion Editors, they EDIT what they want to publish – they have to conform to the rules of the publication, and oftentimes, to the demands of their advertisers.

It’s pretty easy to understand actually. I think the Bloggers Vs. Editors debate arises because of brands and retailers who tend to rely solely on bloggers for their marketing strategies. It’s all about business, and bloggers today are business people! We also have bills to pay!

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What roles do bloggers play in the fashion industry?

Fashion bloggers today play a huge role on “fast tracking” a campaign. Bloggers can very quickly decide and communicate if the product is an absolute ‘no’ or a ‘yes’. We can whip up a campaign in an instant: modeling, photography, reviews, etc. And because we do not have the system of feedback and approvals that plague a marketing department or editorial team, we can get our message out quickly and spread it across the Internet like wildfire.

What is your ultimate goal as a fashion blogger?

I’m a designer by profession and my goal is to make my brand more stable. My blog is already my brand. 🙂

What can you say to aspiring fashion bloggers?

You need to enjoy the things that you do. Do not sacrifice your style or sanity to fit in. Be original and consistent, and stand for what you believe in.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO YOUR CRITICS?

Just continue watching me. I know you enjoy it.

 

 

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JIM JOQUICO

www.fashionchameleon.ae

 Style Philosophy

I’m not the kind of person you’d be able to box into one specific style, because I tend to wear a little bit of everything. Menswear is already boring and restricted enough and sticking to certain look isn’t going to help any. I don’t prepare outfits even a minute in advance because it’s the spontaneity in putting things together that I really enjoy.

I guess what makes my work unique is instead of showcasing a “signature style,” I inspire my followers to explore other avenues of finding their own aesthetic. Rather than copying people on Instagram, they should arrive at their own take on personal style – and they’re not going to get there if they do not experiment even a tiny bit.

 

A Day In the Life of a Fashion Blogger

First there’s the research – you need to know what’s happening now and what designers are putting out there. Then you either buy clothes and accessories or arrange to work with brands who will gift or loan you some pieces to shoot. Then there’s more research to be done – i.e. where do you shoot and are you allowed to do it there? What’s the concept? What will make this shoot unique? All of this questions need to be answered ahead of shooting day.

Then comes the easiest part of the job – the shoot. You need to prepare the essentials – camera, lenses, memory cards, any other equipment you might need to support the concept you are bringing to life.

Afterwards, there’s the processing bit for the photos you’ve shot. With up to 300 raw images per look, the first thing to do is narrow the set down and choose your 10 best. Then you choose the five that you’re willing to spend time in editing, which can take about 15 minutes per image if you’re just doing minor corrections. Once the visuals are done, you go back to the original concept and write up a blog post – this one can take days if you value what you put your name on. The last part is planning for different social media platforms and how you’re going to go about making the same set of photos interesting for your followers.

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Are bloggers the new fashion editors?

No, that was never the intention of having bloggers join the fashion scene. I think brands are to blame for oversimplifying the equation in the beginning. Because they had never had to deal with bloggers before, they didn’t know what to do with them. So they treated them the way they had been treating traditional fashion media for decades and this whole feud came to life and would never just die.

Bloggers, at least when they started, presented a different take on fashion that was away from the establishment. If Vogue was telling its readers, this is what you need to wear now, bloggers were showing their followers, this is what I chose to wear, period. There was no hint of authority, but instead inspiration for people who run out of ideas what to wear on some mornings. The dynamics have since changed, with the idea of blogging becoming so commercialized that people are not only doing it as a career, but also inspiring others to get into the business themselves.

To assume that bloggers need to play a role that affects where the industry goes is a little arrogant, but that’s not to say they don’t. The really big ones can make or break a startup looking to get noticed, but other than that, even I don’t think bloggers should concern themselves with such an overwhelming task, because it takes away from the roots and essence of blogging.

 

What can you say to aspiring fashion bloggers?

If you’re in it for the money, there are other, easier ways to make it. Know what you’re getting into because this is a lot of hard work. You’ll reach a point where you’ll turn a profit, but until then, you’re going to have to suck it up and make a name for yourself. You really need to want to be doing this so ask yourself if it’s going to be worth your time.

What do you say to your critics?

Learn to write and take better pictures. Then maybe you’ll be good enough to criticize people.

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LO PASCUAL

www.locloset.blogspot.ae

 

What is your style philosophy?

Composition. It’s like photography, you have to have an overall angle of vision to make your style work. It’s all about the details and how you would play around with it. I actually learned the hard way since I used to buy a lot of stuff and end up taking one outfit photo of it and never wearing it after which also took a lot of space in my closet. I’m now typically someone who would buy a shirt and would have to think of five ways on how I would wear it and which type of occasions I would wear it.

 

NEVER be afraid of repeating a piece of clothing, ‘cause why not? I always remind myself that if I look good in it, there’s no reason not to repeating it again. Be practical and don’t think about what other people would say. You do you.

 

 

What is a typical day in the life of a fashion blogger like?

To give a rough outline, you firstly have to plan and schedule your shoots especially if like me you have a day job.

 

Plan your blog OOTD at least two days before and try it out in the mirror before the day of the shoot, I always have to have a back-up outfit just in case I realize the first outfit doesn’t work. Early in the day I think of a location on where to do the shoot and make sure that my memory cards are clear and my camera batteries are full.

 

Most fashion bloggers like me rely on natural sunlight so I suggest you do your shoots at least an hour and 30 minutes before sunset meaning you also have to quickly Google what time the sunset will be. In the evening do your edits and blog draft and schedule your posts depending on the peek time and day where you are located.

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Are bloggers the new fashion editors?

I would strongly say no. The way I would go with this is that Fashion Editors have dedicated their full life with fashion. They know all the past, present and could event predict a new trend. They know the history and the story behind all the fashion brands and designers and always in the lookout of an upcoming new talent. And yes some fashion bloggers are the same but most bloggers I know and follow are more in a controlled environment with a like-minded follower base that relates to their specific style or taste. We don’t necessarily have to know everything about fashion because we basically follow our own rules. It’s really an apples and oranges type of situation and no one is better than the other but each has the same end goal to inspire people to discover their own unique sense of style.

 

What roles do bloggers play in the fashion industry?

Relatability is usually a strong point that all fashion bloggers should have. Like I previously said we are here to inspire like-minded people that strongly relate to our unique style and taste. In my personal experience and observations, people who follow me also follow the bloggers and influencers I follow. Look at this like a Pinterest board: You filter things you don’t like and pin the things that you are specifically interested with. It’s all about our ability to create a visual impact that mirrors our follower’s thought vision which makes them think “Hey, I could also wear that!”

 

What can you say to aspiring Fashion Bloggers?

Be patient. Don’t expect one outfit post to put you in the map. It takes a lot of hard work. Aside from outfit posts, you have to be able to connect with your followers and even fellow aspiring fashion bloggers. Have fun, do meet-ups, get to know each other and be open to do collaborations.

 

What do you say to your critics?

I take critics as people whom I can learn from. These are the people who would help you grow and not necessarily tell you what to do and what not to do. It’s important to pay attention to them especially if their comments are constructive and something you could develop. However, there’s a strong difference between critics and haters. I see influencers and even celebrities who continue to feed on their haters because they keep on addressing them. The best thing you can do against haters is to ignore them completely and go on to continue what you like doing as long as you don’t say or do something offensive. Always put your best foot forward.

 

 

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RYLE TUVIERA

www.iamthefiercewalker.blogspot.ae

What is your style philosophy?

My style philosophy is classy, edgy and cohesive. I always have a vintage piece somewhere in my outfit – though it might not look obvious. I always like to take something old and turn it into something fresh and relevant.

My point of view is unique, especially here in the UAE, because I always break the rules. I don’t wear trendy stuff. I always like to convey a sense of exclusivity and mystique. I don’t want to look like anybody else other than my true self.

Just how much work goes into maintaining a successful blogging career?

It depends if the blogger has a full time job or if he’s freelancing. In my case, I have a full time job. I do a lot of work here and internationally, so planning is a major part of my process.If  you think you can just start a blog and then it’ll just sort of run itself, you’re wrong. Blogging requires a lot of coordination and collaboration.

Are bloggers the new fashion editors?

Bloggers are not the new fashion editors, and they shouldn’t have to be. We all have a role to play in this industry, and we do not have to cannibalize each other’s importance. Fashion Editors represent a more “learned” perspective – one that is honed by years of experience, be it practical or academic.It’s not just the content that they need to think about. They also need to factor in business concerns and best industry practices. For us bloggers, it’s always going to be just about our point of view – which makes us more relatable, because for most readers, it’s always going to be just about the clothes. But no – we’re not out here to replace anyone. I’m just doing my own thing.
How has the fashion industry in the middle east changed over the decade? Where do you see it going?

Not sure where it’s going, but it sure is going there quickly! There are a lot of emerging talents here, and it’s great that we have entities likethe Dubai Design District, Dubai Design Fashion Council and Fashion Forward that keep the style industry on its toes. Already, we are seeing a lot of Middle East-based designers rocking the international fashion scene, and we’re only going to see more.


What is your ultimate goal as a fashion blogger?

Apart from doing more campaigns and brand collabs, I want to eventually do a lot of charity works that are geared at supporting young, emerging talents here and back home in the Philippines. It’s not just about the glitz and the glam! As with any industry, it’s also about giving back to the community.


What can you say to aspiring fashion bloggers?

Be humble. Be authentic.
What do you say to your critics?

Stay fierce! Love you! Thanks for making me better and stronger!

 

 

 

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Author: Illustrado

From the Middle East to the rest of the world, IllustradoLife shares the stories of Filipinos expats from around the world, providing a global venue championing the world class Filipino. IllustradoLife features articles on fashion and beauty, travel, lifestyle, business, events and other topics of interest to the international Filipino community from its mother publication, Illustrado Magazine.

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